Karen Hunter attended the Ontario College of Art in 1981 and after four years received her diploma in Design/General Design in 1985. In those years among many courses, she took three jewellery courses, non-ferrous metal forming, and three enameling courses. Since graduating Karen has taken workshops in:
Anodizing Titanium and Niobium
Photo Etching on Metal
Photograph Your Work
Hydraulic Press Forming
…all of which she tries to incorporate into her work.
Karen has been designing and making jewellery since 1983. She started participating in craft shows in 1989. In 1990 she took a workshop, working with Niobium and Titanium, where she found the metal for her! Between 1985-1990, she worked for Fairthorne Studios making brass holloware and gift ware. This is where her Silversmithing skills were refined. All of the jewellery is handmade by Karen at her home studio and workshop, and each piece is hand cut and formed. She also makes her own Niobium and Silver links. After all of the work is done to each piece of Niobium, it is anodized to create the colour.
The Niobium colours include: green, turquoise, blue, purple, fuchsia, pink, peachy pink, yellow, navy, dark purple and brown. Karen uses Niobium ear wires on dangling earrings and Titanium posts and butterflies, because of their hypoallergenic quality. The patterns on the metals are created with hammer marks and Roller Printing (putting the metal through a rolling mill against; paper, linen or other metal that has a texture, which transfers to the finished piece). Patterns are also created on Niobium with Anodizing Tape and Rubber Cement used as resists.
Karen works primarily with Niobium, Sterling Silver and semi-precious stones.