Karen Donleavy (Caldwell, Idaho)

Crystalline Glaze Ikebana – Vases 

Karen Donleavy creates ikebana vases with stunning crystalline finishes. The art of crystalline glazing is a highly skilled and complicated process. Each ikebana piece is first hand thrown on the potter’s wheel from high-fired porcelain, then assembled and individually cut into an irregular whimsical shape.  The crystalline glaze finish is literally grown over a period of hours in a long complex kiln firing.  No two pieces will ever be the same.

Ikebana is a Japanese floral art form − as unique to flower arrangement as bonsai is to potted plants.  The spiked piece in the middle of the ikebana vase is called a kenzan (or frog) which is used to hold the flowers upright.

The glazes that are used contain crystals within the amorphous (glassy) matrix of the glaze.  Crystals produce opacity, matt surface and visual effects.  The crystals grow mostly during cooling by isolation of the essential oxides from the surrounding fluid glaze.  The process is known as devitrification and the final design is obtained by seeding and by controlling the rate of cooling.

All-in-all, a difficult process that Donleavy has mastered, producing perfectly beautiful pieces of functional art.

The ikebana are $56 each.

As they are each one-of-kind they cannot be produced exactly as shown, but are available in three like styles:

  • Blue & Lilac/Purple
  • Blue and Turquoise
  • Blue and Yellow Green

The shapes will also differ slightly from those shown