At FrikiFish, we’re interested in sharing stories about art and creativity in Barcelona. Today we’re chatting with fellow Barcelonian, Hana Gausfain about starting a new craft.
Hana is familiar with exercising her creativity in her daily role as a UX Copywriter. However, today we’re chatting about her recent endeavors into the world of visual art. Hana started playing with clay this year and we want to hear more about her experiences with creative activities in Barcelona.
Hi Hana, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, sure! I’m Hana. I’ve lived most of my life in Barcelona, but I also enjoy travelling and living abroad. I especially loved living in Tokyo and Jerusalem for a few months. At the moment, I’m working as a UX Writer and Copywriter for different organisations, from small startups to major corporations like Mango. I always make sure I have some free time to dance, write, take pictures and more recently, learn ceramics.
That’s great you dedicate time to your creativity! What kind(s) of art do you most identify with?
Dance has always been an important part of my life. Whatever I’m doing or wherever I’m living, I’m always trying to incorporate dance into my day. For me, it’s the most honest form of expression. I just need to be in my body and let go. Of course, there are some implicit aesthetic rules we follow, but I connect with a sense of freedom both when I’m dancing and when I see others perform. This can also apply to acting, which I’m coming back to recently and feel passionate about.
I’ve always been very connected to literature and expressing myself by writing as well. I’ve worked hard to earn a living by finding the best combinations of words.
Visual arts such as photography and painting also inspire me. I especially love illustration and try to have pieces or prints from my favorite artists hanging on my walls. Anything that combines colors beautifully and has soul will capture me.
Do you think Barcelona is a good city for creative people?
I think Barcelona has always been a great place for art. Not only it has left its footprint on the architecture of the city, Barcelona has also been one of the centers of the avant-garde movements throughout history.
At the moment, Barcelona attracts large numbers of expats who feel inspired to create here; from tech startups to musicians and visual artists. So there is definitely a welcoming creative atmosphere. On the other hand, it’s true that in this country we don’t always appreciate the value of culture and it can be really hard to make a living from your art. I’m an optimist though, and I hope we will get better!
What inspired you to sign up for ceramics in Barcelona?
In recent years I’ve met many friends who practice ceramics and I started to feel curious. At first I was convinced ceramics was too hard. I didn’t even consider trying.
Then, last year two of my friends decided to leave their jobs to become professional ceramists and I was driven by their passion. I was looking around town for lessons when a colleague told me about a studio where you can learn at your own pace, and I felt it was the right time for me to give it a go.
Can you tell us a bit about the studio where you’re currently working?
Atüell is a small, lovely studio located in Gracia, where you can buy a pack of hours and use them when it best suits you. There’s always two or three ceramists helping out, specially at the beginning, when they teach you the basic techniques such as coils, slabs or the potter’s wheel. It’s really nice to be able to work on your project on your own time, and ask for help whenever you need it.
That sounds great, I take it you recommend Atüell to others then?
I have been recommending it to others and everyone who has tried, loves it. To be honest, this year it has become so popular that some days it can get too crowded. So I’m not sure I want to recommend it to more people! I do however recommend that other studios to follow their business model.
How has this new creative outlet influenced your life or your work?
I’ve realised that when it comes to my creativity, I’ve mostly chosen activities that I can practice in a group and share with an audience. It’s a way of connecting with the outside world while enjoying what I’m doing.
However, with ceramics it’s more of a trip within. Playing with clay is a kind of meditation. I still prefer it when myself and others can appreciate the results, but what’s most important is the time that I spend working on a piece.
Ceramics is also a great teacher when it comes to the ability of letting go of your expectations. Your piece probably won’t look like the idea you had in your mind; colors will change, cracks will appear, etc. It’s great practice for appreciating and learning to love what is.
Do you have any artistic goals for the future?
That’s a tricky question. On one hand, I’m committed to finding a path where I can fully express myself artistically. However, I don’t have a specific goal like mastering a discipline or earning a living from my art. It’s more of a commitment to myself that I will keep creating and be open to anything that comes my way.
— That sounds like a great promise to make to yourself. We want to thank you for taking the time to share your story about starting a new craft with us. We wish you the very best if luck with all of your creative endeavors!
If you want to learn more about the Atüell ceramics school, you can find them on Facebook and at atuell.com. For more pottery studios around Barcelona, check out our recent post on pottery studios in Barcelona.