Our artist this month will be Hannah Lenhart who is a ceramic artist working and living in the beautiful hills of West Virginia. She is a recent graduate of Fairmont State University where she received her BA in Studio Art with a concentration in Ceramics/ Sculpture as well as a BS in Business Administration in May of 2017. Summer of 2016 she was named as one of two Tamarack Foundation for the Arts Emerging Artist Fellows.
My focus through my work is to help make life’s little rituals a little more special. From a morning cup of coffee to setting out flowers on a table; I seek to bring a bit of brightness and whimsy to help enhance the small moments in life. Through the hustle and bustle of daily living, it is my hope that my work can create a moment of pause and act as a reminder to take a breather. When I see people use my work, I often notice that they take a moment to examine all facets of the piece and graze it with their fingers to feel the slight textures in the patterns; this is the most rewarding part of the whole making process for me.
I’m inspired by daily life and try to incorporate elements that bring joy into each handcrafted ceramic piece. As a lover of color and pattern, these elements play huge roles in my work. Experimenting with new color combinations and the play with proportions help make my studio practice exciting. I often say that my approach to making is the “student’s approach”. By that I mean I try to keep the same mindset I had while first learning the craft of ceramics, where research and experimentation were main drives while starting new projects.
All my ceramic pieces start out as a ball of cone 6 white stoneware. Each is thrown on a potter’s wheel where it is stretched and pulled to create a desired shape. Once the piece is at a flexible yet moldable stage, called leather-hard, hand built or additional thrown elements are added to reinforce a design and/ or to give it function (i.e. adding a cozy handle or fun spout to a piece to make it comfortable to hold or pour from).
Decoration is my absolute favorite part of the process because at this time, for me, is when a piece starts to come alive and develops a little personality. Each piece is hand- painted using colored slips specifically formulated to help achieve a smooth and bright finished product. Decorating techniques, including carving, resist, and layering help me to create fields within my work that allow the eye to bounce and rest on areas of bright colors and patterns.