Hannah Campbell is an artist/designer whose work is inspired by travel, nature and technology. She has lived and worked all over the world, including Hong Kong, Canada, Costa Rica and various cities in the US, and is currently based in St Paul, Minnesota. Often her work contains elements of versatility, movement and interconnectedness that manifest themselves both in sculptural forms and as functional designs, occasionally as both. She has experience working with a variety of materials and processes, including bronze casting, woodworking, laser engraving/cutting, 3D printing (plastics) and CNC routing. Her most recent pursuits have been at the intersection of art, design and technology.
See Hannah's work at the upcoming Maker Faire MSP at the MN State Fairgrounds Grandstand on June 2, 2018. This event serves as a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these "makers" to share their hobbies, experiments, and projects. More details about the show here!
What drew you to making objects? Do you remember the first thing you ever made?
I don't really remember the first thing I ever made. I remember really taking off with some of those little craft projects for kids when I was young, like those colored beads that you arrange into patterns and melt into solid pieces. The other thing I used to do were those macrame friendship bracelets. I was always hunched over, tying those into all different patterns and color combinations until everyone I knew had one whether they wanted them or not. I think it might have been something to keep my hands busy to start with, since I was often fidgeting or biting my nails.
Is functionality a big part of your inspiration/vision to make the objects you do?
Yes, lately it has been. I really like the idea of having people touching and interacting with my work, and I found functionality encourages that. Making things that are fun also encourages interaction and it’s fun for me to make them too!
Have you always been creative? What channels have you explored in your creative journey?
I think so. I took some extra-curricular drawing classes when I was young, but as I got into high school and after, I found I preferred three-dimensional projects. I worked on a lot of projects during college that allowed me to explore different materials and scale in sculpture. At the same time, I had been working at the theatre department building sets, which got me more interested in practical or functional work and I eventually pursued furniture design. There was also a period of time when I was volunteering at a nature conversation and didn't really have access to a woodshop but was surrounded by all kinds of wildlife so I tried my hand at nature photography too.
You make a lot of different kinds of things. Why? Would you say it comes from boredom or a desire to experiment or simply your nature to dabble or something else altogether? Do the different things you make inform the others in any way?
I've always been very eager to learn new things, one of those jack-of-all-trades deals. There are just so many interesting materials and techniques out there, I want to try them all! I think they do inform each other, though perhaps not in ways that are very obvious, even to me. I imagine I'll always be a bit of a dabbler, but hopefully I'll find something that really takes off eventually. That said, I've been really enjoying the ride and learning all these new things so I don't mind experimenting a bit longer.
In terms of living and making in Minnesota, do you feel connected to this place? Do you have a solid creative community here?
Minnesota is where I came to college and where I was first able to use actual woodshop tools and learn how to design more complex objects. I grew up in Hong Kong, which is very densely populated and no one really has space for their own woodshop or artist studios, at least not very affordably, so the space to create has been great. I’ve also gotten to know a lot of creative in the area and that's been really helpful as well.
Do you feel like making and creating through your business allows you to contribute to something larger than yourself?
I suppose so? I like making things that feel satisfying somehow, whether it’s a toy that feels good when you solve the puzzle or if its a functional object that makes life a little easier.