Captivated long ago by her father’s glassblowing, Kelly O’Dell was involved with glass at a young age. Kelly’s family lived in Kealakekua, Hawai’i, where her father built himself a glass studio at their home. It was 1979, at 6 years old, when she remembers her father dribbling hot glass on the concrete floor, spelling words and names for the crowd surrounding him.
Twenty years later she graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Honolulu with a BFA degree in Studio Art, with a focus in Glass. With Rick Mills as her instructor, Kelly’s experience at the University provided her the tools and knowledge to leave the islands for a much bigger world. Eager to immerse herself in the glass movement, Kelly moved to Seattle, where she assisted various artists in their studios. Here she worked and studied at Pilchuck Glass School and Pratt Fine Arts Center, and began to exhibit her work actively. She took the opportunity to work at Caleb Siemon’s glassblowing production studio for two years in Orange County, California, where she developed an appreciation for color and design.
In 2003, the William Morris team welcomed Kelly aboard. She enjoyed assisting Morris during his last few years of glassmaking, and continues to work at Pilchuck Glass School during the winter season. Aside from making her own artwork, Kelly also fabricates the metal stands for her work. Kelly has exhibited her work in the Young Glass 2007 Exhibition at the Ebeltoft Museum in Denmark. She also had her first solo exhibition, “65 Million Years,” at Vetri Gallery Seattle in 2008. In 2009, Kelly participated in the SOFA Santa Fe Exhibition, represented by Evoke Contemporary Gallery. She also recently attended the 22nd Annual Niijima Glass Festival in Japan as a teaching assistant for Randy Walker.