This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Embracing The Mistakes With Ceramicist Hana Vasak

Studio Visit

‘If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try and try again!’ goes the age-old idiom… usually offered up by a well-meaning parent. For Melbourne-based ceramicist, Hana Vasak of of Dáša Ceramics, persistence in honing her craft has certainly paid off!

We visit the Czech-born, Australian-raised ceramicist in her sunny Northcote studio, to chat about learning from mistakes, and knowing when to take the next step.

19th February, 2019

Hana Vasak of Dáša Ceramics in her sunny Northcote home studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Works in progress for an upcoming show in Sydney. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Hana committed to focusing more on her practice about a year ago. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Hana demonstrating an ancient burnishing technique, using a smooth rock to gently polish the clay surface to expose the subtle tones and soft textures. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Hana first builds the shape, then carves out the interior of her vessels. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Hana’s recent inspiration came from travels in Spain and Greece last year. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Hana begins the process by documenting her desired final outcome first. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Studio details. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Tools for crafting her vessels. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 19th February 2019

‘The creative path can be quite daunting sometimes.’ – Hana Vasak.

After finishing up a degree in Fine Art at RMIT, where she focussed on video and sculptural installation, Hana Vasak of Dáša Ceramics almost immediately turned her attention to clay.

Fascinated by working with porcelain, Hana enrolled in a beginner’s wheel-throwing course after university. ‘I learned very early on that the wheel was definitely not for me!’, she admits. Unperturbed, Hana moved on to try hand-building, blending and adapting different techniques to find her sweet spot as an artist and develop a self-guided practice.

Making wobbly, organic vessels under the label Dáša Ceramics, a sell-out show at Saint Cloche gallery in Sydney, and inclusion in a group exhibition at Modern Times alongside long-admired ceramicists gave Hana the courage she needed to move forward. ‘The creative path can be quite daunting sometimes’, she admits, ‘I feel very blessed to be able to do what fulfills me most’.

Hana possesses a rare resilience that allows her to transform perceived ‘mistakes’ into growth and success. After a disappointing moment a few years ago, when a freshly fired batch of new works were all discovered with hairline fractures, Hana was able to re-frame this setback. ‘I couldn’t bear to part with them’, Hana recalls of the broken vessels. She later took a small, cracked vase along with her on a trip to Japan, where she learned about the tradition and technique of Kintsugi, ‘incorporating this technique ever since’ into many of her pieces. It’s not just the aesthetic style of the technique that resonated with Hana, she was also drawn to its philosophy of ‘embracing and accentuating an object’s imperfection, allowing these to be seen as the piece’s story’.

Working out of her sunny studio in Northcote ‘overlooking a small garden shaded by a canopy of a gum and feijoa tree’ (umm okay that sounds quite nice), Hana’s process for creating her sculptural vessels starts with ‘lots of preliminary drawings’, after which she takes to a solid block of clay with her hands. After she’s happy with the shape, she carves out the interior, allowing the outside of her pieces to appear smooth, whilst the inside bares the maker’s hand and marks.

Since embarking upon her practice, Hana has thrived amongst Melbourne’s supportive creative communities, though she’s cautious of doing too much, too fast. ‘I’ve learned to slow down, to be more realistic of the time I have and what I am actually able to achieve,’ she shares, ‘I’ve been mindful of not over-committing and embracing working at a slower pace’. Sage advice for us all!

You can see Hana’s work in person at her local and international stockists, and in an upcoming exhibition. Mud House will take place in Sydney in mid-May, featuring Hana’s works alongside Kathryn Dolby, curated by Amber Creswell Bell.

This Week

Studio Visit

Experimental Designer Jessie French Is Shaping A Seaweed-Centric Future

The Melbourne artist shares her process of creating seaweed-based bioplastics, the beautiful resin-like homewares she makes from it + what t...

Food

Julia's Autumnal Weeknight Rocket and Hazelnut Pesto Linguine

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's linguine with a herby rocket and hazelnut pesto is a riff on the classic weeknight family meal by adding earthy,
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  15 hours ago

Gardens

A Slice Of Primeval Paradise In Bronte

Situated on a steep site in a sometimes blustery coastal location, the planting palette for this stunning garden in Sydney is both soft, and...

Architecture

A Surprise Garden Brings This 'Pop-Up' Home To Life

Figr creates a unique language between architectural and landscaped spaces to truly maximise this small footprint home for a family of three...

Architecture

A Timeless New Home In Ballarat, With Lake Views + Mid-Century Vibes

With American ‘Brady Bunch’ house vibes (!) this new home in Ballarat by Kennedy Nolan channels mid century design, with a sleek, contem...

Stays

Northern NSW’s Newest Holiday House, Made From Recycled Materials

Book your stay at Rockhaven at Booyong – a new holiday house made from recycled materials located 40 minutes from Byron Bay.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Chrissy Lafian, Founder And Creative Director Of Suku

With teams in both Melbourne and Bali, Chrissy lets us in on how she runs the lifestyle brand she's built from scratch!

Architecture

This Clever + Compact Bondi Home Feels Like A Never-Ending Holiday!

Fox Johnston architects managed to expand the footprint of this small and narrow Sydney site to create a generous, private haven!

News

Shop The Megan Park Archive Of More Than 10,000 Pieces!

