Kelly O’Dell was born in Seattle in 1973, raised in Hawai’i, and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she was very young, her artistic parents made their living using stained glass, furnace glass, and pressed flowers. While seeking her college education years later, O’Dell discovered glass as her primary focus at the University of Hawaii. The program offered her many opportunities to study at Pilchuck Glass School, and she eventually relocated there as a member of the William Morris Winter Crew. Kelly O’Dell’s work mainly explores themes of extinction, preservation, and human impact on the natural world. She resides in Stanwood, WA with her husband Raven Skyriver and their 5 year-old son Wren.
“Animal extinction is occurring mostly by way of human-caused habitat destruction and climate change. It is fascinating and devastating to me that our presence as one species has so much impact on the delicate balance of life. Using sculpture, I am recreating the endangered, the critically endangered, and the extinct in glass.
The inherent qualities of Glass hold metaphorical connections to my areas of interest:
-Glass is a liquid. This brings to my mind a great glacier, a supreme giant, which we may take for granted as ever-present. As the Earth’s ice caps melt and change, so does our environment.
-Glass is archival. Our times are changing at record-setting speed as we watch the graph of CO2 levels rise exponentially in one generation. Although overwhelmed by the enormity of our human condition, I feel privileged to be making real, tangible objects to mark our time, in our age.
-Glass transmits, bends, and reveals light. Our ideas about climate change and human impact can be easily warped through the media, politics and our own sensitivities. Science is undeniable; it offers nothing but a prismatic display of truth.
It is upon the basis of science from which we extract solutions. Facts and reports can be mind-dulling on paper, disengaging, impersonal. I aim to emulate in Art the things I learn from Science. I feel a responsibility to share what I learn, and to chronicle in a visually compelling way, which may be somehow useful now or in the future.” – Kelly O’Dell