Karla Ely

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Karla Ely

Artist's Statement:

Life is a fragile, unending journey.  Since my introduction to this medium in 1993, I have passionately pursued all that glass has to offer, in whatever format that presents.  Whether via fusing, mixed media work, or torchwork, glass continues to be something that entices and challenges!


The bulk of my learning is the result of taking multiple independent instructional glass classes, including week-long seminars.  Most recently I attended a 16-hour torch (flameworking) class.  I have an insatiable curiosity and can "never learn enough." Though I have 30 years of experience as a glass fuser, creating art has always been an avocation.  Being married to a professional stone sculptor for over 20 years, his work was the priority.  I was responsible for identifying public art opportunities, writing proposals, and organizing the logistics of exhibitions.


Primary components of my work are color, organic line, and controlled energy; the inspiration is drawn from observation of humans, "being," combined with images roaming around inside my head:  I refer to these as my "imaginary friends." 

I became enamored with Dia de los Muertos from the moment I was made aware of this genre in 2008.  First, the Celebration!  Death is not something to be mourned, but to be lauded.  Of equal importance is the artistic latitude afforded--nothing is "off limits."Having found fulfillment within the Dia genre, I began to explore other customs and traditions, recently selecting Black Cultural Expression as the focus of a new series of work.

Often heard to say:

"If it's not fun, I'm not doing it!"

Life Happens:

My husband passed away in 2018, and I was left to reinvent myself.  After spending two years stabilizing my finances, I have realized my dream:  a large building that houses my living quarters of 1000 square feet and my art studio of 2000 square feet!  I am mortgage free and able to pursue my passion for glass full-time.  As an artist one is required to "show up," so I do this in several ways:

- I spend hours in my studio daily;

- I actively participate in a non-profit artist cooperative where I have volunteered as a grant writer and serve on the Board of Directors;

-I take advantage of public exhibition opportunities.  Most recently my work was exhibited in Clark County for Black History Month, and I received Honorable Mention (one of only two awards given).

Moving forward, my thoughts are primarily centered on where I can display my work for the greatest impact, and how I can continue to push myself technically and creatively--to impress not only myself, but others.

Now is the time to "dream big!"


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