Barbara Hanselman Designs

Barbara Hanselman Designs

5.0 (6)
1 employee
24 years in business

About this pro

I began clay by wanting to build with it so I could eat off its river rock surface and experience savory soups from the emptiness of the bowl;  I longed to fondle each cup with my lips and savor the sensuousness of tea and clay as they mingle on the edge. I then needed to hear the clay as it moves to and fro within itself so I made rattles which memorialize beginnings.  Now I strive for a total “Clay Shibumi” where I am the adaptable turtle impressed in the clay’s surface; where I know the power of each individual hand-formed clay object felt by my skin.  I want to be what the clay is saying as I wear it, hold it, caress it and use it, so I struggle to compose with the language of clay. Whether the clay is a cup, bowl, rattle or tray, Contemporary Ceramic Clay artifacts have the power to be manifestations of peace, harmony and partnership in a time when dominance & strife seems the norm.  By the way, did you know that clay beads worn against the skin absorb our very essence becoming an extension of who we are and what we wish to become; now how cool is that!

My ongoing exploration of engobes & terra sigillata has helped me discover new ways to generate colorful patterns, textures and finishes on all sorts of clay bodies.  Whether shaping simple clay beads or fine-tuning a transfer-to-surface process, I enthusiastically explore ALL my clay options, asking myself ‘what if’ every time I’m confronted with clay and its possibilities.  But once techniques are mastered it is time to really listen…

CLAY is my voice in this wilderness and I love where it takes me. 

Most potters working in stoneware produce cups, bowls, pitchers or vases with a certain similarity. Some mimic classic shapes while others masterfully produce stylized forms. A few make sculptural interpretations of functional pieces assembled in a style uniquely their own. I am one such person. My pots, constructed from slabs or using a pinch-strip method I developed, bear the look of burnished metal, tooled leather or whimsical china. My techniques make building featherweight forms of many shapes and sizes a possibility. In addition, I address how what I am going to make will look before asking the question, what's it going to be - an approach quite out of the norm for most potters. My reasoning is quite simple - "Fashion designers don't envision clothing designs in drab muslin - they employ rich silk textures, tartans and tapestries when fashioning their creations. Why not do the same as a hand builder of clay? Why not let colorfully created engobe plaids or knobby textured clay surfaces have a say in what I end up making?" My signature pieces evolve from the stoneware 'fabrics' I create out of thinly rolled slabs enhanced with patterns, texture and color. It is my unorthodox methodologies coupled with classic hand building techniques - pinching, coiling, extruding - that attract students to my classes. Students who are seldom disappointed with the way their pots look when they retrieve them from the glaze firing because the way they will end up looking is addressed from their inception!

Read more about this pro


Wallingford, PA 19086
Email verified
Phone verified

6 Reviews


  • Linda Miller

    Barbara is a detailed and prepared instructor. She is engaging and knowledgeable in many creative and technical fields and processes. I am always amazed and engaged on many levels. She wil give you tools to create in you one voice you. If you have a interest in a class Barbara is teaching, take it. I would highly recommend all of her lessons

  • Robin Taylor

    They are absolutely beautiful. Barbara really knows what she is doing. She shares her tips and ideas as well as her designs. She makes it look so easy to be creative. Look at her work on her website and Etsy. Her work is absolutely the best. I have taken pottery classes since high school and well beyond. Her classes are the best. She demos her pieces and answers any and all questions. Besides being so much fun I also learn something EVERY SINGLE TIME!! Have never had an instructor as talented and willing to share like Barbara HANSELMAN!!!

  • Brad Hagmayer

    Barbara can teach the novice and experienced ceramicist alike. She can do group demonstrations very well And also serve the needs of each unique students needs. Her knowledge of clay exceeds that of many teachers. You complete your time with her and come away with more knowledge and insight as well as some amazing pieces individual to yourself.

  • Barbara Lee

    Innovative is what she is! She demonstrates different techniques while making ceramic pieces whether functional or decorative (something for everyone ). Yet you always feel free enough to work on your own project knowing that she'll give her assistance when needed. Her suggestions are never what you would think of doing. You're free to be yourself while using the techniques that she has demonstrated.

Show all reviews


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

When discovering clay, I believe each student should be allowed to work at their own pace. I try to do class demos often so anyone new to clay can see what is possible.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I started my adventure in clay many years ago and am recognized for my hand built featherweight pots and terra sigillata enhanced ceramic clay beads. My clay work has been acknowledged with awards at Strictly Functional Pottery Nationals and the Pennsylvania Guild Exhibitions in Lancaster, Pa and at several Philadelphia area art center shows.  Lark Books chose two of my bowls to appear in their 2003 publication, "500 Bowls" and selected one of my transfer printed bowls to appear in their 2006 publication, “Image Transfer on Clay.” My Clay to Wear Necklaces & Bracelets have placed first in Jewelry categories at several area showings and my eight-page tutorial on “Making the Double Heart Clay & Copper Bracelet,” was published in the August 2012 Bead Trends Magazine. I offer classes and workshops on Clay Hand Building Techniques, Clay Rattles and Making Beads in Clay and my clay objects ‘to both wear and share’ are available for purchase online as well as through select galleries. 

Lessons offered