Karen Swyler was born and raised on the North Shore of Long Island. Her mother was a ceramic artist and her father was a scientist; each made an impression upon her work and style. She received her BFA in Ceramics from Alfred University and her MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2003 she was a recipient of the Archie Bray Foundation's Lilian Fellowship. She is currently a studio artist and an Associate Professor of Art, directing the Department of Visual Arts at Green Mountain College.
Her work has been exhibited extensively and seen at SOFA Chicago, Dubhe Carreno Gallery, LaCoste Gallery, River Gallery, The Clay Studio of Philadelphia, and The American Museum of Ceramic Art, in addition to other galleries and exhibitions.
All of Swyler's forms are high-fire porcelain, and are either wheel-thrown or slip-cast. The results are unique undulating shapes, frequently paired, that speak to relationships both of form and emotion. Shifts are subtle and transitory—often in surfaces—from skin-like sanded bare clay to supple glazes.
When not teaching or in the studio, she may be found running on Vermont's country roads or on the hunt for rare birds.