A Finding Aid to the Karen Karnes Papers, 1953-2016, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.karnkare
Creators:
Karnes, Karen, 1925-2016
Dates:
1953-2016
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
3.5 Linear feet
4 Gigabytes
Repository:
The papers of Karen Karnes measure 3.5 linear feet and 4.00 GB and date from 1953 to 2016. The papers document Karnes career as a ceramicist in Vermont through correspondence with family, friends, and art institutions; video productions on Karnes' life, exhibitions at museums and galleries, and other professional activities; participation lists, sales documents, correspondence, and other administrative materials; artist files for various participants at the annual Old Church Cultural Center pottery show in Demarest, New Jersey; clippings, announcements, catalogs, and other printed and digital material; personal photographs and photographs and slides of pottery.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Karen Karnes measure 3.5 linear feet and 4.00 GB and date from 1953 to 2016. The papers document Karnes' career as a ceramicist in Vermont through correspondence with family, friends, and art institutions; video productions on Karnes' life, exhibitions at museums and galleries, and other professional activities; participation lists, sales documents, correspondence, and other administrative materials; artist files for various participants at the annual Old Church Cultural Center pottery show in Damarest, New Jersey; clippings, announcements, catalogs, and other printed and digital material; personal photographs and photographs and slides of pottery.
Correspondence includes letters from family, especially Karnes' grandchildren; letters from friends and colleagues in regards to the fire that destroyed her workshop and home; and correspondence with museums and galleries.
Professional activity material includes resumes, interview transcripts, some lecture notes, inventory lists, ceramic formulas and recipes, and documentation with museums and galleries in regards to exhibitions featuring her works. Also included are two VHS and one digital video recording on Karnes and her work.
Administrative files pertain primarily to Karnes' role organizing annual pottery shows for the Old Church Cultural Center in Demarest, New Jersey. Material includes correspondence, participation lists, and sales records.
Artist files are made up of material artists submitted for consideration for participation in annual Old Church Cultural Center pottery shows in Demarest, New Jersey. Files consist of resumes, photographs, slides, and some printed material. Some files include digital material containing documents and images of works.
Printed material consists of clippings, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, and xeroxed copies of articles on Karnes.
Photographic material consists of personal photographs of Karnes, Karnes at work in studio, the landscape around her home, and photographs and slides of her pottery. Some photographs are in digital format.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into six series.
  • Series 1: Correspondence, 1998-2015 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)
  • Series 2: Professional Activity Files, 1954-2015 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, OV 5, ER01; 2.92 GB)
  • Series 3: Administrative Files, 1981-2012 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)
  • Series 4: Artist Files, 1999-2012 (0.5 linear feet; Box 2, ER02-ER19; 0.914 GB)
  • Series 5: Printed Material, 1953-2016 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 2-3, OV 5)
  • Series 6: Photographic Material, 1968-2009 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 3-4, ER20-ER22; 0.168 GB)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Karen Karnes (1925-2016) was a ceramicist in Morgan, Vermont. Karnes attended Brooklyn College where she studied design, and decided to concetrate on ceramics after a trip to Italy. In 1954, Karnes and her husband, David Weinrib, moved to Stony Point, New York, where they established the Gate Hill Cooperative. In 1967, while teaching at Penland School of Craft, Karnes began incorporating salt in her firings. It would become a signature of her work until a fire destroyed her studio in 1998. Karnes also organized and took part in the annual Old Church Cultural Center pottery show between 1980 and the 2010s in Demarest, New Jersey.

Administration
Author
Ricky Gomez
Sponsor
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 2018 by Ann Stannard, executor of Karnes' estate. A kiln fire in Karnes' studio and home in 1998 destroyed most of her papers.
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Ricky Gomez in 2021. Born-digital material was processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2021 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
Preferred Citation
Karen Karnes papers, 1953-2016. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art are two oral histories with Karen Karnes: one conducted by Paul Cumming, October 4, 1971, and one conducted by Matt Shapiro, August 9-10, 2005.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Ceramicists -- Vermont Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women artists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women ceramicists Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American studio craft movement Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/