Karen Donnellan

Associate Professor of Glass
Sculpture/Dimensional Studies
Division Head
Director of the National Casting Center Glass Studios
Art - Sculpture/Dimensional Studies
Sculpture-Dimensional Studies
School of Art and Design


  • MFA in Glass: Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, 2011
  • BDes in Glass (Honours): National College of Art & Design, Dublin, Ireland, 2009
  • International Exchange Program: Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, 2008

Specialties / Areas of Interest

  • Glass
  • Sound
  • Paper Making
  • Language
  • Social Justice
  • Intersectional Feminism
  • Unified Physics
  • Sacred Geometry
  • Sustainable Living
  • Bubble Houses
  • Singing
  • Roller Skating
  • Master & Teacher of Multiple Healing Modalities, inc. Reiki


Karen Donnellan (b. Wicklow, Ireland) is a queer artist working between sculpture, installation, sound, video, and drawing. Her work is deeply informed by her training in Reiki and other energy healing modalities, as well as her background in glass. Donnellan is the recipient of numerous residencies, most notably Toledo Museum of Art, OH; Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland; the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris; Women’s Studio Workshop, NY; and Pilchuck Glass School, WA. Her work is held in public and private collections and has been shown at venues internationally, including the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Tushanwan Museum, and the Corning Museum of Glass, NY. Donnellan earned a Bachelors of Design from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, and an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY. She is currently Associate Professor of Glass and Director of the National Casting Center Glass Facility at the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, Alfred, New York.

  • 2016 Snow Moon, Kitchen Table Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2015 Musica Universalis, Williams Gallery, Indiana Wesleyan University, IN
  • 2015 Delicate Matter, Luan Gallery, Athlone, Ireland
  • 2014 Cercle, National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland
  • 2012 Essentia, Sylvia L. Rosen Gallery, Burchfield Penney Arts Center, Buffalo, NY
  • 2011 O, Gallery Kunstler, Rochester NY
  • Juried unless otherwise stated
  • 2016 Luxus, Corning, NY
  • 2015 American Craft Today: Glass, Bascom Center for Visual Arts, Highlands, NC
  • 2015 Solas, National College of Art & Design Gallery, Dublin, Oct 14-20, traveling to the Hunt Museum, Limerick; Greyfriars Municipal Gallery, Waterford; and Wandsford Quay Gallery, Cork in January 2016
  • 2015 Glass Invitational, Exhibit A Gallery, Corning, NY, invitational
  • 2015 Portfolio: Glass, Solomon Fine Art Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2015 21st Century Glass, University Gallery, Salisbury University, MD, invitational
  • 2015 The Next, Tower Fine Arts Gallery, SUNY Brockport, NY, invitational
  • 2015 Captured Light: Glass Biennial, Art Association Gallery, Jackson Hole, WY
  • 2014 Vase Vessel Void, Oliver Sears Gallery, Dublin, Ireland, invitational
  • 2014 Innovation, Pilchuck Emerging Artist in Residence Exhibition, METHOD, Seattle, USA, invitational
  • 2014 European Glass Experience, Museo Technológico del Vidrio, Spain; Museum of Glass, Marinha Grande, Portugal; Museum of Glass, Murano, Venice, Italy
  • 2014 Innovation, Schack Art Center Gallery, Everett, WA, invitational
  • 2014 Material Matters, Makers Gallery, Seattle Design Week, Seattle, WA, invitational
  • 2014 MADE, Space CRAFT, Belfast, UK
  • 2014 Rian, Barbara Stanley Gallery, London Fashion Week, London, UK, invitational
  • 2013 Irish Craft Portfolio Exhibition, Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2013 Sculpture In Context, National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2013 Moving, Neon Workshops, Wakefield, UK, invitational
  • 2013 Videotheque|Make Shift, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, UK, invitational
  • 2013 Gather, Irish Wave, Tushanwan Museum, Shanghai, China
  • 2013 Future Makers, National College of Art & Design Gallery, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2013 Resonance, collaborative installation, and performance, Edinburgh, UK, invitational
  • 2012 Stanislav Libensky Award, Exhibition of Finalists, St. George’s Convent, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2012 World Craft Council: European Prize for Applied Arts, Mons, Belgium
  • 2012 Engaging With Glass, Traver Gallery, travelling show, WA, USA
  • 2012 GLASS: A Juried Art Show, Minnetrista, Muncie, IN, USA
  • 2012 Keep Going, Sure it’s Grand, Solomen Fine Art, Dublin, Ireland, invitational
  • 2011 New Living Art II, Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2011 Art in Craft Media, East Gallery, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY, USA
  • 2011 Future Makers Exhibition, Wandesford Quay Gallery, Cork, Ireland
  • 2011 Winter Open Show, Rua Red, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2011 Engaging With Glass, Glass Society of Ireland, Solstice Center, Meath, Ireland
  • 2010 Generation, National Craft Gallery, Ireland
  • 2009 Sculpture In Context, National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2009 Future Makers Awards Showcase, National Craft Gallery, Ireland

