Her interest in ceramics began very early in life and has continued professionally for the past forty years. She opened her first studio in 1972 in Alexandria, Virginia.
As a young art student, she imagined what pot-making and art must be like in “Africa” and then pursued that vision throughout undergraduate school. While teaching crafts in a Philadelphia public school, she discovered a film that demonstrated some African women hand-building a huge pot.
She finally realized her dream in 1977, when she was selected to represent the United States and exhibit her ceramic work at FESTAC in Lagos, Nigeria. While there, she visited the village of Ipetumodu, where the technique she learned from that film years earlier, was being used by the women of this pottery village. Owens-Hart returned to that village the following summer to apprentice with the women. She eventually took a job with the federal government of Nigeria teaching ceramics at a nearby university to enable her to continue apprenticing traditional pottery, and was eventually accepted as part of their pottery culture.
African Crafts Travel
Owens-Hart’s Ghana experiences began over forty-seven years ago when one African American family and one Ghanaian family adopted one another. When she comes to Ghana she lives with this family of traditional Ewe Kente weavers. It is from this humble beginning that African Crafts Travel eventually developed. Since 1980 she has been considered a steward for traditional pot makers and their work from the continent. She has given workshops on their history and building techniques throughout venues in the United States, Nigeria and England.
Now, Owens-Hart is offering this opportunity to learn and experience the traditional crafts first hand. She believes that by encouraging other Americans to travel to Ghana and experience first-hand this ancient technique, they will understand its historical place and significance in world ceramics. By taking part in learning how to create these traditional objects, and living as part of the community, Owens-Hart believes you will not only be taking away a unique experience, you will grow in understanding that these are not distant techniques found only in academic texts and films, but a living and vibrant part of the present.
The average learning excursion is a little over a two week stay in Denu, Ghana. We will be housed in a home just outside the town. While in Ghana, students will learn about traditional methods for making ceramic pots or hand-woven Kente cloth. Regular visits to the town and the surrounding area are also made, allowing you to restock on supplies and to learn and enjoy the culture and lifestyles of Denu and other areas. By the time you return home, we hope you will have incredible and uplifting memories, spiritual and tangible.