On Saturday, July 12, Karen Brown-Levy, of Louisville, will demonstrate her hand- built clay jack-o-lanterns from 10:30 to 3:30 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Born and raised in Louisville, Brown-Levy was introduced to clay at age 16. She jokingly states that from that first clay class, she was corrupted for life. Attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Brown-Levy earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1982. She has been working in clay ever since.
Brown-Levy creates small-scale pottery sculptures using red earthenware and white stoneware clays. Her sculptures, based on natural forms such as acorns, pumpkins and sea urchins, are playfully done, decorative, sometimes functional and one-of-a-kind.
Brown-Levy often decorates her work with slip-trailed patterns using a liquid version of her clay to draw or ‘trail’ patterns across the surface of her pieces.
“This technique is much like piping icing on a cake,” she explains. “It gives the decoration a three-dimensional raised texture, appealing to the touch as well as to the eye.”
Brown-Levy’s wheel-thrown porcelain ornaments are inspired by traditional hand-blown glass ornaments from Germany, and her series of ceramic pumpkins led her to create her jack-o-lantern sculptures. For her demonstration July 12, Brown-Levy will show how she creates these jack-o-lantern sculptures.
Beginning with a wheel-thrown bulbous bottle form, she uses hand building techniques to cut, shape and re-form the clay, adding a curling clay handle for a vine-like final touch. Her jack-o-lanterns have expressive faces that are accentuated when lit with a candle.
Brown-Levy is a juried artist in the Kentucky Arts Council’s “Kentucky Crafted” program and is also a juried member of the Louisville Artisan’s Guild and Louisville Clay.
Works by Brown-Levy are regularly available at the center, located just off Interstate 75 at Berea, Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily, year-round, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the cafe open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.
The center currently features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. A gallery exhibit, “Repurposed & Recycled: Works by Kentucky Artisans,” is on display through Sept. 6; and in the lobby, “Kentucky Bourbon: Distillation and Inspiration,” is on display through Nov. 16. For information about the center’s events call 859-985-5448.
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.