LEAVING ROOM WITH KQK

by Savannah James 

 

Karen Quirion is a multidisciplinary artist and designer exploring the dichotomy between the rigid and whimsical forces of nature. Quirion explores these themes through storytelling and designing under her label, KQK. Though initially a clothing brand, KQK has evolved into an extension of all Quirion’s creative practices, most recently introducing ceramics. Her ‘Sculptural Vessels’ are hand formed or coil built and one-of-a-kind, allowing her to tap into the more intuitive side of the design process. The works are effortless, whether standing alone or housing a bouquet of wildflowers.

 

" I ALWAYS LEAVE ROOM FOR IMPROVISATION IF THE FORMS ARE LEADING ME SOMEWHERE ELSE"

Ecru Nymphaea

Karen Quirion

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Torres

Karen Quirion

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Quirion has been creating since her late teen years, when her primary focus was fashion design. She studied fashion at the Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy in Quebec and the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan. Early into her practice, Quirion had an artistic awakening. “It started growing into something much more meaningful to me. Conceiving collections and building stories around them became therapeutic in some way – a safe place for me to channel my thoughts and emotions.” 

 

KQK SS22 featured in Cemented Love / Love Cemented

 

" I REALIZED I COULD DO MORE- THAT I ACTUALLY WANTED TO DO MORE. I SLOWLY STARTED GIVING MYSELF A CHANCE. I INSTANTLY FELL IN LOVE WITH THE PRACTICE."

Coarse Tale

Karen Quirion

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Sand Nymphaea

Karen Quirion

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Nature, Brutalism, and their harmonious juxtaposition have always been at the forefront of inspiration for Quirion. With her ceramics specifically, Quirion pairs simple materials and colors with organic, intricate forms. Further inspiration is drawn from chiaroscuro painters like Caravaggio and Nicola Samori. The abrupt contrast of dark and light in their paintings is mirrored by Quirion's combination of delicate shapes and bare glazeware. 

 

Nicola SamorĂŹ, Sordina, 2017


Robert Mapplethorpe, 1984

 

Monument to the Fallen Soldiers of the Kosmaj Partisan Detachment, Courtesey of FUEL

 

 

Quirion’s hometown of Thetford Mines Quebec, historically the largest asbestos mine and production centers in the world, was in retrospect, one of her first influences. “When I fully grew into my creativity, I realized the sharp contrast between the abundant vegetation and the waste left from the mines ultimately left an imprint on me,” Quirion reflects on her native landscape. Amidst the vivacious greenery and crystalline lakes are ominous mine deposits that share a similar bleakness to Brutalism, and of which Quirion weaves brilliantly into her work. 

 

Nymphaea

Karen Quirion

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Lark

Karen Quirion

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Karen Quirion in her studio, 2022

Peony Vice, 2022

 

While her clothing and vessels come from a similar aesthetic line, Quirion’s process with ceramics is much more intuitive. “Working with clay has proven to be much more liberating to me. Even though I usually sketch my designs prior to initiating new pieces, I always leave room for improvisation if the forms are leading me somewhere else,” she tells LES. “The whole process then came very naturally to me as it felt oddly familiar in a way.”

 

Savannah James is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY

Find her: @jamvvvs and unnecessary musings

 

SHOP KAREN QUIRION'S WORK: