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What clay body do you use?

"I use a variety of clays, mid-range typically. I favor a robust stoneware."

Primary forming method?

"It's split between handbuilding and throwing, though I prefer to handbuild."

Primary firing temperature?

"Cone 5/6"

Favorite surface treatment?

"Texturing and mark making using found objects"


Favorite Tools?

"Tools I almost always use  - a Dolan knife, hole making tool, serrated rib, mudtool wire, Kemper modeling tool 406. Also a good wooden rib lasts forever."

Describe your studio environment.

"It is small but effective ! It a REAL workspace, it's not pretty but it gets the job done, I tend to live in organized chaos."

How/Where do you market and sell your artwork?

"Mostly private commissions and art markets, both local and otherwise."

What sparks your creativity? What drives you to work with clay?

"Most appealing to me is it's versatility and elemental nature. It's the alchemy of earth, air, water, fire and human inspiration & spirit. "


Did you come to ceramics from a different career? Tell us about your journey to a ceramics career.

    "The bug bit in high school ( in Singapore ) with a teacher who was my first mentor and encouraged me to continue working in the arts.I attended LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts with the intent to pursue a career in fashion but instead ended up an apprentice at a ceramics arts studio. The focus there  was on education and public art ( mainly murals ) , where my role mainly comprised of program creation, planning and instructing classes.

    Now in Houston, I dedicate myself to my own work under the moniker HANSDOTTIR."

    How have you have taken your experience as a well-established maker in the field and passed that knowledge along to other artists?

      "Being able to teach and share knowledge with numerous students over the years truly is a gift! The learning in life never stops and I consider myself a forever learner, period."

      What’s the best advice you’ve been given by a fellow maker, mentor, or teacher?

        1.    Your time is your most valuable asset.

        2.    Exploit your strengths

        3.    A good teacher shows one where to look, not what to see."

        Website URL and other social media platforms:

          Website:  www.HANSDOTTIR.com 

          Instagram: @michellehansdottir


          Michelle Heinesen ( HANSDOTTIR ) is a contemporary ceramist, maker & designer who lives and works in Houston Texas. Her Singaporean-Faroese heritage influences her work greatly - East meets West, a global perspective with a nomadic outlook.

          She had early roots with an apprenticeship at 17 with a ceramics arts studio in Singapore, followed by her role as a program coordinator, muralist & arts instructor. She took a brief hiatus from clay to focus on her lifestyle boutique. This has led her to the present day where she works in retail & education at the Ceramic Store of Houston, as well as teaching privately & making in her studio under the moniker HANSDOTTIR.

          Michelle's current body of work is split between functional and sculptural ceramics. In the former, her goal is to elevate ritual and the latter focuses on themes of isolation, growth, intersectionality and identity.

          She has participated in exhibitions locally as well as overseas ( The Goodwood Hotel, Singapore Int'l Women's Convention, ClayOracle Gallery, Baylene ) . 2020 is her third year of participation as an Empty Bowls Houston 100 Bowl Artist. Besides ClayHouston, she is also a member of the Visual Arts Alliance Houston and Fresh Arts Houston.
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