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About Hannah Rowan

Notions of the vessel, tactility, material transformation and permeability flow through Hannah Rowan’s Mater Collects series, which includes works on paper and hand-built ceramics. The series of works are inspired by vessels and aquatic life forms of bivalve molluscs and octopus tentacles. Hannah Rowan's work explores the slippery complexities of water that draws together a liquid relationship between the human body and geological and ecological systems. She uses a range of media including sculpture, installation, performance, video and sound to investigate the ephemerality and flux of materials that transmute into other forms. She is interested in exploring notions of bodies of water, vessels, animacy of matter and the temporal transformation of materials. She often works with water to catalyse transformation and visualize a continual state of becoming. Her work is informed by a Hydrofeminst perspective to understand all bodies of water as interconnected, aquatic entities weaving throughout her work suggest an intimacy and relationality across bodies of water.



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Mater Collects is an extension of Mater, a comissioning body and research platform exploring materials. Hannah Rowan was comissioned to write a text Mater in 2022. View it here.

A percentage of all Mater Collects sales will go towards the commissioning of exclusive and groundbreaking new texts for Mater. 

Hannah Rowan, Black Earthenware Oyster Shells (gloss)

  • Ocean Held (Oyster)

    Black Earthenware, glaze, 2022. Approximate dimensions 1.5 x 7 x 4.5cm
    (5 Available in gloss, variations in shell)

    Each shell is individually cast in a process of hand pressing black earthenware clay into molds cast from oyster shells. The oyster shells come in a choice of either a gloss glaze or matt finish, images are indicative of different finishes but expect variation as each shell is unique.


    These shells materially extended my research around marine ecosystems and the intertidal zone into small sculptures of ceramic shells, to explore notions of time and memory in water and to evoke the fragility yet resilience of aquatic entities. Like ice cores, oyster shells hold atmospheric memories carried through water, they encode time and events in calcite layers, their shells embody the aquatic conditions upon which they inhabit, and they tell us stories about the health of our waters. They fit into the palm of our hand yet bear witness to planetary scale events from human-induced climate change, pollution and weather events like hurricanes and droughts.


    What might oysters teach us about caring for the health of our waters? Oysters improve water quality, increase marine biodiversity, and protect shorelines from flood surges. Oysters play an important role removing pollutants from the sea, preventing erosion, and helping sea life flourish. 

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