Legendary fashion designer Megan Park has kept one of every piece she has designed over the last 22 years – and now, she’s opening h...

News

An Extensive Art And Design Festival Taking Over Brisbane!

Brisbane Art Design (BAD) is a public art program bringing the Sunshine State’s exemplary creative scene to the fore throughout the month
Sponsored

On The Market

A Corner Store Turned Architectural Home Hits The Market In Brunswick

An 1883 shopfront turned architectural home with a pool and sauna is for sale in Brunswick!

Interiors

How To Nail The Bathroom Basics, According To Reece

A crash course in very excellent bathroom design, courtesy of bathrooms + kitchens merchandising leader at Reece Bathrooms, Daniella Santill...
Sasha Gattermayr
  7 hours ago

Interiors

A Crash Course In Renovating Your Own Home From Top To Bottom, With BuildHer Collective

Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon of BuildHer Collective bring us a new book containing all the info you need to embark on building or ren...
Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon

News

The Magic And Art Of Beekeeping With Honey Fingers

Mud Australia is hosting an exhibition and in conversation event with legendary urban beekeepers Honey Fingers, moderated by artist Stanisla...
Sally Tabart

Homes

A Magical Alistair Knox-Designed Rental In Eltham!

The seriously dreamy 1970s rental home of Pop and Scott trade manager Lucienne Van Sebille, and her partner Sebastian.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Creative People

7 Australian Ceramicists You Should Know!

Irina Rybakov of Pépite shares some of her favourite local ceramicists!
Irina Rybakov

Studio Visit

A New Collection From One Of Melbourne's Most Established Ceramicists

Brunswick-based potter Sophie Moran’s 'Quarry Collection' is a revelation, worthy of quiet consideration.
Elle Murrell

Craft

Ella Bendrups

A studio visit with the young Melbourne-based ceramicist.
Elle Murrell

This Week

Stays

Northern NSW’s Newest Holiday House, Made From Recycled Materials

Book your stay at Rockhaven at Booyong – a new holiday house made from recycled materials located 40 minutes from Byron Bay.

On The Market

A Corner Store Turned Architectural Home Hits The Market In Brunswick

An 1883 shopfront turned architectural home with a pool and sauna is for sale in Brunswick!

Architecture

A Surprise Garden Brings This 'Pop-Up' Home To Life

Figr creates a unique language between architectural and landscaped spaces to truly maximise this small footprint home for a family of three...

Studio Visit

Experimental Designer Jessie French Is Shaping A Seaweed-Centric Future

The Melbourne artist shares her process of creating seaweed-based bioplastics, the beautiful resin-like homewares she makes from it + what t...

News

An Extensive Art And Design Festival Taking Over Brisbane!

Brisbane Art Design (BAD) is a public art program bringing the Sunshine State’s exemplary creative scene to the fore throughout the month
Sponsored

Gardens

A Slice Of Primeval Paradise In Bronte

Situated on a steep site in a sometimes blustery coastal location, the planting palette for this stunning garden in Sydney is both soft, and...

News

Shop The Megan Park Archive Of More Than 10,000 Pieces!

Legendary fashion designer Megan Park has kept one of every piece she has designed over the last 22 years – and now, she’s opening h...

Homes

A Magical Alistair Knox-Designed Rental In Eltham!

The seriously dreamy 1970s rental home of Pop and Scott trade manager Lucienne Van Sebille, and her partner Sebastian.

Architecture

This Clever + Compact Bondi Home Feels Like A Never-Ending Holiday!

Fox Johnston architects managed to expand the footprint of this small and narrow Sydney site to create a generous, private haven!

Interiors

A Crash Course In Renovating Your Own Home From Top To Bottom, With BuildHer Collective

Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon of BuildHer Collective bring us a new book containing all the info you need to embark on building or ren...
Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon

Interiors

How To Nail The Bathroom Basics, According To Reece

A crash course in very excellent bathroom design, courtesy of bathrooms + kitchens merchandising leader at Reece Bathrooms, Daniella Santill...
Sasha Gattermayr
  7 hours ago

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Chrissy Lafian, Founder And Creative Director Of Suku

With teams in both Melbourne and Bali, Chrissy lets us in on how she runs the lifestyle brand she's built from scratch!

Food

Julia's Autumnal Weeknight Rocket and Hazelnut Pesto Linguine

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's linguine with a herby rocket and hazelnut pesto is a riff on the classic weeknight family meal by adding earthy,
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  15 hours ago

Architecture

A Timeless New Home In Ballarat, With Lake Views + Mid-Century Vibes

With American ‘Brady Bunch’ house vibes (!) this new home in Ballarat by Kennedy Nolan channels mid century design, with a sleek, contem...

News

The Magic And Art Of Beekeeping With Honey Fingers

Mud Australia is hosting an exhibition and in conversation event with legendary urban beekeepers Honey Fingers, moderated by artist Stanisla...
Sally Tabart

Similar Stories

Creative People

7 Australian Ceramicists You Should Know!

Irina Rybakov of Pépite shares some of her favourite local ceramicists!
Irina Rybakov

Studio Visit

A New Collection From One Of Melbourne's Most Established Ceramicists

Brunswick-based potter Sophie Moran unveils her 'Quarry Collection'.
Elle Murrell

Craft

Ella Bendrups

A studio visit with the young Melbourne-based ceramicist.
Elle Murrell

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.