After 10 years of making and exhibiting I decided in 2009 that it was important to take time out of that continuous cycle to allow space for new ideas to develop.
The decision to go to the Royal College of Art to embark on a two year MA course led to a number of new directions. Ongoing was my interest in vessel and bowl forms and how I relate to them as objects of contemplation. Growing up in Egypt I was surrounded by pottery forms that have changed little since the ancient times, classical forms that have filtered through the ages touched and formed by the hand of the potter. These forms were functional, storage jars and water cooling urns, it was not however until I went to El Minia College of Fine Arts that I started to really look at them, close observation during drawing classes of still life compositions, opened my eyes to the beauty and contentment that exist within a well considered and executed form.
Drawing is fundamental in training our eyes to see, the action of trying to pick up a line from a three dimensional object and marking it down on a paper is a powerful gesture that surpasses the basic skill, a projection of a line that becomes etched in our psyche as we forge an emotional and intellectual bond with such object. The long hours spent in the drawing studio not only developed the skill needed to make a mark but more importantly it was a time of meditation allowing me to free my mind from preconceptions that normally govern our perception of functional pottery.
It had become increasingly obvious that objects derive their value not only from certain inherent qualities and attributes but crucially also from how we relate to them in a particular context. This has initiated and shaped my relationship with pottery forms ever since, seeing them as a vehicle of creativity worthy of contemplation.
When I enjoyed drawing pots back in Egypt, it never occurred to me that I would be making them. The mark making is now a direct interaction between the hand and a lump of clay, fingers are no longer just used to hold the pencil but to exact an immediate gesture manipulating the solid mass of clay, they become tools that are hard wired directly to our brains, forming, touching and sensing, creating a voluminous form, a container of material, thoughts and emotions.
These very tools – our fingers - become an integral part of appreciating ceramics forms when we approach them as an audience, connecting both maker and observer.
When we make, the physicality of an object is a manifestation of thoughts and emotions that we experience, a celebration of the marriage of ideas and skill. An object in my opinion should have a physical presence that invites a response on a number of levels, emotional as well as intellectual.
The body of work that was conceived during my recent MA at the RCA is concerned with exploring how scale, colour, texture and material inform our perception and understanding of form. The space an object occupies through its scale has a significant role in determining our relationship with it. Colour, whether bright, soft, intense or vivid has a powerful effect in defining its character. Textural treatment invites us to examine the tactile qualities of the surface and how this influences our ability to read and comprehend a form. This is further emphasized when choosing the material, whether solid, dense ceramics or translucent glass
I am interested in the lines and spaces that develop through both the manipulation of the volume within forms and their relationship to one another. The interaction between sharp and organic lines creates subtle and sometimes pronounced curves that invite the eye to engage with the sculptural aesthetics of the form.
Other directions explored at the RCA included working with kiln cast glass and designing slip cast functional bowls.
Work generally available from:
Please contact the artist for information about available work.
Keramikmuseum Westerwald : Young Clay - Ceramics from the UK
March 16, 2014 to April 27, 2014
New Ashgate Gallery : Ashraf Hanna - Spring Maker in Focus
April 26, 2014 to June 07, 2014
Beaux Arts : Ashraf Hanna - ceramics at Bath
October 13, 2014 to November 10, 2014
Work is hand built, fired between 1000- 1160, surface treatment Terra sigillata
1967 - Born in El-Minya, Egypt
1986-1989 - Foundation and Access Course in Art & Design at El-Minya College of Fine Art, El-Minya, Egypt
1991-1994 - BA(Hons.)Theatre Design, Central St. Martins College of Art & Design, London.
1997 - Started working with Clay
1998 - Set up studio in Hackney, East London
1999 - Elected Professional Member of the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain.
2000 - Moved to West Wales and set up current studio in Keeston
2002 - Elected a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association
2011 - M.A. Royal college of Art.
2010 - Awarded 'purchase prize' at the National Eisteddfod (a piece was acquired by the Contemporary Arts Society for Wales for their public collection.)
