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‘Artist of the month’

Louisville’s Klem finds
glass art medium challenging

She handcrafts beads using
either oxygen, propane torch or a kiln

LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2013) – When her daughter talked her into taking a beginning bead making class 11 years ago, Ann Klem had no idea the experience would later turn into a lucrative profession. Now a successful glass artist, Klem admits her fascination with glass has grown into an obsession.
She said she is intrigued by several things when working with glass. “I like the colors and the translucency you get with the transparent colors. The outcome is not entirely predictable.”
Klem has been chosen to be the featured July Artist of the Month at Gallery 104 in La Grange. An opening reception is planned from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, July 13.
Klem creates handcrafted glass beads by using one of two methods: an oxygen propane torch or a kiln and cold working tools. She then accentuates the beads with sterling silver or 14K gold-filled components. The end result is wearable jewelry art.
In addition to jewelry, Klem creates functional artistic pieces, such as wall clocks with glass faces, vases, large panels, bowls, trays, coasters and food-safe items.
“I love the fluid forms, the strong colors, and how those colors react with each other,” she said. “I am also intrigued by the sheer challenge of melting glass.”
Whether it is small, delicate glass beads or larger decorative items, Klem said, “Both are challenging to create.”
“Ann is one of our best-selling and most productive artists,” said Kathy Dowling, Executive Director for the Arts Association of Oldham County and Gallery 104. “She has been with Gallery 104 since its inception in 2007.”
Dowling described her jewelry as “beautiful, versatile and, due to her fantastic use of color blending, her pieces tend to go with many outfits and styles. Ann also creates beautiful table top pieces using various techniques.”
Klem won first place in the jewelry category at the 2012 Arts on the Green juried fine art festival held in La Grange in June. The previous year she took the top prize in the glass category. She has participated in such prestigious art shows as Kentucky Crafted: The Market (Louisville and Lexington), Cherokee Triangle Art Fair; Francisco’s Farm Art Festival, and the Ohio Designer Craftsmen Winterfairs in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.
Klem has recently been selected as one of 150 artists to be included in the Art Comes Alive Show in Cincinnati, sponsored by Art Design Consultants. The exhibit runs from June 22 through July 26.
She described her work as “having an engineering approach, as opposed to organic. I like nice, strait lines.”
To hone her glass making skill, Klem has studied with some of the country’s leading glass artists, including Richard Whiteley, Kristina Logan and Michael Barley.
Like many artists, Klem said she is inspired by nature. “I often begin with a word, like ‘lift.’ Then I make a drawing of what ‘lift’ means to me.” She chooses one concept and “I continue drawing and designing until it turns into an art piece.”
Sometimes she finds this is “a challenge to do.” Klem displays her artwork at galleries and museums throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Texas. Locally, her work can be found at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft Gallery and Schmidlin Studio & Gallery, both in Louisville, Ky., and the Artisans Center in Berea, Ky., and The Gallery on Pearl in New Albany, Ind.
Klem is also one of seven women who own Gallery Janjobe, located in the Mellwood Art & Entertainment Center in Louisville. She is a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, Glass Art Society, Louisville Artisans’ Guild, the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program and the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.
When not creating glass artwork, Klem can be found enjoying race car driving, something she labeled “a family sport.” She competes in obstacle course racing, which “is a test of your driving skills,” she said.
Klem met her husband through this sport, as did her daughter, Julia, who is also a jeweler. Julia was a first place winner at this year’s Arts on the Green.
Klem finds it “fun to drive” her two-seater Honda S 2000. In the past she has traveled and competed nationally but cut back on the sport to devote more time to her artwork.

• For more information contact Kathy Dowling at Gallery 104 at (502) 222-3822, or visit: www.gallery104.org.

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