Ashraf Hanna is an Egyptian born British artist, currently resident and working from his studio in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.
Ashraf’s first interaction with pottery forms came when he observed still life compositions at El Mina College of Fine Art in Egypt. Hours spent in the drawing studios closely observing shapes lines and spaces between various objects lead to developing an awareness of and an interest in group dynamics.
This interest was reawakened when Ashraf met his future wife, sculptor Sue Hanna, and she introduced him to ‘making’ with clay. After several years of successfully creating raku and smoke-fired work, Ashraf embarked on a MA course in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art in London which allowed him time to develop new ideas.
Ashraf’s subsequent body of work consisted of a series of hand-built forms, creating groups and individual vessels, with each object informing the next. The profiles, lines and spaces emerging from the process of development, their ultimate placement in relation to one another, and the juxtaposition of sharp lines and softer curves. These forms have become his major interest and serve to emphasize the sculptural aspects of his work. His work explores groups, multiples and repetition; simple forms and a limited colour palette in order to explore form through lines, light and shades.
Starting each work from a simple pinch pot, Ashraf then builds the form using soft slabs of clay. When it is leather hard, the form is refined using metal kidneys and then biscuit fired. A process of further refining takes place at this stage and then the final surface treatment is applied. A series of ultra-refined coloured clay slips (terrra sigillata) are sprayed on the form and re-fired and re-applied numerous times to create depth and highlight the surface texture.
In 2018, two of Ashraf’s Undulating Vessels were acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum at Collect. In September 2018, Ashraf’s work was selected by the Michelangelo Foundation for Homo Faber in Venice. The work was included in the Best of Europe exhibit where hundreds of exceptional works were showcased created by some 150 artist-artisans from all over Europe. In 2019, two of Ashraf’s Undulating Vessels were acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum for their permanent collection at Collect.