Karen began making pots in the early 70s. She completed a degree in chemistry at University College London, then worked as a computer programmer before she discovered ceramics and quickly realised that ceramics was her real vocation. As a largely self-taught ceramicist, Karen worked briefly for a production potter in Yorkshire, then moved back to London and in 1977, set up her first pottery in Hackney, East London.
Amongst a number of inspirational sources, she describes herself as having two parents in ceramics – Lucie Rie and Bernard Leach, one from the Continental Bauhaus tradition and the other from the Anglo-Oriental tradition. These two distinct strands both spoke to her and have provided the two springs from which her own work emerges.
Karen makes pots intended for use in the home. Her work is reduction fired stoneware; each piece is initially thrown or hand-built, then individually worked and decorated. Stripes, spots and cross-hatching map out the surface and reveal aspects of the form. The reduction firing produces muted colours, which are often marked out with darker lines of patterning. She is drawn to that particular quality of stillness and sobriety that pots can have and aim to make pieces that are quiet and contemplative, revealing their qualities to the viewer over time and through use and handling.
Karen was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Craft Potters Association in 2020.