Penland School of Crafts


Karen Karnes came to Penland School in the late 1960s to teach, and she experienced salt-glazing for the first time, effecting a change in her work that was significant and extraordinary. Her connections to Penland School have remained strong through the years, mostly through the artists she befriended, nurtured, and shared knowledge with. This exhibition honors those diverse relationships and brings together Karen's work with that of fourteen artists of her choosing.

These artists are perhaps just the tip of the iceberg, representing an abundance of ceramicists whose creative lives have intersected with Karen's. It is with pleasure that we host this exhibit in tandem with Karen's retrospective exhibit, A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes, which is at the Asheville Art Museum through June 26, 2011.

Working with ceramic artist and writer Mark Shapiro on this exhibit, we felt that the title Many Paths: A Legacy of Karen Karnes would set the stage for understanding Karen's journey though the world of ceramics and her dedication to arts communities, innovation, and the artists themselves. To quote potter Mikhail Zakin, "I have never known any artist who has lived her life and made her art with such integrity and with such a clear unswerving sense of purpose." This exhibition illustrates the breadth of her reach, and presents just a few of the lives she has touched with her determined energy.

Kathryn Gremley Director, Penland Gallery

Acknowledgements: Thanks to all those who helped make this exhibit possible. Gratitude to Karen Karnes, for graciously suggesting that the Penland Gallery host an exhibit in conjunction with her traveling exhibit at the Asheville Art Museum. Thanks to Mark Shapiro for his extensive assistance with all aspects of the exhibit, including his essay, so thoughtfully written for this occasion. Our gratitude to Lucy Lacoste from the Lacoste Gallery who generously loaned Karen's works from her gallery for the exhibit. Many thanks also to Lucy Phenix for her wonderful film about Karen. Thanks to the Penland School communications staff for the many hours devoted to bringing this exhibition catalog to the internet to share with everyone.