Karen Swami

Biography

Eternal Greenware – Stalking the eternal
Karen signs her ceramics by a simple encircled K, followed by Swami, her family name and synonym in Sanskrit, meaning the one who shows the way. And, as it applies in the present case, the road to self-discovery –
spontaneous and late – blooming. Karen Swami is showing a selection of recent edition-of-one pieces on the
theme of contrasts : White against black ; polished and fragile porcelain against raw, rough smoky carthenware. All pieces, in porcelain, faience and stoneware are hand-thrown and shaped on the potter’s wheel.

The porcelains are deliberately left bisque-fired (first firing at 980C°) which gives them a unique white, powdery appearance. The black earth pieces are usually grogged faïence or stoneware, that makes them stronger and more resistant to thermal shocks. Before firing, the pot is repeatedly burnished with polished stones then smoke-fired with sawdust creating reducing conditions (insufficient air allows carbon monoxide to form, 
creating reducing conditions). The traditional smoke-firing gives the piece this deep black color which is characteristic of the reduced-coloring process.

« The green ware pieces are of great material beauty. I marvel at how
each one changes color when it dires. It’s very much a fleeting pleasure… on a daily basis 8 ». It is precisely this fleeting moment that she attempts to perpetuate through her work in white and black : the white of the bisque-fired
porcelain which echoes the appearance of unfired porcelain ; the greyblack smoky surfaces which echo the stoneware at the leather-hard stage.

Exhibitions

Art13, 2013

Arts Élysées, Paris, 2013

Diffusée par Christian Liègre

Links