Kelly O’Dell was born in Seattle in 1973, raised in Hawai’i, and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she was very young, her artistic parents made their living using stained glass, furnace glass, and pressed flowers. While seeking her college education years later, Kelly discovered glass as her primary focus at the University of Hawai’i. The program offered her many opportunities to study at Pilchuck Glass School, and she eventually relocated there as a member of the William Morris Winter Crew. Her work mainly explores themes of extinction, preservation, and human impact on the natural world. She resides in Stanwood, WA with her husband Raven Skyriver and their son.
“My upbringing in the Hawaiian Islands leads me to be ocean-inspired. Coming from a place so diverse in culture, climate, and teeming with flora and fauna, I feel a sort of servitude or responsibility to honor what is lost, or extinct. It is fascinating and devastating that our presence as one species has so much impact on the delicate balance of life. Through glass sculpture, my work explores themes of “Memento Mori,” as well as extinction, preservation, and origin. The Ammonite, an intelligent coiled-up cephalopod, became extinct 65 Million years ago, leaving impressions in its habitat to fossilize. We learn from the past to be responsible in our future. I hope the presence of my artwork in the world could serve as a reminder, or “Memento,” of this.”