We had the good fortune of connecting with Karen Willes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Karen, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
Painting ceramics has always been a very relaxing hobby. Each time one creates a beautiful piece, it gives them pleasure each time they look at it. Right now during the difficult times we are having, this hobby has been very helpful to many of all ages. It passes the time in an enjoyable manner.  There are many technique books with many ideas.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My career began in 1962 as a high school science teacher. I pursued this career for almost 30 years. As education was changing, I started Country Ceramics to keep me busy in my retirement. We are in a very rural setting. The bus would drop off the kids after school one day a week and they would paint and create 4-H projects until parents came and picked them up after work. As the business grew, we build a new 4000 square foot building to meet our needs. It took us several years as it was pay as you go. When the building was complete, it was paid in full. Because of that we can continue on. In the early years, I took every ceramics instruction class I could and even traveled around the country to learn new techniques. Because of the many years doing this, to keep from getting bored, I always keep trying new ideas.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would be right here painting and creating every day. One of the favorite ideas is creating Solar Lights. We carve designs on wet greenware and when dry and fired, we glaze them with beautiful glazes and light them up! The sun charges the battery and they light up at night and cast their pattern on the patio.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We are very honored to have Arlene Smith who represents Duncan Ceramics. She teaches a certification series. These students are then members of a group, the Desert Spice Coyotes. The are part of a group of ceramic teachers, International Association of Duncan Certified Ceramic Teachers. We have been creating angels and taking them to first responders, Nurses, Doctors, Firemen, Police men, Sherriff deputies, etc. to thank them for their service.

Website: www.countryceramics.net
Facebook: karen@countryceramics.net. Karen Willes

Image Credits

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.