The Potter-Sculptor come Full Circle
by Patricia Noonan
originally published in Riverside Quarterly, Spring 2006
Annette has lived a nomadic life. After emigrating to Canada and living throughout the country with her family while growing up, Annette chose to study back in Denmark where she was born. At the ‘Kolding Design School’, Hansen graduated with honours and went on to create ceramic art wherever she lived, from Denmark to Greece, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Elora, Ontario. Now, living in Toronto, Annette has been able to come back to the unique art form she experimented with in Denmark.
At Kolding, Annette worked with building materials and incorporated them into her art. Over the years, her work gravitated away from that and moved towards traditional pottery and teaching. Hansen has come full circle, as she says, to her initial style. Her recent sculptures range from wall installations to free standing pieces, incorporating and other ‘found’ elements into concrete. The pieces can be moved around to suit different locations, both indoors and out. The influence of architecture is a consistent theme. “Architecture involves repeat elements and I wanted to experiment with that concept. A sense of building ideas, one on top of another, is the effect I’m out to achieve.”
“Both clay and concrete are metaphors that suggest permanence,” Annette states. Both materials are readily available and Annette confirms that not only is the work of creation quite physical but also meditative as well. “The potter’s wheel requires you to center yourself, both physically and mentally,” Hansen continues. As a teacher and gallery owner, Annette mentions that instructing students on the wheel and with ‘throwing’ techniques continues to help hone her skills and to think differently about her own work.
While teaching for the previous owner of what is now her space, the opportunity to buy the pottery studio arose. Now ‘Cobalt Gallery and Clay Studio’ is the result, with the clay studio on the lower level and the gallery on the main level. When artists rent wall space, Annette arranges their openings and guests can take away a signature ‘cobalt pottery’ cup, for a small donation, with all proceeds going to a Canadian charitable cause.
There are also fascinating one of a kind art gifts available for sale. The most important thing for Annette Hansen is that she has managed to combine her love of art and teaching, and that she can continue to create, support and nurture future art lovers. That’s really coming full circle.