Hannah Palma is a potter who has blended her love of woodcut printmaking into her process of working with clay. This week she talks about that combination, and how our big lake inspires her designs.
HP: I work with earth; I work with clay. I feel like all my life ceramics was calling me to it in one way or another, but it wasn’t till my time at the university that I found it would be my deepest passion.
I was born and raised here in Grand Marais, where my love and curiosity for the wild and nature was fostered. I grew up in a little cabin on big land where when the leaves left for the winter you could get the slightest peek of the never ending view of Lady Lake Superior.
My emphasis for my Art & Art History degree were Japanese Woodblock Printmaking & Soda Fired Ceramics. The two mediums began to fuse when I started realizing that I liked the wood BLOCK I had carved more than the finished print on the wall. I liked the feeling of the carved wood on my finger tips, and that’s when I thought about creating woodblock prints on 3 dimensional tactile objects, and I was completely sold. Naturally, I carve nature and abstract versions of moments we experience in nature that change us. I am extremely interested in our connection to each other through nature, and the earth’s energy passed between maker & user. I love that the carvings call for caressing like the stones on the shore of Lady Superior do, and how that feeds our souls.
I have been doing ceramics for 13 years, but two of those years I mainly wrote and drew in my sketchbook what I would create if I could, because my beautiful twin daughters came into the world in May of 2014, and for a while there I was just trying to survive the day to day as a new mom. Having them has brought more depth to my work, and more intention behind all that I do. I owe them many of my ideas, as their birth and presence brought many of my ideas to light and now to fruition.The challenges I experience mainly have to do with me working myself too hard. My studio is in my garage next to my house across from Lady Superior. I love the making process of ceramics so much, and I often get lost in it. I fall behind in other parts of my life as a result, and then feel the need to complete everything all at once. I am working hard to create more of a balance, but it has been tricky running my business from home & distance learning my children from home all during a global pandemic. My self care practices are central to my work as I have learned that only when I listen do I feed my inner creativity.
The rewards outweigh the challenges exponentially. Every day I get to spend quality time with my family, make my own schedule, and do literally what I feel like I was created to do as my JOB. I feel so fortunate and so thankful for all of this, and I recognize the privilege I experience every single day. What brings me the most joy is hearing how these intentionally made objects embed themselves into peoples sacred daily rituals. I am a believer that if we use and surround ourselves with things made by human hands, that it in turn gets us to think of each other and truly be “Humane” by making personal decisions in our lives that affect others in a positive way.
I have lots of exciting things on the horizon such as new forms, new carvings, new stamps, and hopefully some in person sales in the next year.
In addition to my website, I sell at Lake Superior Trading Post in Grand Marais
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