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Alice Egan Hagen (1872-1972) Nova Scotia Woman Ceramicist
Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery
Halifax , Nova Scotia

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   Alice Egan Hagen (1872-
1972) is considered a pioneer
of studio pottery in Nova
Scotia. The craft revival was
gaining momentum in other
countries when Alice Hagen
decided, in 1931, to learn to
make pottery to teach it to
others. She was then about 60
years old. Working in

isolation, she experimented
with different pottery
techniques and clays native
to the area. Soon, she had
set up kilns at several
locales and was conducting
pottery classes. She
continued to sell pottery
from her home in Mahone Bay
well after her 90th birthday.

   In the early 20th
century, women who actively
pursued education and
professional careers were
referred to as “new women.”
Alice Hagen fits this
description: she financed her
education as a china painter
and made her living in this
profession before

transforming herself into a
self-taught ceramicist. Her
contemporaries, Helen
Creighton, the Nova Scotian
folklorist, and Mary Black,
the Nova Scotian craft
promoter, were also “new
women.” All three of these
entrepreneurial women shaped
the cultural profile of Nova

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