Before Barbara found clay, she ate, slept and breathed interior and architectural design, and spent all of her time engrossed in the needs of others. She had no life without her client list. Then in 1994 while on vacation, she attended a workshop given by Jeanne Haskell at The Vermont Clay Studio in Montpelier, Vermont. At the time, Barbara didn’t know the difference between wet clay and the mud in her driveway, but once she started poking and stretching and feeling the hunk of clay she was allotted, she knew she had to learn more. Upon returning home to New Jersey, Barbara immediately signed up for classes at Perkins Center for the Arts in Moorestown, New Jersey and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She took workshops offered by clay artists whose work she came to admire through area galleries and national publications. She was being consumed by all things CLAY. The more she experienced, the more she realized there was to experience, and the more she needed to ‘do clay.’
From 1998 till 2006, she augmented her clay career with jobs which promoted the arts and artists in South Jersey by working at the Ritz Performing Arts Theatre and the Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission. In 2009, she participated in the “Artists in Healthcare” training program accredited through Temple University which led to her offering Ceramic Clay Workshops at area senior centers. Barbara’s earlier positions as owner of her own Interior Design business and co-owner of a small greeting card company, Epee Products, gave her the opportunity to enlarge upon the art educational experiences gleaned at Pratt Institute in New York.
Barbara developed an unparalleled ability to network as well as produce well designed promotional materials for numerous venues. She fine-tuned her skills for generating eye-catching displays to showcase her own as well as the work of others. Finally, as a self proclaimed Claysmith, Barbara found a symbiotic tie to clay and the capacity to share her love of hands-on creating with anyone curious enough to want to learn. She enjoys her heartfelt affiliation with the PA Guild Craft Center in Lancaster operated by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen where she can teach as well as offer her clay work for sale. Her latest business venture is an Etsy Shop started in 2010. In it, she not only offers her handmade Clay Components, Healing Rattles & Clay Wearables for sale but a line of flexible ceramic clay stamping mats she designs called I N T A G L I O. (She began drawing these mats in response to her clay students’ inability to find large enough Paisley and other overall patterns to adorn their clay work.)
Barbara presently teaches “Hand Building with Clay” to adults at several Pennsylvania Art Centers – The Community Arts Center in Wallingford, Wayne Art Center in Wayne and The Cheltenham Center for the Arts in Cheltenham. She gives workshops on “Making Beads in Clay” at local Bead Societies, Guilds & Colleges. As a teaching artist, Barbara Hanselman finds it exhilarating to be part of the artistic awakening of an individual, young or old. As she recently stated, “Nothing compares to a delighted ceramic student who has just had a total clay epiphany…”