Jeni Hansen Gard, a Socially-Engaged Craft artist, a will be living and working on Wesleyan's campus full time this semester. Gard's studio work is described as consideration of form, function, pattern, and color of the ceramic vessel. She uses the ceramic vessel to explore the ecological relationship with plants as food through growing, cooking, eating, and sharing meals.
Gard will have an open studio for students to observe and talk to her about her process and she plans on holding several events that will involve students in her socially engaged craft practice. "I am attempting to turn viewers into active participants by inviting them to become users, and thus extending the value of the individual object outward toward the community" stated Gard.
Using craft as a premise, her work draws on a critical understanding of human relationships and the merger between art and life. "I make functional objects intended for use in everyday life and orchestrate the parameters surrounding their use by engaging participants. This human involvement is what distinguishes my work from traditional pottery and brings it into the sphere of Socially-Engaged Craft" said Gard.
Gard received her MFA from The Ohio State University in 2015, her MA in Art Education from the University of Florida in 2012, and her BA in Art Education from Hope College in 2007. Gard was the recipient of the 2015 MJ Wood- DO GOOD Residency at Red Lodge Clay Center and recently completed a residency at the Archie Bray Foundation. She is pursuing her research interest in ethnobotany (the human plant relationship) and exploring the ceramic vessel as a form of social art practice.
Gard's work at Wesleyan will be on display in November.
For more information about Jeni Hansen Gard, visit her website at: http://jenihansengard.weebly.com/