Stephanie Anne Martin grew up regularly relocating with her family to various towns within the Southeast. She claims that her familiarity to transition is what began to shape her character- eventually instilling within her a desire for wonder and adventure. Encouraged also by her family’s endless expressions of creativity, Stephanie remembers searching for her own, unique means of artistic self-expression until she found ceramics. After years of building a world around a corporate lifestyle, she was able to submit to her adventurous spirit and open Annie Hanks Ceramic Studio with her dear friend, Katherine. Stephanie recently married and is currently renovating a Victorian Cottage, named Sunny, with her husband, Jay.
Katherine Hanks Rogers was raised in San Antonio, Texas with a great appreciation for the outdoors, imagination, and creativity. Her love for art was fostered through spending summers in the landscape of the Texas Hill Country- a motif that even still, is reflected in much of her work. She studied photography at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and upon graduating, moved to Chattanooga where she discovered a passion for clay. Both her photographic work and ceramic work is full of natural references and an isolated focus on beauty.
Katherine Hanks Rogers and Stephanie Anne Martin met as neighbors in 2012 and incidentally both attended weekly pottery classes at a local Chattanooga studio. A friendship quickly developed and deepened as their love for clay did the same. The following years were marked by growing their knowledge of ceramics and developing skill through apprenticeship and assistantship programs. Within the last months of working together within this setting, their growing eagerness to set off and begin their own studio grew stronger. Within two weeks, the women had found a studio space- a bright and open floor plan with a western-facing wall of windows that gently filters natural sunlight, exposed cement ceilings, and inspiring energy that permeates the space and encourages creativity. Since that day in October of 2014, Katherine and Stephanie have created a working studio that they have named Annie Hanks Ceramic Studio; incorporating both of their names. Annie Hanks purely reflects the essence of their friendship and their respective aesthetics- an aesthetic that more often than not, blends effortlessly into one. Katherine explains that their work is “a marriage of [their] forms and is a beautiful reflection of [their] friendship.” The women work collaboratively- each piece is created by both women’s hands- one may throw a piece that the other glazes, or one may perfect a form that the other originally created. It is not uncommon to find one of the women centering a lump of clay on the wheel that the other shapes and forms into a vessel. When asked about the ways in which this affects the dynamic within the studio, Stephanie explains, “we are constantly excited for one another: constantly encouraging the other to stretch herself, and consistently celebrating one another’s accomplishments. It’s a special thing of which to be a part.” The women take pride in their fine attention to line and form and have a keen awareness of the relationship and connection between the earth and themselves. They find constant metaphors within their work, particularly the connection between clay: a piece of the earth, and the humanness of themselves. Their work then, often reflects natural references- whether it be the horizon lines in their glazes, or the form of their pieces.