Meet the Maker- Hannah Lenhart

For about a year or so now I’ve had this deep desire to be able to surround myself with creative people who live and work in my community. I’ve wanted to have long conversations with them about who they are and what drives their need to create. I find that, for me, being around other creatives, even those artists in a different medium than myself, is inspiring and fuels my fire to create my own art.

My longing to meet and photograph people this way came after seeing some posts on Instagram by Sarah Mason for a project in which she titled Tea For Two. The idea behind the project was to meet up with friends, have a cup of tea, catch up, and take a few photos. I loved the idea of using this idea to meet and talk to local creatives, give me a chance to work on a personal project, and help our community get to know the faces behind some of our best small creative businesses.

When Hoot and Howl opened up and I saw the amount of creative talent spilling from that building, I started making a list of people I wanted to see work and get to know them in their own environment. Hannah of Hannah’s Clay Creations was one of the first on that growing list of people.

After a year of waiting and wishing (and getting up the nerve to message her on Instagram hoping she wouldn’t think I was weird for asking) I finally got to meet her today!

My hope for this project is that our community will have the chance to get to know more artisans who live and work in our community- those like Hannah who were born and raised right here in West Virginia, who make our world a more beautiful place. When you shop from a local, small, creative business you’re supporting a person, like Hannah, who has their hands on every step of the creative process. You’re supporting someone who spends hours, days, weeks creating something with YOU in mind.

I know from talking to Hannah that it takes approximately 6 weeks to create one of her pieces from start to finish. I know that she does everything from mixing and coloring her clay to sculpting and painting it. She wants to help make “life’s little rituals a little more special,” and I could see and hear how much she truly cares about each of her customers. She really lives and breathes this statement. She spends hours a day in her studio working to create pieces that will give you “a moment of pause and act as a reminder to take a breather.”

I took my first ceramics class my freshman year in college just because I thought it looked fun. Within two weeks, I knew I found “my thing”. The following year I picked up a business major because I knew I wanted to do art full time and I wanted to learn all I could. I became obsessed with learning everything in college and trying everything, which I think helped me discover my voice.

My family was always super supportive of me pursuing a creative life because they saw my passion for it early on. I’m always so thankful for them. 

She’s a small town girl with a heart for adventure. She loves her hometown just as much as she loves exploring other places around our state. We talked about how her work is sold all around West Virginia and she loves to take day trips to drop off new pieces.

I love going to small towns and exploring. Thomas W.V. is one of my favorite places to visit because it has a wonderful coffee shop and eateries, galleries, and shops. 

I would love to have a public studio so I can interact with the public more by hosting classes and selling work face to face. Also like the idea of having studio space other creatives could work in. I was so lucky to have such supportive parents who let me convert their basement into a studio. I’d like to provide a space for creatives who need a place to work. 

Local friends, are there any creative entrepreneurs you’d love to see behind the scenes? I would love to keep this going!