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Karen Fairley's Profile

About

Everyone has an addiction, and mine is glass.The brilliant colors, the way glass catches the light, the endless design options, and the predictable way that glass changes form at various temperatures is endlessly fascinating to me.

In my “previous” life, I had a very analytical career in the high tech industry. Now I am pouring twenty years worth of pent-up creativity into fused glass, and loving every minute of it. I view fused glass as an art form, and seek out workshops with fellow artists to learn new techniques. I have collected quite a variety of “toys” in my studio to achieve the uniqueness that I demand of my designs. My favorite designs, however, are geometric in nature, where I can indulge my passion for design, color and precision.

Fused glass is the process of cutting and tightly fitting different types of sheet…

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  • Female
  • Born on May 13
  • Joined March 1, 2012

Favorite materials

Glass of course

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About

Everyone has an addiction, and mine is glass.The brilliant colors, the way glass catches the light, the endless design options, and the predictable way that glass changes form at various temperatures is endlessly fascinating to me.

In my “previous” life, I had a very analytical career in the high tech industry. Now I am pouring twenty years worth of pent-up creativity into fused glass, and loving every minute of it. I view fused glass as an art form, and seek out workshops with fellow artists to learn new techniques. I have collected quite a variety of “toys” in my studio to achieve the uniqueness that I demand of my designs. My favorite designs, however, are geometric in nature, where I can indulge my passion for design, color and precision.

Fused glass is the process of cutting and tightly fitting different types of sheet glass, like the pieces of a puzzle. These pieces are placed in a kiln and fired hot enough to create a solid sheet. For iridescent glass (irid), I use a sandblaster to carve additional patterns after the first firing. These patterns are either hand-carved onto a clear resist film, or a specialized technique is used to transfer complex black and white images onto a template. Wherever the glass is unprotected, the sandblaster removes the irid coating and reveals the underlying black glass. The piece is then fired again to polish the sandblasted areas and to “tack fuse” additional glass elements. I may also use a torch or saw to create embellishments in glass which add texture to the piece. The final firing is to “slump” the sheet into a mold. Each finished piece is totally unique.

Shattered Illusions was created in 2005. I currently live in Tigard, Oregon, just outside of Portland, and I love the Pacific Northwest. I have an extremely supportive husband, three wonderful children, and one awesome daughter-in-law.

In addition to my glass, I love to knit, camp, hike, curl (the Olympic sport of shuffleboard on ice), my husband and I race our sailboat, and I do Yoga and Tai Chi. We frequently host exchange students from around the world, and I am also involved in a non-profit organization promoting creativity, teamwork, and problem solving for kids called Destination Imagination.

In 2010, I was honored to have one of my pieces presented to the incoming president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla. The piece was purchased by a high tech company from the Portland area and sent to Costa Rica to arrive in time for her inauguration. President Chinchilla is the first female president of Costa Rica. A member of President Chinchilla's staff commented, "Ms Chinchilla was very flattered, and she said she loved the gift."

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