Commissioned Collaboration with Leslie Tharp

Leslie and I grew up in southwest florida, and we've always been inspired and fueled by the rolling thunderstorms that take up so much of the landscape during the long summer and are the only hiatus from the constant, bright, heat. Storms have popped up again and again in our work, so for a commission from a south florida restaurant, it seemed fitting that we'd create rolling storm chandeliers.


Leslie forged big clouds and smaller pendants out of mild steel. Her forms seemed to take shape effortlessly, and I was thankful to be collaborating with someone so close to me because we intuitively understood how each other would approach the shapes we were creating. I will also say that she is a very skilled blacksmith and definitely knew what she was doing with her medium, and I was absolutely making it up as I went along.

I do not recommend this… because it is a great way to drive your collaborative partner  i n s a n e.


Trudging through an interdisciplinary BFA pushes your boundaries in the best possible way, it trains your mind to imagine any number of volumes and media colliding to best realize your piece, and trains your hands to become skilled and comfortable with any material you're interested in. From metal, to porcelain, to printmaking, to paper making and cutting, I fully immersed myself in the program and I experimented a lot. 

Nothing seems impossible to my brain or hands.


I coated antique book pages in clear resin and quilted them in the round onto Leslie's steel clouds. 


I poured a thin coat of resin onto the book pages, then cut the pages into slightly curved strips and patched them together with small pieces of clear tape. Once each section was dry-fitted onto the cloud, I applied another coat of clear resin to adhere the paper to the the metal, and each cloud got a few more coats of resin once everything was in place and trimmed up .

© 2018 karen tharp