Art Feature – Interview with Ashraf Hanna 3 April, 2019 11:45 am Recently we had the great pleasure of chatting with the exceptionally talented Ashraf Hanna. Ashraf is known for his masterful ability to turn pottery and glass into beautiful organic shapes that would be at home in both traditional and contemporary spaces. As big fans of his work, we were very keen to discover more about his journey and how his Egyptian origins have influenced his style. What inspired you to get into ceramics? What inspired you to get into ceramics? Meeting my future wife! When I met Sue back in 1996, she invited me to visit her studio when the Open Studios event was on. It was the first time I had a chance to handle clay when she taught me how to make a coiled pot. Following a ceramics holiday with Sue in Greece, making hand built burnished pots and sculptures, we realised that we wanted to pursue this as a career, shortly afterwards, we established our first studio Hackney in East London. We have since moved to Pembrokeshire where we now live and work. Image credits: Ashraf Hanna How did growing up in Egypt influence your art? Early formative years growing up in Egypt were hugely significant in shaping my sense of form and what I now find pleasing as a maker. I was surrounded by pottery forms that have changed little since ancient times, classical forms that have filtered through the ages, touched and formed by the hand of the potter. Scale was also very important component of ancient Egyptian art and architecture, I became aware of that key relationship between man and object /structure. My first interaction with pottery forms within a creative context came whilst Closely observing still life compositions during drawing classes at El Minya College of Fine Art. Hours spent in the drawing studios closely observing shapes, lines and spaces between various objects lead to developing an awareness of and an interest in group dynamics. Was it a natural progression to move into glass? Whilst studying at Ceramics & Glass department at the Royal College of Art, I had the opportunity to observe glass as a material, and was intrigued by its qualities. The more I looked the more compelled I felt to respond to this medium. I became interested in the concept of ‘Material Dialogue’ examining how the aesthetics of my designs could be interpreted in different media and how this in turn could inform design. Do you see yourself working with any other material in the future? Possibly, if and when the right project arises, I would welcome the opportunity to further develop the concept of ‘Material Dialogue’. If it’s possible to say, what is your favourite piece you’ve ever created? Impossible! I am always in love with what I make, always interested in the next piece.