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Ann Klem will freely admit she is addicted to glass.
Creating artistic glass pieces is her specialty, and some of her work was on display Saturday at Gallery 104 in downtown La Grange. She was selected July’s artist of the month by the Arts Association of Oldham County.
Ten years ago, Klem’s daughter talked her into taking a bead-making class. Her passion for making artistic glass started with a torch, which Klem used to make glass jewelry.
About six years ago, Klem moved up to using a kiln, which allows her to make large pieces – from decorative bowls and plates to large wall pieces, and even clocks.
“I enjoy both techniques,” she said. “But I’m in a mode of trying to work larger all the time.”
Because the pieces are so large and require multiple firings in the kiln, Klem said a bigger piece can take at least a week to make. Each firing takes a full 24 hours; Klem spends time cutting and shaping the piece in between firings.
Klem had been working toward becoming an artist for a long time, it has been a passion of hers throughout her life. Once she retired from her corporate job, she was able to move forward full-time as an artist. Although she doesn’t see it as a retirement.
“My plan was always to try and figure out what I was going to do next,” she said. “Because we don’t retire any more; we change careers.”
But, she admits, her new career helps her enjoy life and still feel young.
In addition to being Oldham County’s artist of the month, Klem was named artist of the month for the Kentucky Arts Council back in May. She said her involvement with the counsel has allowed her art to travel all over the country. Customers from as far away as Texas and Missouri have bought art at her shows.
She also won the Art’s on the Green Award for best jewelry in 2012.
Kathy Dowling, the director of the Arts Association of Oldham County, praised Klem’s work and said her jewelry sells very well in Gallery 104, which is owned by the association.
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