Wheaton Conversations: Kait Rhoads & Jen Elek

Wheaton Conversations: 
Kait Rhoads & Jen Elek

Watch the Jan. 13, 2022 recording above

Join Pacific Northwest artists Kait Rhoads & Jen Elek as they converse about their passion for the natural world, art-making processes, and community-driven artwork.

This event is part of “Wheaton Conversations,” a new virtual series highlighting select artists with ties to WheatonArts! To see the full schedule of conversations, Click Here. 

A headshot of artist Kait Rhoads. She wears a brown hoodie over a black shirt. Her light brown hair has a slight curl.

Kait Rhoads uses traditional Italian techniques as a base to create sculptures, vessels, jewelry, and public art. The aquatic realm is the root of much of her work, the result of spending six years on a boat in the Caribbean in her youth. She lived surrounded by nature; the liquid light and aquatic life imprinted upon her senses. The sculptures she creates emanate from her early experiences within and curiosity about the natural world. Since moving to the Northwest over two decades ago, her fascination extended from coral colonies to kelp forests. Aquatic life infuses her sculptures with animated forms, sparkling surfaces, and faceted exoskeletons. Her love for murrine making dovetails well into her investigation of growth patterns and biological structures.

Kait received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1993 and her MFA from Alfred University in 2001. Her collections include the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Glass, the Palm Springs Art Museum, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Seattle Art Museum, the Shanghai Museum of Glass, and the Tacoma Art Museum.

A headshot of artist Jen Elek. Jen is looking to the side with neon lights in the background. She wears clear glasses, a black top, and a black beanie.

Jen Elek is a studio artist and educator based in Seattle, Washington. Elek investigates interpersonal themes and the notion of community by creating objects and installations of colorful glass and neon light employed as a non-verbal form of communication.

Jen has been a member of the Northwest artist community since moving from Bethlehem, PA, to Seattle in 1995. Elek has traveled to Canada, Japan, Australia, and throughout the U.S., teaching glassblowing workshops. Jen has worked for many notable artists including, Dale Chihuly, Ginny Ruffner, Nancy Callan, and was a key member of Lino Tagliapietra’s glassblowing team for 15 years. Elek’s involvement in Northwest Art organizations includes; Pilchuck glass school, The Museum of Glass -Tacoma, Hilltop Artists, and guest lecturer at The University of Washington in Seattle. Her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Glass Tacoma, Tacoma Art Museum, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Traver Gallery Seattle. She maintains a studio in south Seattle with her husband, Jeremy Bert.