2010 - Winner, Applied Arts category at the Welsh Artist of The Year Awards 2010
2009 - Highly Commended Award, Welsh Artist of the Year 2009
2009 - Winner of the public vote, Oldenburg International Ceramics Fair , Germany
2009 - 3rd prize, Best of the best , Art in Action
2008 - Winner 'Best of the Best' Art In Action 2008
2008 - Best in show, public vote, Oldenburg International Ceramics Fair
2003 - Sotheby's highly commended, Potfest in the Park
2002 - Winner, Peers Award, Art In Clay, Hatfield House
Work has been purchased by the following collections:
2010 - Contemporary Arts Society for Wales
2009 - Studiopottery.co.uk for University of Wolverhampton (International Ceramic Festival, Wales - Students Award)
2009 - The National Museum of Wales
2008 - Cartwright Halls, Bradford
2005 - Rufford Ceramic Center
The Gregg Fitzgerald Collection of Contemporary European Raku (private)
The Royal Bank of Scotland
- Ceramics: Tools and Techniques for the Contemporary Maker, Louisa Taylor, published by Aurum Press, 2011
- Article in Ceramic Review by Amanda Fielding, Sep/Oct. 2011issue, 2011
2011 - RCA Graduation show, London
2011 - Line, Volume and Space, Solo show at Contemporary Ceramics Centre London
2010 - Le Don Du Fell, France, Trio Exhibition with with Agnès His & Ann Van Hoey.
2010 - Welsh Artist of the Year Exhibition, St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Wales
2010 - The National Eistedfodd, Wales
2009 - Grand Art Auction , Auctioneer, Nick Bonham, Star & Garter Ballroom, Friends of Putney School of Art
2009 - 12 Westerwald Prize, Keramik museum
2009 - Oldenburg, Germany. Ceramics fair.
2009 - Art in Action, invited demonstrator
2009 - Welsh Artist of the Year, St David’s Hall, Gallerie,Cardiff
2009 - CAL 09, RCA, London Ceramic fair
2009 - Beaux Arts, Bath, Solo exhibition
2008 - Atelier Francoise Dufayard, Rennes, France , Group
2008 - The Leach Pottery , St. Ives. Formed in Fire - Group
2008 - Oldenburg, Germany. Invited demonstrator & exhibitor
2008 - Art in Action, invited demonstrator
2008 - Rufford Ceramic Centre - Exhibition with spouse Sue Hanna
2008 - Lund Gallery , Yorkshire, Monochrome, group exhibition
2008 - 'CAL 08', RCA, London. Ceramic Fair
2008 - Tenby Museum , Wales, Exhibition with spouse Sue Hanna
2007 - Clay 14, Woodbury Studio Gallery, Exeter
2007 - Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, Bluecoat Display Centre , Liverpool - Solo showcase
2007 - Demonstrator - Art in Action, Waterperry House, Oxford
2007 - The pot, the vessel & the object - Exhibition to celebrate the anniversary of 50 years of the CPA, Aberystwyth Art Centre.
2007 - 17 Prime Makers , touring exhibition, Farmliegh Gallery, Dublin - Aberystwyth Arts Centre
2007 - Monochrome- Group Exhibition, Contemporary Ceramics, 7 Marshall St. London
2007 - Solo show, Beaux Arts, Bath
2007 - Ceramic Art London, RCA London
2006 - Alpha House Gallery - show with Deirdre Burnet
2006 - Collect, V&A, London
2006 - Ceramic Art London, Royal College of Art
2005 - Hayes and Hanna Exhibition - Rufford Craft Centre, Rufford Country Park - Featured wall mounted panels from Peter Hayes & sculptural forms & vessels from Ashraf Hanna
2005 - Spring Exhibition Woodbury Studio/Gallery - A special exhibition to mark the publication of Tim Andrew's new book 'Raku'
2005 - Alpha House Gallery, South Street, Sherbourne, Dorset
2005 - Ceramic Art London, Royal College of Art London
2005 - The Gallery Upstairs, Henley in Arden
2004 - Blue coat Display Centre, Liverpool. In The Window show case.
2004 - Loes & Reinier International ceramics , Deventer, Netherlands. Smoke fired in Britain
2004 - Collect, at the V&A
2003 - Round House Gallery, The Baker's dozen
2003 - Woodbury Studio Gallery, Clay 10
2003 - Contemporary ceramics, London. Solo Show case.
2003 - Alpha House Gallery, Three man show with Duncan Ross & John Ward.
2002 - York Museum with European Ceramics.
2002 - SOFA, Chicago
2002 - Artifex Gallery
2001 - Candover Gallery
2001 - The Round House Gallery
2001 - Rufford Ceramic Centre
2001 - Solo show at the Mercer Gallery with European Ceramics, "maggie barnes"
2001 - Alpha House Gallery "International Fine Ceramics II"
2000 - European Ceramics, Lotherton Hall Leeds.
2000 - CPA Selected exhibition "Inspired Choices" at the Morley Gallery.
2000 - Sutton House Gallery, London "Elements" an exhibition of Contemporary Ceramics.
2000 - CPA Selected exhibition "Inspired and Fired"at the Metropole Arts Centre .
2000 - Earth & Fire Ceramic Festival, Rufford.