Meet The Face Behind


A BRIKA maker story

Hannah Woodard

"I believe that handcrafted objects are essential for humanity and culture to thrive."
"I often find myself looking to aesthetics of the past for elements to forge with the present. Bones, parallel lines, and woven goods are of particular interest."

"Creating handmade goods is an expression of myself and a way to connect with other humans."

"When one of my pieces resonates with someone else in a meaningful way, there’s an understanding there like no other. "

"Creating handmade goods is an expression of myself and a way to connect with other humans."

Born in rural Vermont, Hannah was raised on folk music and art. She earned her BFA in Jewelry & Metalsmithing at Rhode Island School of Design, where she developed an interest in body adornment and objets d'art as a form of language and expression. She found a respect for jewelry in its intimacy with the wearer; when an object of jewelry is engaged it is often in contact with the body; its weight is felt, creating a relationship with the wearer that evolves over time. She is also intrigued by the history of body adornment as a form of communication- whether between individuals, among kin, or across cultures.

Hannah spent several months in Kenya where she developed relationships with local craftspeople. She met a young Samburu man who became her good friend. He introduced her to some blacksmiths, and she was taught how to forge a spear. Some local women who were sitting nearby noticed her interest, and taught her to bead Samburu jewelry. Much of her time was spent crafting with them, even with the language barrier. She became very close to them and still remains in contact today.

What is your design background?

Most of my family are artists and designers, and I was blessed with the tools and encouragement to pursue art from a young age. I went on to earn my BFA in Jewelry & Metalsmithing from RISD.

Walk me through your production/design process.

I tend to begin in the three dimensional, and then it becomes an intuitive dance between sketching and exploring with materials. I rarely have a solid original vision; it’s usually an idea that’s there but in a fog, and it’s my job to clear the fog. 

What is the inspiration behind your design?

Artifacts of all kinds have always fascinated me. They provide connection and insight into the work of craftspeople spanning centuries. I also find that artifacts invite questioning in a way very specific to their archaic nature- why did the first people create what we today call jewelry? Why did they feel that urge to wear small objects on the body? What drove their design decisions? Why do we wear what we do? For me these are all ways to engage with the world in a meaningful way.

"I attribute the relationships I made in Kenya to the incredible strength of communication through craft."