Karen's Studio Blog

© Karen Lynn Link, photographs from the artist's private collection.

Greetings and Salutations,

I remember when I first considered glass jars as something special in our mass consumption world. I was listening to a radio news report many years ago on how bad the living conditions were in the Soviet Union for the impoverished. The emphasis of the story was how they collected glass of any kind for use as food storage containers.

All of a sudden I noticed items that came in glass and started saving them. The first one was to hold rinse water for my painting brushes and is covered in paint from decades of use.

I have a varied collection of glass containers that lived previous lives as vessels for pimentos, syrup and jelly, for instance. Most of my jars are very utilitarian looking because some of the prettiest are also the least functional.

I love seeing all the different things inside the jars. Like a kid in a candy shop. It also reminds me of the materials that the alchemists mixed together to create the philosopher’s stone that turned base metals into gold. I guess in a way I’m doing that as well.

I use glass jars for a variety of inks and their mixtures with differing amounts of water. Glass jars are very useful as brush and doodad holders. They are also useful for holding smaller amounts of bulk materials I buy like gesso. I keep a little gesso out for drawing so that I’m not constantly handling the gallon and risk spilling it. Sometimes I need jars with lids but most of the time I don’t and the lids tend to pile up on me.

As utilitarian as these containers are and were, I feel there is a beauty to empty glass especially in mass and removed from that utilitarian use. It seems to allow glass to shine so to speak.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Take care and have a beautiful day,


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