Everyday Objects Made Beautiful: User Interface Student Creates Ceramic Art Through Intricate Patterns

UI BFA ceramic artist Hannah Song creates functional objects with detailed designs inspired by cake making.

Emilie Wangen

Hannah Song, a BFA student at the University of Iowa, poses for a portrait in her studio inside the Visual Arts Building on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Song became interested in ceramics after taking classes during his first year at UI.

Hannah Song, a senior at the University of Iowa, stood out like a light on the open ocean in the dimly lit cafe. Clutching a plush llama satchel in one arm and wearing a pink sweatshirt and matching pink eye shadow, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics candidate shared how she enjoys ceramics rather than painting and drawing, an art medium she once held in high esteem.

“I feel like with painting and drawing I get tired of it faster, but with ceramics it’s always exciting,” Song said. “You have to stop at certain times because you have to work with the clay to let the clay dry out a bit at certain times, the bisque firing, and you have to glaze it; there are so many steps in the process. It’s so exciting to open the oven and see how it all turned out.

Song shapes clay into functional objects such as cups, bowls and plates while using pastry techniques to add elaborate swirls and flowers onto her ceramic objects. Her interest in baking sparked this unique concept.

“I really like making cakes and desserts, so it goes with that because it’s something to showcase it on,” she said.

Recently, Song has dabbled in colored porcelain and uses mason’s stains to add color to her clay.

“For the piping, I take the clay and water it so that it relaxes and I can use the piping,” Song said. “It’s like coloring with icing, almost.”

Song’s work presents itself elegantly; with smooth edges and detailed patterns reflecting as an artist.

“I feel like that’s who I am,” Song said. “If I try to do something, kind of like, messier or more organic or whatever, my brain just wants to smooth everything out or make it cleaner.”

Emilie Wangen
Ceramic works sit on a bench inside the studio of University of Iowa BFA student Hannah Song inside the Visual Arts Building, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Song became interested in ceramics after taking classes her first year at UI.

The artist took a ceramics course when she had a Bachelor of Arts in studio art and loved the department’s faculty. Once enrolled in a second-level ceramics course, Song learned the technique of wheel throwing, which made her fall even more in love with this artistic medium.

“That’s what I really enjoyed, and it’s weird that I like it because I feel like I still don’t really have the hang of it,” she said. . “Throwing something and centering it and lining up the walls and stuff, it’s so hard. But I like it because it’s similar to how specific you have to be about it.

Song then changed her major to ceramics, although she neglected to tell her parents because they were already uncomfortable about Song pursuing art.

“Yeah, I didn’t tell them I was changing majors until I was there a bit,” she laughed. “They were like, ‘what are you going to do with that?’ you know, like, wait, leave it to me.

While the artist is expected to graduate next spring, she said she hopes to make a living selling her work.

“Yes [art] is something you really like, at least give it a try,” Song said. “You’ll probably regret not doing it in the future.”

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