Hannah Niswonger

Artist Statement

I build functional pots out of white stoneware. My tools are simple: a knife, a serrated metal rib, a sponge, a brush. All of my work is hand-built from slabs of clay. I love working with slabs like fabric; the pots are sewn together, scored along the edges, nipped and tucked together to make rounded forms from sheets of clay. Using a Chinese calligraphy brush, I paint bone dry pots with under-glaze stains, which act like an ink wash or watercolors on the absorbent surface of the clay. I scratch and carve into the drawings, adding and removing details. The pin tool is both pencil and eraser, adding white to the drawing. I use wax to create motifs that are reminiscent of printed patterns. I love the immediacy of the connection people make with images of animals. Pattern and color anchor my animals to the pots. They serve as frames, and backgrounds, so that the animals exist in their own narrow space around the pots.

Artist Bio

Hannah received an MFA in ceramic sculpture from Alfred University in Alfred, New York. As an undergraduate she attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where she received a BA in studio art. She is currently teaching at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and has taught courses in ceramics at Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. She gives workshops nationally, and exhibits in regularly in galleries and juried craft shows, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art Show and the Smithsonian Craft Show and CraftBoston. She lives in Melrose, Massachusetts with her husband, three kids one dog and two rabbits.