Design Talk

Deb Karash Jewelry

Deb is teaching a fabrication class at Wild Acres, North Carolina August 26-30th. Please see below for more information.

Meet Deb Karash. She is a studio artist living in the beautiful hills of Bakersville, North Carolina. I met Deb at Idyllwild Arts’ Metals Week in June, 2013. Her exquisitely crafted, distinctive work featuring colored pencil drawings on metal is likely not new to you. Here she talks about meaningful influences on her work, what inspires her, and more.

Connie: What educational/training experiences or people have influenced you the most?

Deb: There have been so many that it’s hard to list. I would have to say that my favorites were workshops with Andy Cooperman and Tim McCreight. I’m a big believer in workshops. It’s the best way to learn if you don’t need a degree.

Connie: What drew you to using colored pencil in your work?

Deb-Karash-02Deb: I was a big fan of Helen Shirk, and then later, Marilyn da Silva. I was using patinas on my work but wanted more color. I knew they both used colored pencil so I decided to give it a try. At the time I was using stones in my work and I looked at the detail of the color in the stones to develop my color pallet.

Connie: Was the use of colored pencils love at first sight or did the attraction develop over time?

Deb: It took me a long time to develop a technique that worked but the appeal was there as soon as I tried it.

Connie: Do you consider yourself primarily an abstract, narrative, representational or expressionist artist? Other?

Deb: I would say that my work is abstract even though much of it is botanical it certainly is not realistic in any way.

Connie: What process do you follow in the creation of a piece? Do you have a well laid out plan before you pick up your metal, or do you work spontaneously letting the design develop as you go?

Deb-Karash-03Deb: I spend a lot of time sketching and will work on getting the form just right for as long as it takes. I have a pretty good idea about how it will look but I usually determine textures and colors as I go along.

Connie: Who or what inspires your work?

Deb: What doesn’t?! I, of course, look to nature for inspiration, but also to vintage fabrics, botanical drawings, architecture, other forms of art like ceramics.

Connie: What inner resources do you rely on in the design and creation of your work?

Deb: I am tenacious and hard working and I find that these 2 traits have served me well. I’m willing to stick with a design until I can work out the form and the structure to my satisfaction.

Connie: Were you always creative, or did your creativity develop over time?

Deb-Karash-04Deb: My mother says that when I was small and she would buy me paper dolls that I would never cut out the clothes that came with them, I would just make my own. I think I have always been a maker.

Connie: How do you deal with creative blocks?

Deb: I don’t often have them but when I do I go back to my old sketchbooks to see if there is something that I forgot about or never had time to make. I think that because I am a production jeweler most of the time I am constantly making something and each piece just leads me into the next.

Connie: Do you have advice you can share with others in how (or even why) to develop your own design aesthetic?

Deb-Karash-05Deb: Finding your own style is crucial. As a teacher my work is sometimes copied by my students and when that happens I’m forced to remind them that they must take my techniques and transform them into something of their own. I would say to look around at what you love, whether it’s fashion, architecture, nature, music, and see what you can find for inspiration. Definitely keep a sketchbook, even if you don’t draw well.

Connie: Is there anything about your work you would like people to know? For example, galleries you are in, new work, classes, articles/books you are in, website, blog.

Deb-Karash-06Deb: I am going to be teaching a Fabrication workshop at Wild Acres in North Carolina, August 26-30. Students can contact me ( for the details. It’s a beautiful location and $650 includes class and room and board! I also have a 2 person show at Crimson Laurel Gallery call “Strange Offerings: Beyond the Garden Gate” and you can see all of the work at

You can read more about Deb Karash on her blog: Deb Karash Jewelry


All images and text are ©Copyright 2010-2013 Connie Fox except where indicated. All rights reserved. Deb Karash images in this post are copyright Deb Karash.

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  1. Thanks for the interesting interview. Deb’s work always pop off the page or screen and has a distinctive style. I especially like how she frames the coloured work…it really gives such a finished appearance.

    Cheers, Darla

  2. Kathy, you always make me laugh! I need a round table and a dark room. Glad you enjoyed learning more about Deb. I am fascinated by the artistic journey people take – hope to have more.

  3. Kathy Oxford

     /  August 1, 2013

    OMYGOSH Connie (Charlie Rose) Fox! Your thoughtfully crafted questions really got Deb’s design process revealed and her good advice to others. We did not get this much from her in Idyllwild as we were to busy taking notes to devise such targeted questions. Her work is so playful…. I think you have a knack for this my friend….more please :-D

  4. Thanks Jonna and Ruth. I felt like I wanted to ask so many more questions, but I know Deb is very busy. It was nice of her to take the time…..

  5. Great post!!! Love Deb Karash’s work and am so glad to learn more about her artistic approach through your interview. Thanks, Connie!!!

  6. Ruth Redfern

     /  August 1, 2013

    I enjoyed the interview and then used the link and looked at the gallery exhibit. All very impressive.

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