Residencies at The Studio

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Biography: Claire Kelly

Claire Kelly
Claire Kelly

Claire Kelly’s work examines the human connection with animals and their larger relationship to our world and environment. She has created a series of “fantastic microcosms that bring a consciousness to their decorative status,” she says. “My sculptures tell a story about the fragility and conservation of these small worlds as well as describing their role in a grander scheme. I’m curious about what we see in my toy-like animals and what they see when they look back.” Much of her recent work has focused around elephants due to their unique role as a “beloved childhood toy,” she says, “a popular decorative figure with a strong history in glassmaking, and a perilously threatened species.”

Kelly graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University in 1996. She has been an instructor at Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, the Pittsburgh Glass Center, The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Centro Fundacion del Vidrio in La Granja, Spain.

She was a demonstrating artist at the Amsterdam Glass Art Society conference and an Artist in Residence at the Tacoma Glass Museum and the Pittsburgh Glass Center. In 2004, she was granted the EnergyXchange fellowship in Burnsville, N.C., a three-year residency. She worked collaboratively with Anthony Schafermeyer from 2000 to 2008 as Schafemeyer/Kelly Glass. In 2008, she moved to Providence, R.I., to work with acclaimed glass artist Toots Zynsky. Kelly’s work is exhibited internationally.

In March and April 2017 during her residency at The Studio, Kelly experimented with glass produced by Effetre, an Italian manufacturer in Murano. She has learned about the glass from working with Toots Zynsky. It has “unusual and original aspects,” Kelly says, including the “intrinsic compatibility of color throughout their palette. Effetre glass color is formulated to be compatible and ideal for hot use.” During her residency, she melted Effetre crystal glass and learned more about the colors, and took the opportunity to research the possibilities of this glass in the American market where it is not widely used for glassblowing.