My work is wheel thrown or hand built using porcelain clay. I use brushwork (underglazes) to decorate and glaze overall to insure food safety. My brushwork celebrates the use of color using stencils and underglazes. I can then achieve images that are both bold yet have a subtle underlying pattern. Most work is formed on the wheel with additional hand built accents, such as hollow handles or curled feet/handles. I use slump and hump molds and build around them, leaving room to cut away the outline of flowers. All pieces are fired to cone 6 in oxidation.
Karen McKee is a studio potter working primarily in porcelain for over fifteen years. She has been attracted to clay for quite some time but returned to seriously making pots in 2005. In addition to using the wheel, she also includes slab construction and various glazing techniques. The use of Mishima (a Korean technique of incising design into clay), stencils and glazing applications can be found in her work. Birds, bees, flowers and hummers find their way onto her pots in lively brushwork and color. All design work is hand painted with underglazes and a final glaze application is applied to insure food safety.
McKee is inspired by taking a ball of clay and watching it take shape into a mug or dish, casserole or teapot. There are so many ways to explore this medium whether functional or sculptural. Patterns and imagery, color and line can be found on her pots weaving nature into and around her pieces. She creates backgrounds using stamps and underglazes and then decorates with flowers, leaves and insects.
McKee is always open to learning different techniques and different clay, but her pieces are primarily porcelain. She has taken workshops at Touchstone Center for Crafts and has been influenced by the styles of many potters including Jen Allen, Christy Culp, Dan Vito, Ben Carter, Sarah Anderson and Carole Epp.
It is her hope that her pieces will be used as they are intended—serving, drinking and cooking, from her hands to yours, an offering.
Karen became a member of The Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh in 2016.