Jeni Hansen Gard is the daughter of a nurse and bed and breakfast owner. Her childhood was spent cleaning, making beds, and playing on the shore of Lake Michigan. She is now considered a professional bed-maker but has always much preferred to spend her days outside doing cartwheels in the sand. Jeni studied art education from 2003-2007 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education with an emphasis in ceramics at Hope College, in Holland, Michigan. She then went on to study ceramics for a year at Grand Valley State University in 2008 before teaching high school art for two years. In 2012, Jeni graduated from the University of Florida with a Master of Arts in Art Education with an emphasis in ceramics. She is currently a candidate in the Master of Fine Arts Ceramics program at Ohio State University, where she is pursuing her research interest in ethnobotany and exploring the ceramic vessel as a form of social art practice. Jeni is married to artist Forrest Sincoff Gard who recently completed his MFA degree at Louisiana State University. He is currently the assistant editor for Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated.
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.