In Carolyn King’s Studio

September 12, 2022

"Every creative act involves…a new innocence of perception, liberated from the cataract of accepted belief.” —Arthur Koestler

The approach to Carolyn’s studio
Just inside, a welcoming table
Nearby, a work area

"I’ve known from three years on that I was an artist. I was living with my father’s mother, and I remember seeing in a gift shop some flowers carved in the interior of a plexiglass cube. I woke in the middle of the night and went to my grandmother. 'I have this idea!' She got up and found a block of paraffin and I carved it out with a nut pick. I’ll never forget her being so patient with me, and understanding that I had this talent she wanted to bring out.”

“I went to school to get my BFA in fine art and found painting to be such a struggle. I was told I needed to construct before I paint. That I see things in three dimensions. That seemed right.

“I always wanted to make things that held together, strong things. I took a community college welding class, all men in there, pipe welders. The first thing I made was a jacket out of barbed wire! To me welding is like cutting and sewing. I loved to weld, loved the smell, and the cutting, everything. I was lucky, I had a large studio with a loading dock, and, for materials, a warehouse full of discarded machinery right next door!"

How did you come from large metal constructions to your work with natural materials?

"I was feeling that I’d consumed too much toxic fumes, and I had lost my large studio anyway. And nature had started calling me. I used to hike and walk in the Portland arboretum, and under a magnolia tree I found fallen leaves that only had the veins left. I figured out how to skeletonize leaves—it’s a long process—and incorporate them in sculptures."

Here’s one: Fragile World II

"It’s made of  skeletonized leaves. We are in the transitional pygmy forest, and I can find interesting materials just by walking around here, or anywhere on this coast."

How did you come to live here?

"I had planned to move to the country up near Portland. I work alone, but I like people. When I visited here, I went to a dance in Caspar. That experience told me you could be here by yourself and still be comfortable, find community. And then, of course, the beauty of our coast. I’ve lived and worked here since 2000."

Mystical Convergence

"I made this piece from one gourd which I carved, strengthened, sealed, sanded, and glazed.

"I like to use common materials that people don't even think of as art materials. I may see something on a walk around here, and see it in a new way. My work is a lot about discovery and invention, inventing new ways to see things."

And leaving the studio 
Miriam Davis