Research, Publications, & Presentations


  • 2016 Artist Talk, Bowling Green State University, OH
  • 2015 The Circle Extends to the Tips of the Fingers, Artist Talk, Bergren Forum, Alfred University, NY
  • 2015 Artist talk and Pate de Verre Glass Casting Demo, Indiana Wesleyan University, IN
  • 2015 Pate de Verre lecture + demonstration, SUNY Brockport, NY
  • 2015 Glass in the 21st Century, Artist Talk, Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland
  • 2014 Emerging Artist Lecture, Glass Art Society Conference, Chicago
  • 2014 Artist Talk: J/K Collaboration, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
  • 2013 Artist Talk: Emerging Artist in Residence, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, WA
  • 2013 Artist Talk: Visiting Lecturer, National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland, UK
  • 2012 Artist Talk, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • 2011 Coming From the Other, Panel Discussion, National Conference on Cast Iron Art, Birmingham, AL

Research & Publications

  • Karen Donnellan's interdisciplinary practice is concerned with illustrating that which cannot be held physically; the intangible essence of things. She uses a wide range of media including; glass, sound, video, light and performance. The role of glass has been crucial to date, for its ability to hold light and speak of the mystical, while sound is employed as a more direct way to tune spaces and people to special frequencies. The circle-a universal symbol and a symbol of the universe-is a recurring motif as an invocation of the divine feminine, balance and the infinite. The work is consistently informed by her interest in the metaphysical and the cathartic potential in the manipulation of sound, subtle energy and material. Her training in the energy healing modalities Reiki, Seichem, Sakara and Magnified Healing and the holistic philosophies surrounding them have a prevailing influence. She also collaborates with the Seattle-based artist and designer John Hogan under the name j/k.
  • 2015 A Year in Review with Educators, Rees, GAS News, Winter 2014/15
  • 2015 The Intangible in Practice: Karen Donnellan, Emerging Artist Lecture
  • 2015 Glass Art Society Journal
  • 2015 Kilkenny Arts Festival Catalogue, 17/6
  • 2015 The Chic and Unique of London Fashion Week, Irish Times, McQuillan, 18/2
  • 2014 Bright Adventures, Glass Society of Ireland, McIlgorm, 7/2
  • 2014 Emerging Artist Lecture Catalogue, Glass Art Society, 27/12
  • 2013 SGS Awards, Scottish Glass Society Newsletter, Henderson, Issue 113, 7/13
  • 2012 From Pupil to Master: Review, Sunday Times, Leach Hughes, 14/10
  • 2012 Irish Craft Portfolio 2012-14, Crafts Council of Ireland
  • 2011 Engaging with glass: Exhibition Catalogue, Oldknow, 6/3
  • 2009 Student Profile: Karen Donnellan, Kirchmann, GAS News, 17/11
  • 2007 Engineers Journal, Engineers Ireland, Vol. 60, Issue 9, 8/11
  • 2014 Interview with Emma Woffenden, Glass Quarterly, Winter
  • 2014 Ulysses Cylinders by Dale Chihuly & Seaver Leslie, Review, Glass Quarterly, Fall
  • 2014 Namdoo Kim: Member Profile, GASnews Summer
  • 2014 Richard William Wheater: The Practice of Poetics, GASnews, Spring
  • 2014 Ne, Make Believe Craft Writers Blog, (Jessica Hemmings & Eleanor Flegg)
  • 2013 Tavs Jorgensen & Gayle Mathias: Collaborative Research, GASnews Winter
  • 2013 Heike Brachlow: Member Profile, GASnews, Summer
  • 2013 Joanne Teasdale: Member Profile, GASnews, Spring
  • 2013 Joanne Teasdale: Member Profile, GASnews, Spring
  • 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award: Bertil Vallien, GASNews, May/June
  • 2012 School Profile: University of Sunderland, GASnews, March/April
  • 2012 The Glass Furnace, Turkey, GASNews, October/November
  • 2011 Netta Bacon: Student Member Profile, GASNews, August/September
  • 2011 The Korean Student Contingent, GASNews, August/September
  • 2011 Kumi Nakajima: Student Member Profile, GASNews, June
  • 2011 Welsh School of Architectural Glass, Swansea Metropolitan Uni, GASNews, April
  • 2011 Chris Boha: Student Member Profile, GASNews, April
  • 2011 David John King: Student Profile, GASNews, Feb/Mar
  • 2010 Anna Mlasowski: Student Profile, GASNews, Dec/Jan
  • 2010 University of Texas Arlington; An interview with Prof. Keens, GASNews, Dec/Jan
  • 2010 Clarke F. DeCapite Jr: Student Profile, GASNews, Oct/Nov
  • 2010 Student Exhibition Review, GASNews, Oct/Nov
  • 2009 Jerpoint Glass Studios 1979 -2009, B.Des Thesis, Dublin
  • 2009 Thomas McLoughin Memorial Award, Anglo Celt, Tidy, 1/7


