Ghada Henagan
Clay

Baton Rouge, LA

I grew up in a small village in Lebanon, where my family and neighbors often had to make the things they needed themselves. So, naturally, I was drawn to handcrafting from an early age. When I wasn’t making puppets, sewing clothes for my doll, and building miniature furniture items to play with, I would teach myself to draw by copying the drawings of my older sister Lina. I was first introduced to clay during my art studies in college, but it wasn’t until I started working at the Antonine Sisters’ Workshop for Sacred Art in 2000 that I had a chance to really get acquainted with this material. I began crafting ceramic objects with religious themes and imagery, all the while developing my skills and learning as much as I could about working with clay. Then in 2006 I moved to Louisiana and, before long, I decided to become a full-time ceramic artist with the precious support of my husband. I set up a small studio in our dining room where I have been creating and experimenting with pottery ever since.

What I love about working with clay is its endless possibilities that keep me enthusiastic and drive me to constantly broaden my horizons. I am forever fascinated by how a humble ball of clay can be transmuted into a beautiful and functional object that organically integrates our daily lives. I generally favor minimalistic forms and I infuse my pots with both a physical personality and a mood, giving them different textures, drawings, and colors. I’ve been privileged to work with the late Lebanese artist Samir Müller who taught me to see clay as a canvas. I find a lot of the inspiration for my work in natural elements that evoke nostalgia in me. My work’s narrative helps me connect the person I am today with the child I once was and find links between Louisiana and my native Lebanon.

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