Karen Knight’s artistic journey began nearly forty years ago, during childhood summer holidays on the shores of Washademoak Lake, in New Brunswick, Canada. Using clay dug from a nearby pond, Karen fashioned works of art in her ‘studio in the great outdoors,’ then baked them in the family campfire – to the sounds of laughter and music, and the smell of roasting marshmallows. This passion for creation continued throughout her childhood and youth, yet Karen initially chose not to pursue a career in fine art. Her journey through the 1980s and ‘90s instead saw her complete a BA in Sociology, marry John, her husband of now twenty-three years, travel through Asia and Europe, pursue an assortment of professional opportunities, and birth and nurture two sons, Benjamin and Jonathan.
Somewhere along the way, Karen’s passion for creation began to burn hot again! She enrolled in a community pottery class – and found her soul. This soon led to a decision to study sculpture and design at the Dundas Valley School of Art, using clay as her primary artistic medium. During her years at DVSA, Karen was encouraged and influenced by a circle of gifted female Artist Potters, who shared with her their passion for clay. Karen then went on to transform a struggling pottery program in Guelph, Ontario, into a dynamic creative force – while also continuing to pursue her own work in fine art and craft. She has since returned to her New Brunswick roots, where she has established Soul Impression, an Artist Potter business dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind works of art.
Karen’s work is very much an impression of her spiritual, moral, and aesthetic values – her soul. Her technical and artistic approach to clay work is inspired by the hand built work of ancient African and Middle Eastern civilizations, the rich hand building tradition within aboriginal communities in the United States, and the contemporary and progressive clay art movement in Australia and North America. These wide ranging influences enable her to create a dynamic style of clay work that employs traditional hand building techniques – pinch, coil, and slab – yet elaborates on these in new and striking ways. Karen’s work is precise and energetic – and finds expression in myriad ways, including one-of-a-kind art bowls, sculptural wall pieces, and powerful renderings of the human form. Her work has received praise and critical recognition in the form of private commissions and public awards.
A juried member of the New Brunswick Craft Council. Karen’s dynamic style of clay work employs traditional handbuilding techniques – pinch, coil and slab – yet elaborates on these in new and striking ways. Her work includes one-of-a-kind art bowls and platters, low tide art pieces, sculptural vessels and powerful renderings of the human form. It is precisely this versatility of clay as an artistic medium that is the source of Karen’s real joy in working with it. Clay work continually lends itself to new artistic possibilities and fresh interpretations of life and the world. Karen has most recently exhibited in four group shows: “Thirty Fingers,” Saint John Art Center, “Saints, Souls and Stars,” New Artisan Studio, “Transforming Earth, Shaping Fire,” McCain Art Gallery, and “The Thing that Happened,” Saint John Art Center. Karen also teaches handbuilding and sculpture at the Saint John Art Center. Most recently Karen was the Artist-in-Residence at Rothesay Park