Showcasing the Arts

Award Artist

Ann Klem

Jefferson County

Inspired by science fiction, black holes and nature's processes, Ann Klem's creations start with an idea and a design. Then comes the cut, cast, fold, grind, polish. These steps give her a chance to explore the fluid forms of glass and how colors react with each other.

Often beginning by creating the "block of glass" either in the kiln or by laminating pieces together, she cold-works the block to create the final sculpture. Other pieces are created by casting the glass in the kiln and allowing the glass to flow into a plaster mold. Folding glass is accomplished with multiple kiln firings and sandblastings to a single sheet of glass.

She admits to three addictions: glass, color, and ice cream. She's also a tool junkie. In addition to the kilns, she employs a variety of grinding and cutting tools that use air and electric power and, of course, water. While making lots of sludge, beautiful sparkling and matte finish creations emerge.

For more information on Ann Klem and her glass art, you can visit her website or email her at

Artist's statement

Being selected to create the Kentucky Governor's Awards was a surprise and an honor, especially as I look back at previous Governor's Awards and the list of their creators. This list includes Stephen Rolfe Powell and Dan Neil Barnes, both glass artists who have provided inspiration.

Diversity, in particular, also became a focus of inspiration. The textures and variety of colors are my interpretation of diversity. We see it throughout the state in our different populations, different political priorities and our varying economic situations.

Along the way there were two “Just don't panic!!” moments. I ordered glass from my manufacturer in Portland, Ore., and waited . . . and waited. A call to the shipping company revealed that they had lost the shipment. “Okay, just don't panic! Remember, Chris (Cathers, Kentucky Arts Council executive director) wanted the completed awards in three month's time.” A few days later, the shipping company actually found the order and delivered it—with all glass sheets intact!

Then a few weeks after that, following a third firing in the kiln, I discovered a series of cracks around orange glass in multiple pieces. This could only mean that the orange glass was not compatible with the rest of the piece. Again, “Just don't panic!!” The solution — remake the sections with the misbehaving orange, cut the original sections out with a tile saw, insert the new ones and refire in the kiln. Another couple of weeks lost, but the push was on.

I completed all the pieces on time and delivered them to Frankfort.

I'm still extremely honored to be asked to create these awards, and I'm already picturing what they will look like in their homes or offices.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Kentucky Governor's Awards!