Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Karen was always involved in art. She drew a lot and strung love beads in the 60’s and aggravated her mother playing in the wax of burning candles, fashioning miniature sculptures. In high school she was drawn to jewelry making, where she took her childhood interests to a more constructive level and learned about wax model carving and lost wax casting.
Karen graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Art Education, but after three years of teaching art in a Eugene, Oregon public school she returned to Portland to start her career in jewelry design and manufacture. After working for others for almost four years, Karen and her husband moved to Bend, Oregon in 1987, where she opened her design studio and has grown a successful business earning many design awards, and designing for clients worldwide.
Karen’s most significant design award was a first place in the prestigious Spectrum Awards, given by the international American Gem Trade Association. Bandy’s winning ring design featured a blue chalcedony, pink tourmaline and diamonds in 18k yellow gold. Karen has become known for her blue chalcedony designs, and brought worldwide attention to this beautiful gem, spurring collections by Cartier and David Yurman. The stone has since become very rare.
After painting in college, Karen picked up her brushes about 10 years ago and has since become passionate about paint. She loves the versatility, the impermanence of paint. “Unlike the permanence of gemstones created in the earth eons ago, a painting is in flux, in constant movement” she said, “paint can be changed, altered, painted over, scumbled, scrubbed away and added back again.”
Those characteristics have led to her newest style, incorporating layered paints, revealing under-painting, shapes and textures, resulting in an abstract painting communicating feelings and mood with the viewer. The use of brilliant color (drawn from her gemstone experience) continues to play an important part of her art.
Karen continues to design beautiful jewelry in addition to fueling her newfound passion of painting.