I graduated from Scio Central School in 2008 and received the Belva A. Waite scholarship. I used this scholarship to study art at SUNY New Paltz. After completing my foundations courses in the art department, I declared my concentration in ceramics and spent the next couple of years working toward my thesis. I was able to take courses in many different mediums while focusing on developing my technical skills in clay. During this time, I was also awarded the Marion Green Scholarship. In December 2011, I completed my thesis, which culminates in a group exhibition at the college’s museum, and graduated with honors from New Paltz with a BFA in ceramics.
After graduating, I was hired by one of my professors as a large-scale production assistant. She had received a commission to make over 600 large sculptural tiles to be installed in Singapore and needed extra hands to complete the project. My time spent working with my professor was very helpful, as I was able to see how a successful artist manages her studio practice on a daily basis.
In the fall of 2012, I was accepted to an Artist-in-Residence program in Rochester, NY at Genesee Pottery, which is part of the Genesee Center for Arts and Education. As a resident, I am given a studio space in exchange for a designated amount of work per week. I spend most of my time in my studio making work for various shows and experimenting with new processes. I also teach classes, assist with installing shows at the Firehouse Gallery, and play a role in the daily running of the studio by loading and firing kilns, making clay and glazes, and keeping the space clean and organized. The residency position is usually a one-year position, but I enjoyed my time here so much that I was able to renew it for a second year. It has provided me with the time, space, facilities, and support to advance my work in an independent, yet supportive setting.
The aspect that I enjoy most about Genesee Pottery is the fact that it is a large community studio, so I am surrounded by lots of passionate artists everyday. All levels of makers are welcome, which allows for a dynamic learning environment for all involved. In addition to the ceramics studio, there is also a photography studio and a printing and book arts studio. I have had the opportunity to work in these mediums as well and have incorporated them into my most recent work. (If you are interested in seeing my work, please check out my website at www.hannahthompsett.com)
I just completed my second solo show in the Firehouse Gallery, which signifies the near end of my time here. I have decided that the next step for me is graduate school, to receive my MFA. After a long process of applying, waiting, and decision making, I have decided to attend Alfred University. I am excited to move back to the area for a while, and see what graduate school has in store for me!
I am grateful to the Allegany County Area Foundation for providing me with funding to attend college. My degree helped pave the way for my future and I am pursuing the career of my dreams.