My name is Hannah McGehee. I am a sculptor, ceramic artist, and researcher working out of my home studio in Missoula, Montana. I fell in love with clay as a kid, maybe because it was like playing with mud or maybe because it reminded me of the rocks I love to climb. Either way, I was hooked.
Throughout college, I worked as a student assistant at the Dartmouth College Ceramic Studio, a sharp contrast to the courses I was taking in preparation for osteopathic medical school. . During my junior year, I proposed an interdisciplinary project combining my passions for art and medicine with my personal experiences with chronic pain. To my surprise, at my final panel review when asked how the project had shaped my plans for the future, I found myself saying that I was going to pursue figurative sculpture and helping people to heal through a path other than medical school.
The idea for a therapeutic ceramic arts retreat center crystallized upon receiving the poem Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver, from my advisor Sienna Craig upon completion of my thesis. Since then, this poem has reemerged at critical times from other friends and mentors. This poem speaks to the core of what I want to do- to give people a place to share their stories, stories that are generally silenced or go unheard, and provide a safe place to heal and reconnect with the world. The route I see to do this is through narrative and creative work, and most centrally, through clay.
Needless to say, in the fall of 2015 I found myself on the road to Asheville, NC for a two-year apprenticeship at The Village Potters. During my time there, I worked with Sarah Rolland and the other resident potters to hone my throwing, sculpture, teaching, and business skills. I was fortunate enough to also travel to the Florence Academy of Art to study figurative sculpture during the summer of 2017. While in Asheville, I also met the man who shares my dream to open a therapeutic ceramic arts retreat center (among many other dreams).
We recently moved to Missoula, MT where I continue to make crackly functional work, play with wood-fired kilns, and study anatomy through creating strange bone sculptures. I am also in the beginning phases of a narrative research project on the opioid epidemic. When not in my studio, I am adventuring and getting lost in the mountains with my partner and dogs.