Babs Haenen creates expressive and impressionistic ceramics that give equal importance to colour, line and form. Her works are embellished in a painterly manner, highlighting the influence of abstract painting and landscape motifs, like rippling water, on her practice.
Haenen's works with coloured porcelain slabs and builds colourful, organic vessels with a dynamic inner choreography. Layering the slabs with pigment allows her to form thin ribbons of coloured porcelain, which she folds, cuts, and sculpts to create her vessels. Lately, Haenen's work has gone from vertical vessel forms to more complex works that incorporate two or more separate pieces creating colourful tabletop landscapes and Scholar’s Rocks.
Haenen first worked as a dancer before studying visual art at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam 1974-1979, and later she also taught there 1994-2013. In 1990 and 2003, Haenen received a grant from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture. She was the recipient of 1991 Inax Design Prize for Europeans, Japan. In 2012, she was granted the Mondriaan Fund, Visual Arts and Cultural Heritage. Recently, Haenen was awarded the 2020 van Achterbergh Prize.