Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1960. While attending Ohio University, she took an elective in glass blowing. After graduating from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Karen was hired to work as a glass blowing assistant. Karen has been fortunate enough to travel extensively, using the opportunities to learn more about the natural world, and as inspiration for her work. She has worked at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State since 1987. After starting as a batch girl she went on to work as a gaffer, teaching assistant and instructor. She continues to teach during the summer sessions at Pilchuck, as well as holding classes and seminars at craft schools and colleges throughout the US, Canada and internationally. ┬áKaren now has a glass-blowing team of her own and her husband, Jasen, works full time with her as her gaffer. Karen’s first sculptures were of flowers and birds. She still enjoys sculpting birds of prey. Karen has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the prestigious Corning Award for Outstanding Student, and the Washington State Arts Council Grant.