Ceramic sculptor Jo Killen’s works will be on display at ACGA Clay & Glass Festival

by Linda Hubbard on July 11, 2018

Early in her artistic career, Menlo Park resident Jo Killen was a sculptor. Today, she describes herself as “a sculptor who works in ceramics.” The figures she was working on when we visited attest to that intersection.

You can see her figure work (pictured in background)  as well some vessels (below right) she’s done at the upcoming ACGA Clay & Glass Festival in Palo Alto from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on July 14-15, 2018, at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road. Featuring both fine and functional art, more than 130 juried artists will be displaying their work.

“The glazes are the same so there is continuity,” said Jo. “They are high-fired stoneware, cone 10 (2345 degrees temp.) with a matt white glaze.”

Jo has been an artist since childhood, although along the way she worked in other professions including teaching commercial art and high tech.

When she retired from Hewlett Packard in 2001, she wasn’t initially interested in getting back to art, but a class at the Palo Alto Art Center changed her mind. “They have a wonderful ceramics department there, a good kiln and great instructors,” she said.

She’s been involved in clay ever since, working in three different approaches — functional, raku and sagger.

“I needed to learn the craft,” she said. “How you do everything. There is a lot of science involved, and I liked getting into the technology associated with the art.”

Currently, her primary interest in the the creation of abstract figures. “I know anatomy well, and looking at the figures, you can see hints of a muscle here and there.”

We ended our conversation on a surprising musical note. “I recently started taking clarinet lessons,” Jo said. “Working as an artist is very isolating. I wanted something I could do with people!’

Photo Jo Killen in her home studio by Irene Searles (c) 2018; image of vessel courtesy of the artist

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