Karen Lawrence Glass
Imagine the scene. Karen Lawrence takes molten glass from the furnace, her assistant grabs it with tweezers and runs the length of her workshop. 'It stretches to about 40 feet,' she says, 'and by the time we're finished, the workshop is filled with a river of glass strands.' Karen then breaks the filaments into shorter lengths, arranges them into a design, refires them to fuse and soften the glass and then moulds the resulting web into shallow bowls."
- Homes & Antiques, October 1999.
'Ice Forms: Kiln-cast glass by Karen Lawrence.' Alison Swann
Karen Lawrence manipulates molten glass from the furnace, drawing it out into fine threads or plunging it into cold water causing fragmentation into thousands of tiny granules. From these elements Karen Lawrence creates stunning vessels, abstract sculptural pieces and architectural panels which glitter and shimmer as though constructed from diamond dust, ice crystals and glacial blocks.
- Rochester Arts Centre Catalogue 2003.
'Icy Glass with Class' - Amicia de Mowbray
To make a bowl or plate, Miss Lawrence begins by building up the pattern, laying out the granules and threads of glass in various sizes, depending on the overall design. "Laying out the strands is time-consuming. It is such a delicate process that I use dental tools to position the glass". To add another dimension, she embelishes some of her work with electroformed metals and chemical patination.
Miss Lawrence has developed the process one stage further, using it to create decorative screens. This arose from a commission to translate her technique into panels for Axtell House, an office building in Soho. The screens, unlike the bowls, are not physically handled - the threads and granules are enclosed between two protective sheets or toughened glass. This enables her to push her work further, making it even more delicate and fluid, pulling the patterns out into amoeba-like shapes. "Miss Lawrence says: 'Working in this form has opened up exciting artistic and architectural possibilities: there is so much potential."
- Country Life, January 31st 2002.
' Pane and Pleasure.' - Nicole Swengley
When the glass specialist Karen Lawrence was asked by an archetectural practice to tackle an internal hall space with no natural light source, she built triangular 6ft-tall hollow glass prisms in its corners. The outer cases house cast sections of lead crystal glass through which fibre-optic lighting runs. The prisms elimated the need for structural work and solved several problems. They offered decorative focal points that drew attention from a large number of doors leading out of the hall; a cosier ambiance was creared by cutting corners off the halls rectangular shape; and the fibre optics provided illumination.
- The Times, April 4th 2003.
"Karen Lawrence's glass works of art resemble pieces of ice in exquisite patterns formed by nature. Some of her work is reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy's ice sculptures,"
- Country Life, January 31st 2002.
'Contemporary Decorative Arts 2000,' Sotheby's.
"The recent vogue for ceramics appears to be being superseded by glass. The show has several examples of modern glass ranging from strong colourful platters, to the extraordinary, fragile creations of Karen Lawrence, which resemble snowflakes placed under a microscope, or spiders' webs suspended in frost."
- Country Life, January 20th 2000.
"It is glass, though, that stands out as one of the highlights of 1999, particularly the skeletal bowls of Karen Lawrence, made from glass filaments fused in a kiln."
- The Independent, 16th October 1999.
"This year the glassmakers shine, with Karen Lawrence's snowflake-like bowls"
- Evening Standard, 13th October 1999.
'Touch of Glass' - Lesley Jackson.
"Contemporary glass in Britain is undergoing a renaissance. The fact that post war glass also now happens to be one of the fastest-growing areas of collecting would suggest that the public is finally waking up to the astonishing richness and diversity of this fabulous material."
The new faces have something genuinely fresh and innovative to offer. Their work highlights the cross-fertilization between glass other disciplines - clearly a strength of the British art school system. Makers often start out in one medium, such as textiles or jewellery, before crossing over to glass, bringing insight from their earlier specialism with them. "I originally trained as a silversmith," says Karen Lawrence, "and now I use electro-forming as a adjunct to the glassmaking process. Parallel interests in etching and photography have also influenced the delicate fossilized-like textures of my recent work."
"Glass is a fascinating material. No other medium offers such flexibility and creative scope, and the makers showing at Chelsea this year explore the full gamut of its potential. If you heed my advice, you'll buy now before their work becomes so sought after that they will be rather more difficult to track down."
- The Guardian, October 14th 1999.
To e-mail Karen for more information and commissions press the image below.