Hana Balaban-Pommier is a ceramic artist living and working in Toronto. She immigrated to Canada from her native Czechoslovakia, and took her first weekend course in pottery shortly afterwards to balance her caregiving responsibilities. Subsequent employment in a production studio of Rick and Nancy Hilborn as well as working within MIT Art community when living in the USA deepened her infatuation with the material and led to explorations of form in stoneware and Raku.
A new direction of work came as a result of professional experience as a therapist teaching mindfulness and meditation to clients with chronic pain. Hana’s interest in the grounding qualities of clay and its decorative and utilitarian function was replaced by deepening desire to capture states, emotions, moods and perceptions.
Hana has this to say about her current work:
I start with clay in a liquid state and trace a path, or a grid, drawing on paper, creating connections: paths describing their points of origin and termination in space. I use these as my building blocks, sometimes assembling them and firing them together in supportive forms, sometimes firing them first and assembling them later. I push the boundaries of material to create objects whose fragility I acknowledge. I accept my losses as an inevitable part of creating.
I am interested in describing forms through balancing elements, the game of contrast and compare, harmony and dissonance, light and shade; space is hidden and revealed. Sometimes the goal is pure abstraction, investigation and play. Other times, the fragile nature of these pieces serves as a metaphor for human experience.
Hana’s previous educational background includes Sheridan College’s Crafts and Design Ceramics program, art history studies at Harvard Extension School and a B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto.
Her work was exhibited with the Ontario Craft Council and was part of the FUSION Pottery and Glass Show as well as the Art Gallery of Hamilton Art Sale.
Photography by Hana Balaban-Pommier