Hannah Hopkins of Ashen Ceramics shares her story in creating her pottery business
For many, hobbies are a way to pass time. Some hobbies, especially for artists, develop into passionate careers. Hannah Hopkins, the creator of Ashen Ceramics, began her pottery career from a simple beginner's class.
As a college graduation gift, Hannah Hopkins was given the opportunity to take a weekend course at a pottery studio in 2018. Instantly becoming hooked and wanting to learn more, Hannah was later given a year-long membership with Scenic City Clay Arts in downtown Chattanooga.
“I spent that year saving up my money to go to studio sessions once a week and continued to teach myself the basics of throwing via instructional videos on Youtube and Instagram,” she shared.
Receiving encouragement from friends and family to develop and sell her work, Hannah booked her first market booth in November 2019. Soon after beginning sales, she managed a local pottery gallery, Ember Gallery, and practiced relentlessly on the equipment available at the gallery.
“I would practice throwing for nearly 8 hours a day, 4 days a week for about 8 months,” Hannah said.
However, the coronavirus pandemic brought her time at Ember to an abrupt close. Despite her career at Ember ending, Hannah continued to see a demand for her ceramic products. As a result, Ashen Ceramics was born. Now a full-time artist for three months, Hannah is continuing to grow and develop her name in the Chattanooga art community.
“Currently, Ashen Ceramics operates within a small rented space with several other artists at the Universal Art Collective, just off of Main Street,” she said.
Hannah operates her business out of a rented portion of the Universal Art Collective. Her work is always displayed and available for purchase along with the works of many other Chattanoogan artists. She offers a wide range of functional art, her bestseller being her eight-ounce cup.
“These cups are available in several different glaze combinations and are usually what people come to first when they stop at my market stall. They are perfect for lattes, whiskey, wine, cocktails, all of the above,” Hannah shared.
Her collection of products also features coffee mugs, tumblers, spoon rests, dish sets, bells, berry bowls, wind chimes, and oil cruets. Hannah hopes to resume custom ordering options come January 2021.
Like many artists, Hannah draws a lot of inspiration from nature. With soft curves and pleasing lines being the focus of many of her pieces, Hannah’s pottery draws in the viewer before it is even touched. The more natural something appears, the more perfect it is to Hannah.
“A lot of the glaze colors and designs I make are also inspired by nature, especially wood, the sky, and the ocean,” she said.
Making her inspirations clear to others drives her creativity. While some artists have struggled with their “drive” during these uncertain times, Hannah has managed to blossom her business and continue developing her works. There was a significant surge to support local business at the beginning of the pandemic, though Hannah was not nearly as active then as she is now.
“I had lost my jobs, was stuck at home, and really struggling for inspiration to create for quite a while,” she shared.
By creating goals for herself, Hannah was able to kick off her inspiration and start her career as a full-time artist. Fueled by creativity, she branched out and tried new things, which only gave the birth of Ashen Ceramics more momentum.
If you wish to find Hannah’s work, she is available at the Chattanooga Market on Sundays, the River Market on Saturdays, and also participates in the CBC Night Market on the first Friday evening of each month.