In the studio with: Hannah Dykes
Hannah Dykes is a self-taught potter who has taken classes at Hintonburg Pottery and McNabb Recreation Centre in Ottawa. She particularly enjoys teaching youth and introducing them to the unpredictable and exciting world of experimenting with clay.
She started out as a Hintonburg Pottery volunteer and studio member, moving on to teach Kids Summer Camps, After School Programs and Handbuilding and Wheel Classes and Workshops for all ages. As an instructor, she encourages her students to explore their ideas, embrace their pottery pieces imperfections and get muddy!
What is your background and how did you get into the world of creating and teaching the art of pottery?
I’ve always been interested in the arts but something about pottery clicked for me. I had dabbled in other mediums but after I took my first pottery class, I couldn’t get enough of it. I love that I can learn what I want to learn in workshops.
In April 2018, I took my first class with Christine Chesser who is also an instructor at Hintonburg Pottery. I continued to take classes with Laura Sheppard at the McNabb Recreation Centre, and it was really nice as every wheel was different and a bit unique. I wanted to pursue pottery but their studio member waitlist is very long, so I decided to check out Hintonburg Pottery.
This place seemed so nice, open and wonderful, I love the feel of the studio and the warmth of the staff here. I think I was one of the few studio members who had never taken a class here.
In spring 2019, I started volunteering and then became a staff member. I’ve done summer camps at a recreation centre before but they were always more focused on activities than creativity.
I started offering handbuilding summer camps and now also teach Spin The Wheel evening workshops, teen and after school programs and wheel classes as part of the new Pottery Flex Pass.
How has you work and artistic style evolved over time?
I have more of an organic aesthetic - initially I was drawn to the wheel because it’s beautiful and symmetrical but I’ve always been drawn to nature and form. The female body often features in my work. Handbuilding provides a lot more freedom in my work.
Who are some of your key influences and what inspires you?
It’s almost overwhelming the amount of inspiration you have access to via social media these days. I like to play with different glazes and shapes.
People sometimes say, “this isn’t your grandma’s pottery” but I really like vintage crockware and draw a lot of inspiration from the past. Sometimes my pieces are like my grandma’s pottery!
What do you think makes Hintonburg Pottery so magical?
It was almost inexplicable, I checked it out as I had never shopped here before. It’s one of those places where everything seems to work in its favour - the right people and the right things happen at the right time. I wandered in and met the owner, Ginger, who is so friendly. I started to get involved as a studio member and volunteer, did my orientation and gradually moved on to becoming an instructor and staff member.
I have always been interested in working with youth and providing them with an accessible creative outlet. Art supplies and studio time can be expensive. It can be difficult to gain access to spaces in Ottawa, especially if they are affiliated with schools and you didn’t study there originally.
The city’s recreational centres are accessible but have such high demand. I have always wanted to create a communal and accessible art space and I can’t believe I have found this opportunity – Hintonburg Pottery really has that community feel I was looking for.
Can you tell us something most people don’t know about you?
I’m a total wallflower, I’ve always absorbed everything that is going on around me. I previously worked in retail for a really long time but I found it very draining. Being an instructor, working primarily with youth, is a better fit for me as it is more balanced with my personality.
The quote “Be who you needed when you were younger” has always really resonated with me. I recently revisited this concept–as I am now a pottery instructor working with an audience I am passionate about helping–and thought, “Yay, I’m finally becoming it!”
Upcoming classes and workshops with Hannah Dykes
Purchase the new Pottery Flex Pass prepaid package, to register for individual Wheel Throwing classes with Hannah on Monday mornings until early December from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Kids & Family Handbuilding PD Day Workshops
Friday, October 11, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. OR 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Fun for kids and their families! You will be guided from beginning to end in each workshop to create your own piece. Kids must be age 5+.
Teen Wheel Throwing Classes (4 Weeks)
Monday, October 21st through Monday, November 11th, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This class is great for teens who are beginners at wheel throwing with little to no experience. Hannah will take students from the beginning stages of wedging clay through to making cylinders, bowls, cups, and other little treasures. Be prepared to enjoy making and creating in a professional studio!
We provide all clay, tools and instruction in a warm and welcoming light-filled studio. Learn more and book your space online here or by calling 613-725-6909.