Karen Kahe Charley was born into the Butterfly/Badger Clan in the village of Sichomovi at First Mesa. She was taught the art of traditional pottery making by her mother, Marcella Kahe. After having three children during the 1970s, she began producing pottery for the marketplace around 1980.
Karen exhibited often at the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Museum of Northern Arizona's Hopi Show. Over the years she earned Best of Show, Best of Division and Best Traditional Pottery honors at both. She has also had exhibitions at Harvard and Yale and her work is part of the permanent collections of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ, and the Northern Arizona Museum in Flagstaff, AZ.
She signs her work with a butterfly design and the letters, "KKC". One of her sisters was Ramona Ami.