Hannah Toussaint is a queer metalsmith and craft artist originally from the midwest. She studied material construction through theatrical costume design as an undergraduate and recently completed a year-long post-baccalaureate program in Metalsmithing and Jewelry at the University of North Texas. Hannah was a recipient of the Educational Endowment Scholarship in 2022 awarded by the Society of North American Goldsmiths and has exhibited nationally. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas and continues her metals practice with a western silversmith shop.
My work contrasts the mundanity and routine of daily life with spontaneity, playfulness, and queerness. The adornments I create are usually amorphous in shape, subtracting the structure that confines contemporary society. Fiber is a material I often use in my work, representing comfort and familiarity. My practice also serves as a therapy allowing me to experience play and exploration, something I am not naturally inclined to do.
My metals journey started at a local community college. I decided to take a few classes after finishing my undergraduate degree, and was completely in love with my first metals class. My professor encouraged me to continue, and since then I haven’t put it down.
There are many themes relating to my identity woven into my work. My identity as a queer latina woman acts as a lens, which shapes my perspective and in turn, shapes my work.
I’ve always been uncomfortable with labeling myself on the LGBTQIA spectrum because it’s never felt like a correct representation for myself. Using queer seems to capture both my sexual orientation and gender identity while sparing my privacy and personal comfort in social situations.
The main concepts in my work are disorder, playfulness, and spontaneity.
There is always evolution in my designs. I usually start the process with a sketch that evolves into a full color rendering and may go through several different versions of itself as I tweak the design.
Whenever I need a hard reset, I usually look to another craft/medium. I’m able to step back and focus on something completely different that usually inspires my metals process in some kind of way, and encourages me to think in a different way.
My favorite tool is a pair of dividers!
No one has ever asked about my undergraduate degree in costume design and if I still use design processes or elements from then in my current work! I do! Most of my work starts as a sketch and evolves into a rendering- a process I very much enjoyed in costume design. My idea of adornment was probably shaped by my interest in historical costumes, and my love of craft first stemmed from costume fabrication.
I would love to see more opportunities for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ within the craft community as a whole. I would also love more resource sharing platforms and less gatekeeping of information.
*** All interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity