The poetry of the sea, the marvel of outer space and scientific imagery, and the love of music and dance are the inspirational springboards from which Hafner has worked for over 30 years.
Whether creating glass sculpture, functional objects, or architectural installations, her works have consistently won both critical praise and commercial acclaim. Widely published and eagerly collected, her works are in museum collections worldwide.
Trained as a painter and sculptor, Hafner first tried her hand at ceramics, both functional and sculptural in 1973. In the ensuing 15 years she created over 12 lines of tableware, both hand crafted and industrially produced, for such firms as Tiffany & Co. in NYC and Rosenthal in Germany.
At the same time she also actively created one of a kind sculptural objects which were exhibited internationally. Museums owning these works include the American Craft Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Mint Museum of Art to name only a few .
Her "Flash" dinnerware, for Rosenthal, created in 1982 quickly became an instant icon of its era and is chronicled in many books on the history of ceramics as well as the design arts. Several of these books feature her work on their covers.
In 1991, following a long held desire, Hafner allowed herself respite to travel, paint and write. While scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef she was so taken with the colors of the sea, its diversity of flora and fauna, and its captivating reflections, that she returned to her studio intent on celebrating this beauty in her art.
This search led her to glass with its brilliant colors and sparkling transparencies. In glass she found the perfect medium for her painterly and sculptural expressions.
Through intensive research and experimentation she discovered a rarely used technique of "tesserae", then practiced by only a few masters worldwide. In traditional tesserae tiny squares of color are rolled onto a hot glass bubble prior to shaping.
To this method Hafner added her trademark loops and swirls as well as a commanding body of asymmetrical forms to carry them. As her gaffer she chose the world renowned Lino Tagliapietra with whom she worked for 4 years. Hafner would create the painstakingly intricate flat glass compositions, or "mosaics", as she calls them. Tagliapietra would then be brought in to create the bubbles for "roll-up", and then shape them to Hafner's exacting models and designs. As Hafner's flat glass mosaics evolved they began to acquire a unique beauty of their own, apart from the vessel onto which they were rolled.
Temporarily forsaking the vessel in 1997, Hafner shifted her focus solely to the flat glass, as painter to canvas. Building layer upon layer of transparent cutouts, she began fusing them together to produce single multi-layered transparent panels, each rich with overlays of her diaphanous imagery.
Although her methods and materials may change, her artistic style remains easily recognizable. Characterized by vivid color plays, evocative lines and idiosyncratic abstractions. When you see a Hafner, you know it's a Hafner.