Hannun Lyn’s pots are quiet and yet they speak volumes. I’ve long admired the steady presence of her work. Here at Make and Do we are thrilled to have Hannun as our guest artist and to find out more about the person behind these compelling pots.
Where is your studio located? I established a studio in 2004 in the Parkdale neighbourhood of downtown Toronto.I did have a 3 year stint in the country, only to find that home is really downtown Toronto afterall. Today I share the studio space with six other ceramic artists. Our building in houses woodworking, design, floral, textile, guitar, glass casting, and of course, ceramic studios. Back then, it was still a pretty rough area – today the area is now full of condos, restaurants, great coffee shops, and even an indoor obstacle course.
Can you tell us a bit about one of your mentors, someone without who you likely wouldn't be a ceramic artist.
Mr. Harlan House. In my opinion, he has one of the smartest ceramic minds in North America. He is a definite master of his craft. Although we use the same material, porcelain, our approaches are quite different. He has always been a guide and mentor for me, approachable, generous and kind in his approach to being a potter, an artist, and truly in life itself.
Looking around your local or provincial community can you name 3 other clay artists that should be on our radar?
PATRICK YEUNG (Toronto)
HEATHER SMIT (King City, Ont.)
JENNIFER GRAHAM (Stratford, Ont.)
Would you describe your work as having any inherent "Canadian Aesthetic"? If so can you describe how you might perceive stylistic trends in contemporary Canadian Ceramics.
I am Chinese, born in Jamaica, raised in Montreal and now living in the most diverse city in the world. I think my works speak of what Canada has become. A true statement on embracing where one’s intuitive ethnic history, the history of the material and international influences (Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Danish, Scandinavian, German, English) and melding them to create one’s own unique, distinctive body of work.
What are your favorite forms to work with?
The teabowl and teapot. I draw your inspiration from Japanese ceremonial teaware, Sung dynasty glazes, Danish industrial ceramics, Mingei, Bauhaus and Arts & Crafts period ceramics.
Can you retell one of your favorite stories about being an artist?
I had just set up the studio and we had our first open house. My studio mate’s dad, a pragmatic but supportive dad indeed, asked how things were going. My self- deprecating answer, “Good, but being a potter is hard work”. His reply, “That’s why they call it work”. That has stayed with me ever since. No romanticism, no sugar coating. Being a maker of any sort requires more sweat and tears than anything I have ever done before or since, but the rewards always outweigh any setbacks or challenges.
Were there any hard challenges you had to overcome in your career?
What did you learn from mistakes or challenges?
Being a bit of a pyromaniac, I always try to learn from the fire. It will tell you everything. Every time I fire a kiln I never know exactly what has happened to the pots when I crack the kiln door open. Over time I have learned how to control certain aspects of the firing but I never have complete control, especially with reduction firing. Slumping, dripping, warping, these are not mistakes, they are lessons. What happened? Why? Do I still like it? Do I like it even better?
Could you offer some advice for others who are trying to have similar success as makers
Never ever give up.
Favorite artist, ceramic or otherwise. Lucie Rie, Isamu Noguchi, Pablo Picasso
What's on your playlist in the studio? Silence, music, podcasts?
CBC Radio One
This American Life
First Day Back (about an documentary filmmaker returning to work after being away for 5 years raising her two boys).
Visit Hannun's Profile Page for more info or check out her shop page to grab yourself one of her beautiful works.