Red Lodge Clay Center Short-Term Resident (MJ Do Good) 2015
Jeni Hansen Gard grew up in a small bed and breakfast in Grand Haven, Michigan. She has an integrative art practice that focuses on using the wood, textiles, and the ceramic vessel as a catalyst for bringing people together, often asking participants to reconsider their relationship to food and each other. Using this combination of craft and engagement as an avenue to pursue her research interest in ethnobotany (the human plant relationship), she is working to challenge our current food system and instead help build an equitable and sustainable future. Her community-focused approach to ceramics and education led her to become a founding member of the Socially Engaged Craft Collective, a craft and social practice organization. She received her MFA from Ohio State University and MA in Art Education from the University of Florida. Jeni was the recipient of the MJ Wood DO GOOD residency at Red Lodge Clay Center and recently completed residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation, Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center in Skælskør, Denmark, Denison University, and Wesleyan College. Currently, she lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden where she teaches woodcraft and textiles.
I began my work as a vessel maker and now define myself as an experience maker with vessel in hand. I see myself as a facilitator working in the space between people and the food they consume.
I make functional objects intended for use in everyday life. I design the vessels to exist as transmitters and later artifacts. I orchestrate the parameters surrounding their use through civic projects focused on several aspects of growing, cooking, eating and sharing food.
My work focuses on the moment of human interaction, the touch, and the intimate connection. I am interested in the interrelationship that forms between people, through the vessel in the presence of food consumed.