Otto (born 1915) and Vivika (1910-1995) Heino are artists working in ceramics. They collaborated as a husband-and-wife team for thirty-five years, signing their pots Vivika + Otto, regardless of who actually made them.

Otto Heino Editar

One of twelve children born of Finnish immigrants in East Hampton, Connecticut, United States Otto Heino's involvement with ceramics began while serving in the U.S. Air Force in England; during a military leave, he spent several days watching Bernard Leach throw pots. Following his return to the US, he used his GI Bill funding in 1949 to study ceramics at the League of New Hampshire Arts and Crafts, in Concord, New Hampshire. There he met Vivika, his teacher, whom he was married to in 1950.

Vivika Heino Editar

Vivika was born Vivien Place in Caledonia, New York. In the mid 1930's, after getting a teaching degree at the Rochester Normal School, she spent two years with the Works Progress Administration theatre project, and headed the National Youth Administration in San Francisco. Discovering clay at this time, she studied at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), and with Glen Lukens at the University of Southern California. Lukens, a highly respected ceramist renowned for his glazes, gave her the opportunity to explore colored clays, develop new glazes, and experiment with raw materials. (In later years, she and Otto were to devote a day a week to measuring, mixing, and testing new glazes.) Her pots were exhibited at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, in San Francisco.

Vivien Place started using the name Vivika while studying at the Swedish Applied Arts, in San Francisco, where teacher Margaret Gravandar thought everyone should have a Swedish name. (Even her mother started calling her that.)[1]

In 1941, Vivika received an M.F.A. from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York. She was the second M.F.A. graduate from the ceramics program there (following Daniel Rhodes in 1940).[2]

Otto + Vivika Editar

Otto and Vivika moved to California in 1952, where Vivika replaced Glen Lukens, head of ceramics department of the University of Southern California, during his sabbatical; she remained there for three years. Otto also taught at the university during this time. Also in 1952, she became a technical advisor for Twentieth Century Fox Studios, and she and Otto made 751 pots for the movie The Egyptian in 1953.

In 1955, as they prepared to return home to Hopkinton, she was invited to reorganize the ceramics department at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, and remained there for eight years. During that time, they remodelled a store on Hoover Street into a studio and began selling their work directly to the public, with success. Otto worked full-time as a potter while Vivika taught; during the summer, they switched roles, Otto teaching and Vivika producing pottery.

Vivika helped organise and became a board member of the Southern California Designer Craftsmen, and later a trustee for the southwestern region of the American Craft Council. She travelled to nearby states to help organize craft groups, something she had experience with from her days at the League of New Hampshire Arts and Crafts.

After an eleven year stay in California (originally expected to last two), Vivika accepted in 1963 an offer to teach at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, RI. In 1965, the Heinos reopened their New Hampshire home and studio in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.

Teaching was a very important part of Vivika's life. Although he also enjoyed teaching, Otto preferred studio production. Over the years, Vivika accepted a number of short-term teaching assignments, punctuated by periods of studio work with Otto.

"What you give away you have forever; what you keep to yourself, you lose." (Vivika Heino)[3]

They later returned to California, crossing the country in three moving vans, carrying 29 tons of materials. They purchased a house in Ojai, a small community in the mountains northwest of Los Angeles, built by Beatrice Wood, a friend since 1952. Their pottery studio, The Pottery, produced functional and decorative vessels, as well as architectural commissions.

The Heinos supported themselves as potters throughout their career. Clean lines and distinctive glazes mark their work; avoiding ceramic trends, they focused on traditional and utilitarian pottery. They were part of a generation that sought to redefine the relationship between ceramics and modern art.

"Our pots have life. They don't just sit there" (Vivika Heino)[3]

Awards (partial list) Editar

  • Gold Medal from the Sixth Biennale internationale de céramique d'art, in Vallauris, France. (1978)
  • Silver Medal from the International Ceramics Exhibitions in Ostend, Belgium (1959)

Exhibitions (partial list) Editar

  • American Craft Museum, New York City, NY
  • County Art Museum and Craft Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
  • De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  • Picasso Museum in Vallauris, France
  • Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC

Notes Editar

  1. Levin, Elaine (1981-03-04). Vivika and Otto Heino Oral History Interview. Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved on 2006-10-13.
  2. Smith, Paul J. (2004-03-01). Interview with Susan Peterson. Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved on 2006-10-13.
  3. 3,0 3,1 Levin, Elaine (October 1977). "Otto and Vivika Heino". Ceramics Monthly 25: 38–44.

References Editar

  1. The Art of Vivika and Otto Heino. Exhibition background. Oakland Museum of California (July 2005). Retrieved on 2006-10-13.

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