  • 2015 American Craft Today: Glass, Third Place Award, Bascom Center, NC
  • 2015 Exhibitions Assistance, Future Makers Awards, Design & Craft Council of Ireland
  • 2014 Artist Award, Cavan Arts Council, Ireland
  • 2014 Continued Professional Development Fund, Design & Craft Council of Ireland
  • 2013 Travel and Training Fund, Arts Council of Ireland
  • 2013 Hamilton Taylor Award, Scottish Glass Society, UK
  • 2013 Hepworth Gallery Scholarship, Neon Workshops, UK
  • 2013 Future Makers Awards, Craft Council of Ireland, shortlisted
  • 2012 World Craft Council Film Festival, Finalist, Belgium
  • 2012 World Craft Council Prize for Applied Arts, shortlisted, Belgium
  • 2012 Future Makers Residencies Grant, Craft Council of Ireland
  • 2012 Continued Professional Development Grant, Craft Council of Ireland
  • 2011 Langley Kenzie Endowment Award, Burchfield Penney Arts Center, Buffalo, NY
  • 2011 NICHE Finalist, Student Glass Sculpture Category
  • 2011 Outstanding International Student Service Award, RIT, NY
  • 2011 Wallace Center Purchase Prize 2011, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY
  • 2011 Summer Scholarship, The Studio at The Corning Museum of Glass, NY
  • 2011 Bullseye Student Scholarship, BeCon, Portland, OR
  • 2011 Future Makers Networking Grant, Craft Council of Ireland
  • 2011 Continued Professional Development Grant, Craft Council of Ireland
  • 2011 School for American Crafts Alumni Award, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY
  • 2011 Tommy McLoughlin Memorial Award, Cavan County Council, Ireland
  • 2010 Future Makers Materials Grant, Crafts Council of Ireland
  • 2010 Student Conference Scholarship, Glass Art Society, Seattle, WA
  • 2010 School for American Crafts Materials Award, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY
  • 2009 Future Makers Travel and Training Grant, Crafts Council of Ireland
  • 2009 Leonardo Da Vinci, European Union Grant Recipient
  • 2008 Student Partnership Scholarship, Pilchuck Glass School, WA, USA
  • 2007 Royal Dublin Society Craft Competition, finalist, Ireland


I make images, objects, and installations that, paradoxically, evoke the intangible. While I use a wide range of media, glass and sound are central to this endeavor. Glass captures light; sound captures vibration. Both mediums speak the language of the mystical. Probing that space between the visual and aural, I explore how the two can influence each other. For me, art lies at the nexus of light and energy. Glass is one of few materials that can hold facture in stasis. It is this temporary state that lends itself to ideas surrounding the mystical and mythical traditions from which I draw my imagery and base my practice. Central to my imagery is the circle—a universal symbol and a symbol of the universe. The circle is also a recurring motif as an invocation of the Divine Feminine. My practice engages with a politically fraught world through works that envelop the viewer visually and acoustically.

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