My name is Karen Knight and I’m a Handbuilding Artist Potter and Sculptor. I have my own business called Soul Impression Handbuilt Claywork and Fine Sculpture which is located on the old Rothesay Road in Saint John.
Handbuilding basically means that I don’t work on a wheel. I use the traditional methods of working with clay which are coiling, slab work, pinching and a combination of all three. I started playing with clay when I was a kid at our camp on the Washademoak lake. I dug clay out of our frog pond and set up my own little work area on a large flat stone. There I created, surrounded by the glory of nature. It’s interesting to me that something that I did at such an early age stuck with me and eventually came full circle to become my life career.
We are cleaning out my parent’s home, as we sadly lost them both last year. Yesterday I found a letter from my mother to my father, for Father’s day. It was a treasure to find. In it, it describes the five children in my family. The interesting thing that my mother wrote about me was the statement “I can do it myself”. At an early age I was always creating things, spurred on by the challenge of how to make things work. I was an innovative child and could think outside the box.
Now as a Handbuilder, working with a pliable medium like clay, every creation has its challenges. So innovation and working outside the box is a constant part of my creative process. For example, if I’m creating a large sculpture, I have a make sure as I’m building the piece, it doesn’t get too heavy or the whole piece with begin to sag. Sometimes I’ll use a hairdryer to slightly harden the bottom so I continue building. I am also extremely visual. I can see things clearly in my head and work out solutions without even touching the clay. For me, Handbuilding lends itself to endless creative possibilities and challenges which is perfect for the “kid” who said “I can do it myself”.
So one of my favorite creations are my Lowtide Art pieces. I call them this because their inspiration comes from the amazing patterns the tide makes in the sand, which is only revealed at low tide. Of course I embellish the patterns. Every piece is carved with the index finger on my right hand. Once the original pattern is established, I go back in and add angles and depth to the grooves. These enhance the way the light reflects off the glaze. As for my favorite color….I really don’t have a favorite but I do really like my floating blue glaze and my bronze matt glaze. So I guess I lean towards the greens and blues…sort of.