Over the years, Karen Gellatly has become fascinated with all the great shapes and colors of bottles looking for a new purpose. The fun in the hunt for bottles and matching them with art glass and shapes to create a shade is now her escape.
“When my work makes someone smile – that’s my motivator.”
For self-taught artist Karen Gellatly, glass has provided a gateway for spreading joy – something she strives for each piece to embody. “I never create anything by pattern, so when someone sees my art and say they’ve never seen anything like it, that inspires me.”
Karen first began making her unique lamp designs over 16 years ago. The journey began when she bought a unique bottle of vodka for her father as a gift to cheer him up, and he told her to use the bottle to create a lamp. With a few practice sessions, she began making lampshades by building and heating sheet glass around terracotta pots. “I can’t follow a pattern, I don’t like to, so everything is all freehand cut. The terracotta can hold heat and there are so many types of shapes to use.”
After success making the glass lamps, Karen moved onto new shapes and techniques. While the lamps remain a staple, she has branched out to fused bowls, flowers and her crowd favorite, Christmas trees of which 480 sold last year alone. “Being creative means, you can’t keep doing the same thing, so you’re always looking for something new.”
For Karen, it is light and color that filters through glass which continues to inspire. “I’m very picky about the type of glass and colors I use.” Karen often takes road trips to Pennsylvania specifically to buy unique glass and loves to hunt for vintage bottles. “When light hits the glass it’s like a party, it takes you to a different dimension.”
While Karen plans to continue experimenting with glass, the true motivator of her work will always be to make others smile. “Turn your frown upside down! There are too many good things going on to be sad.” A reminder we could all use and pass on to others.