Karlyn Sutherland studied architecture at Edinburgh College of Art (B.Arch. (Hons), 2007; Dip.Arch., 2008; M.Arch., 2008) and the University of Edinburgh (Ph.D., 2014), where she received multiple awards and was also employed as a design tutor and research assistant. She began working in glass in 2009 when her research into the topics of place and attachment led her home to Lybster, Caithness, and to her enrolment on a master class at North Lands Creative Glass; she has since gone on to exhibit nationally and internationally, with her work – explorations of light and shadow influenced by her experience of the derelict buildings found along the coast near her home – playing a critical role in the development of her academic research, and vice-versa. In 2016 she was an Endeavour Research Fellow in the Glass Workshop of the Australian National University, Canberra, and has recently been an artist in residence both at the University of Sunderland and at the Corning Museum of Glass. In addition to maintaining her creative practice as an artist, architectural designer and writer, Sutherland is a member both of the Craft Scotland Advisory Group and of the Board of Directors of Timespan, a museum and art gallery in Helmsdale, Sutherland. She is represented by Bullseye Projects, Portland, Oregon.
Central to my work, both in glass and architecture, is a long-standing interest in the bond between people and place; my practice explores this dialogue, with a particular focus on the characteristics of space that shape our memories and sense of attachment to our environment. Glass is an evocative material, able to readily convey atmosphere, emotion and narrative; it has the ability to reveal memories, generate associations and encourage the imagination in other mediums often cannot. My work in glass is both autobiographical in nature and an extension of the sensibilities and skills I have honed as an architectural designer; it is a reaction to vivid memories and intangible qualities of significant moments and places, with each piece distilling and communicating the essence of an experience of light, shadow and atmosphere. The haptic, hands-on act of making is contemplative – a tool which allows me to explore, strengthen and learn from my own relationship with and understanding of place.