Member Spotlight - Karen Kloubec

Karen has lived in this area all of her life. She grew up in West Chicago and now resides in Geneva.  She had the typical art experiences growing up, liking markers, crayons, glue and paper projects.  She had art classes in elementary and middle school.  Although she did not take art classes in high school, she did take art appreciation and photography while in college. 

Her biggest shift towards art came when her own three children were in school.  She became involved with the Art Explorers Program as a parent volunteer.  This program uses parent volunteers to bring history and art programs to the classroom six times a year.  While researching for these thirty-minute presentations she became very interested in the artists and did research about them as well as their various mediums and styles. 

During the 29 years Karen spent as a pre-school teacher, she became involved in teaching supplemental theme classes for those pre-school children through the Geneva Park District.  She developed art projects based on class themes.  The times she spent with the children as they explored the art materials was a great experience.  The children expressed the full gamut of joy, frustration and problem solving with the projects.  Some had a love-hate relationship with art; some were timid; some jumped in with wild abandon.   Although she was teaching the students, she realized that they were actually teaching her.  She grew to love the art experience itself and realized it was something she wanted to continue to do for herself.  

One day when she was in her 40’s, Karen saw an article in one of the local papers for a basket weaving class at Fine Line. She went to check out the Fine Line campus, saw the pottery studio, and something in her shifted.  She signed up for a pottery class instead of basket weaving and has never looked back. 

A number of things contribute in an ongoing manner to positively influence Karen’s involvement with art.  The need and desire to create has been an ongoing source of motivation for Karen as she continues to grow and create. These motivations have led to her throwing, hand building and now sculpture. 

Karen credits her teachers and fellow potters with having a great impact on her work.  She has taken classes from almost every pottery teacher at Fine Line. She has loved all of her classes and teachers.  There is so much to learn, and each of her teachers has brought their unique techniques and style in their instruction. The sharing and caring among the students both during class and during studio time has been an added bonus. Working in a community as she does, one gets to know the students as well as the teachers.  Potters are wonderful at sharing with each other.  They support each other and freely share successes and disappointments in their work.  They are often huddled together discussing glaze combinations, sharing what worked and trying to figure out what didn’t work and why. 

She is also positively influenced by her studio at Good Templar Park. Not only is it a beautiful, wooded setting and a quiet place away from home but also for the wildflowers that she uses to put nature impressions in her work. 

Her current inspiration comes from the class she is taking with Jonathan Pacheco.  The pieces she is working on are sculptural, which is a departure from the work she usually does for the two shows in which she participates.  These pieces also have a social justice/political theme.  She is also working on a project with her husband.  She is creating serving dishes to go with the charcuterie boards he has been making.

Karen loves to explore and learn using clay as the medium and is always finding ways to make art as a part of her life every day.  She remarked to a friend that she finds she cannot stay away from clay more than a week at a time, and just needs to get her hands into the clay and create.

Currently, Karen is working to create pieces for the two shows in which she participates:  the October show at Cottage in the Woods show on October 15 from 10-4 at Good Templar Park in Geneva, where Karen has her studio; and the Christmas Show at Fine Line in December.  Karen enjoys creating for both of those shows and continues to create one-of-a-kind pieces.  She states that she could never be a production potter, as it takes all the joy out of the creative process. 

Karen encourages all members to get involved at Fine Line outside of taking classes.  She has enjoyed volunteering at Raku Day (which is now the Fine Line Arts Festival/Fox River Arts Ramble.)  She helps set up the gallery shows and has volunteered at other one-time events.  It is a great way to support Fine Line as well as meet other people outside the pottery department.

Karen credits Fine Line with the wonderful experiences she has had.