Students in field

Six-Person Exhibit “What Will We Inhabit If Not Our Bodies” on Display at Gallery

January 19, 2021

The Finlandia University Gallery will present a six-person exhibit titled What We Will Inhabit if Not Our Bodies at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC), Hancock from January 8 to February 12, 2021.  Appointments for a private viewing of the exhibit can be made with Gallery Director Carrie Flaspohler at (906) 487-7500 or by email at gallery@finlandia.edu

A Zoom reception with the artists will take place on January 28th at 7pm. The Zoom link is available here.

Penland School of Craft, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, is an international center for craft education offering workshops, residencies and gallery exhibits.  Co-curators and exhibitors Scott Vander Veen (current Core Fellow at Penland) and Kenyon Hansen (former Instructor) have organized the exhibit, What We Will Inhabit if Not Our Bodies, an exhibit of six artists who have been affiliated with the Penland School of Craft past and present.

Along with Vander Veen and Hansen, Tanya Crane (former Instructor), Maggie Jaszczak (former Resident Artist), Ellie Richards (current Resident Artist), and Kento Saisho (former Core Fellow) will also have work in the exhibit.  In this year of enormous disruptions to our daily lives, these six artists exemplify the important role creatives play in interpreting, stretching and embodying the world around us.  Each artist brings the common language of craft to translate ideas to physical form, one of arts most transformative powers.

The Finlandia University Gallery is located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock.  Gallery viewing is by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 or email gallery@finlandia.edu to arrange a private viewing.

Kenyon Hansen

Hansen is a full-time studio potter and educator in the Keweenaw Peninsula. He has been a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation and Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts.  In 2013 he was selected as an Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly. Kenyon has taught at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Crafts, Penland School of Crafts, and Greenwich House Pottery in New York City. He has led workshops at numerous universities and art centers throughout the country.  His pottery has been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in homes all over the world. Solo shows include Jane Hartsook Gallery, Schaller Gallery, Morean Center for Clay, Red Lodge Clay Center & CLAY AKAR.

“The insatiable need to work with my hands is the driving force of my craft,” said Hansen. “The pulse of my practice lies in the rhythm of making and, through repetition, the work evolves, changing slowly in response to each firing cycle. Tactile and visual consideration and slowing down are key to this process. These elements carry equal weight and are central in my working process leading up to the finished pieces.

“I focus on utilitarian objects that enrich the quotidian experience. My work is made of soda fired porcelain and stoneware clays.  Ideas are generated and inspired by the everyday experience, patch work quilts, structure and patterns found in nature. Currently I am exploring the dichotomy of vessel structure and the fluidity of glaze. Producing textured surfaces and raised lines allows a place for glaze to pool and collect and in return enriches the surface and building of depth. My hope is that the pots I make will contribute to the field of craft and elevate the everyday experience.”

Scott Vander Veen 


Vander Veen is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in North Carolina as a Core Fellow at the Penland School of Craft. His approach to art-making is omnivorous in its methods and utilizes materials such as: paper, crayons, clay, latex, canvas, twist-ties, glue, grommets, rubber drain plugs, misappropriated text, paint, zippers, found photographs, and silver.

Vander Veen’s studio practice is a multimedia investigation of emergence and interiority. Ontologically oriented, his work seeks openings in the ineffability of subjectivity. He aims to trace essential outlines of experience: the slipperiness of meaning, the insufficiencies of language, the double consciousness of any expression and its reception.

“The relationships between marks, shapes, and spaces in my work take on the organizational tasks inherent to any alphabet and address the translational experience of seeing, speaking and being,” said Vander Veen. “My practice is based on the belief that art is a means of communication, and that communication is almost always a nearly insurmountable task; decisive, comic, confrontational, or coy in turns, my work takes up this task.”

Tanya Crane

Crane received her MFA in Metalsmithing + Jewelry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015, and her BFA in Metal from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Currently, Crane is a Professor of the Practice in Metals at the School Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts. She is the 2018 SNAG Emerging Artist selected to present at SOFA Chicago, the 2017 recipient of the Society of Arts and Crafts Artist Award, a Haystack Mountain School Artist Residency 2017 recipient, and a participant in the Smitten Forum Metalsmithing Residency at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico 2018. She exhibited her work in a solo exhibition, Tributaries: Polarity, Exposing the Tensity, at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.

Tanya Crane’s artwork dwells within a liminal existence between prejudice and privilege. Reared in a white middle class suburb of Los Angeles, Crane’s experience with blackness was limited to visiting her father in South Central Los Angeles. Her dual existence has deeply informed her practice and has led to four distinct bodies of work, A Gathering of InstanceAfrican and AmericanSeeing Through, and Polarity, Exposing the Tensity.




Maggie Jaszczak

Jaszczak is a potter and mixed media artist from Ontario, Canada. After completing her undergraduate studies at Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC and Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary, AB she received her MFA in Ceramics from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in 2013.

She has taught classes and workshops in Canada and the United States and has participated in ceramic residency programs at Penland School of Craft in Penland, NC, Yingge Ceramics Museum in New Taipei City, Taiwan, the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT, Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, FL, Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, CO, and Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat, AB.

Ellie Richards

Richards looks to the tradition of both woodworking and the readymade to create eclectic assemblage, installation, and objects exploring intersections of labor and leisure. She has traveled extensively to investigate the role play and improvisation have on the artistic process—notably to Ghana, where she apprenticed in a workshop on building hollow forms in wood. Her work, both furniture and sculpture, has been included in exhibitions at the Mint Museum; Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design; SOFA Chicago; and the Society of

Contemporary Craft. This year Richards was awarded Windgate residencies at the Center for Art in Wood, and in the wood/furniture design programs at San Diego State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Work and play are generally perceived as opposites, my position as an artist is to showcase the relationship as congruous,” said Richards.  “A similar mental state can be assumed when both activities occur and, at times, I have found them to be inseparable in my own art practice. Given this synchronicity, I interweave woodworking, painterly surfaces, and manipulated found objects to present the relationship in the form of bespoke functional objects, sculpture, and installation.”

“Making work within the fields of sculpture and furniture has expanded my perspective on how a person’s interaction with both natural and built spaces can be a potent indicator of societal and cultural identities,” continues Richards. “Craft can be a powerful vehicle for sharing culture and accessing otherwise tacit values. Absorbing these characteristics allows sculptural objects to extend a common language that paves the way for a shared experience. I believe shared experiences lead to strong connections and greater empathy among us. With this in mind, I hope to activate inquiry in the individual that leads to a more meaningful relationship with their environment and its extensions.”

Kento Saisho

Saisho is an artist born and raised in Salinas, California. He graduated with a BFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2016, and was a Windgate Fellowship recipient from the Center for Craft Creativity and Design (CCCD). He recently finished the Core Fellowship at the Penland School of Craft and his studio is currently based in Los Angeles, CA. Working primarily in steel, he makes sculpture and objects adjacent to function.

“I make contemporary artifacts that operate in the gray areas between sculpture, design object, and modern relic,” said Saisho. “The small sculptures included in this show are made of fabricated and painted steel and are part of a longer series of 50 sculptures started during quarantine.”


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