Main Body of Work

Hannah aims to invoke a sense of wonder and other worldliness with her work. She is influenced by the non-human-made qualities in her environment: exuberant and diverse natural textures and organic patterns that emerge from growth, along with the juxtaposition of chaos and symmetry in nature. 

Hannah uses archetypal vessel forms as a starting point for abstraction. These shapes, symbols of civilization, help anchor the viewer on something familiar enabling contemplation and discovery. Connecting these anthropological shapes with the organic and unrefined expresses the intricate, linked, yet disjointed relationship between the human-made and the natural environment and what it means for humans to make art inspired by nature. 

This is expressed through rich surfaces acquired by layering glazes and altering the thrown form. Hannah throws her pieces on the wheel in sections and alters them at different stages of the drying process. She makes use of the materiality of the clay, pushing it to (and sometimes beyond) its limits to achieve a balance between control and chaos. 

Hannah titles each of her pieces with a name, which emphasizes their unique personalities and enhances the connection between the viewer and the piece.

Miniatures

There were two months left before Hannah’s final degree assessment and she had begun making work for the degree show when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe and the university closed. During the lockdown Hannah wanted to keep working with clay despite having no studio facilities at home. She was able to order some clay and a tiny wheel and began making miniatures. Forced to leave behind all her tools and supplies at university, she set up a workbench on her bedroom floor and carved tools out of branches found in the woods.

This endeavour has developed into a significant line of work for Hannah. She focuses on the subtleties of line and form in typical vessel shapes, exploring variations and combinations of foot rings, necks, curves, rims and lids. Working in miniature has taught her to approach throwing on a profoundly different scale and pay attention to details she had never before noticed.

© Hannah Walsh Staber 2020

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