Based in New Mexico, this pottery studio is committed to creating beautiful, functional stoneware using practices that have withstood the test of time - prioritizing the process and artisan connection along the way. In this edition of Meet the Maker, we had the pleasure of asking the Hanselmann Pottery team a few questions about their beginnings, the inspiration, the process, and more.
How did Hanselmann get started? Tell us about your beginnings in this industry and what sets you apart from the rest.
This business was brought to life in the 1970's by the original Hanselmanns. They were a husband and wife team who made and painted pottery together. As the Hanselmanns retired, the business changed hands during the 80's and 90's, and the pottery was produced at a higher volume using molds and ram presses. It was purchased by the current owner in 2012, and our head potter, James West, was hired a year later. Since then, we have been committed to making heirloom quality stoneware 100% by hand on the potter's wheel. Through the past 5 years, we have been able to grow and train a small team of 4 highly skilled young production potters under the mentorship of our head potter. Making pottery by hand allows us to have flexibility in what we create, so we are not limited to prepared shapes and machine made forms. Our training allows us to create a strong line of dinnerware and drinkware, that is consistent in size, weight and shape. However, each piece is still made one at a time, by hand and is its own work of art. While we put emphasis on our finished product with high quality and durable materials, the way we make our pottery in its traditional form is what makes us unique.
What or who inspires Hanselmann’s pottery style and process?
Our style is inspired by our customers. It is a reflection of their style and interest in what they are able to create. We have drawn inspiration from coffee roasters, brewers, foodies, influencers, chefs, home cooks, interior designers, gift shops, farmers, and our friends and neighbors. It was our mission to create something that can not only fit in just about any setting, but would highlight the creativity of the user without taking attention away from a beautiful home cooked dish or thoughtfully curated living space. Our process is inspired by the history of the craft, as well as the drive to support artists. There is so much value, not only visually, but in the way each piece feels when it is produced by a passionate potter.
Tell us about your team! How do you all collaborate with such a creative and personal medium?
We are a small team of 4 potters, a studio tech, a bookkeeper and a photographer. Each member of our team wears many hats. The same potters who make each piece also glaze, load kilns, mix glazes and inspect for quality. We also fulfill orders, pack and ship the pottery, stock and maintain our gallery space, handle customer service, and manage our brand on social media through organic marketing. A few of the potters have a hand in every moving aspect of the business, giving us a closer connection to not only the process, but the finished product, our community and our customers. Through years of practice and training, we have been able to work closely with one another to take each pot from a ball of clay to a finished pot. It passes through all of our hands multiple times through the many steps of the process, and finally to yours!
Which piece do you find yourself reaching for the most in your day to day? We’re always using our mugs!
The Thumb Cup is always our go-to, as well as a customer favorite. Our head potter has nicknamed it the "Hanselmann Pottery Cheeseburger." It sits comfortably in the hand, and is so satisfying to use.
Any go-to tips for sparking inspiration when creativity isn’t flowing?
When creativity isn't flowing, there is nothing that brings us back like the material and creating something familiar. With each of our plates full of other responsibilities in keeping the business running smoothly, it can often lead to overwhelm and lack of focus. Sometimes, all we need is to take a step back from the computer, and sit down at our wheels for a good portion of the day. The clay reminds us why we make pottery the way we do, and returning to the work has a way of putting the mind back into focus. Oftentimes, we just need to make a few boards of mugs to reintroduce the practice and repetition. Other times, we may need to work with our head potter to challenge us with a new piece that we have never made before. It always helps to get inspiration from other artists as well! Whether it is from creators on social media or other artists in our gallery.
You are based in New Mexico! We’ve always wanted to visit - Any recommendations for us?
New Mexico is one of the best kept secrets in the US. It is called "The Land of Enchantment" for a reason. Arts, culture and Indigenous traditions are widely celebrated throughout the state. There is such strong support for the arts and small business! The high desert landscape also offers such a unique experience for anyone who loves the outdoors. We are fortunate to have one of the most gorgeous mountain views in the Albuquerque area, and are not far from incredible hikes, national parks and forests. The best time to visit is in the fall. There is nothing like the smell of green chiles roasting on a cool morning, listening to the sound of sandhill cranes migrating from Alaska for the winter, and seeing hundreds of hot air balloons fill the sky! Santa Fe, Taos and Los Alamos are all a short drive away with lots of gorgeous plazas, restaurants, breweries and natural sites to visit. Of course, there is art everywhere here! With so much support for the arts, talented creators are able to make a living and master their craft in our beautiful state!
Pictured here - our hand-thrown Salt Bowl, Sugar Jar, Match Striker,
Vase, Utensil Holder, and Spoon Rest.
Shop our hand-thrown vase, perfect for all the florals.
New-ish to the shop, our hand-thrown pendant light!
Pictured here - our hand-thrown lamp.
Shop the entire collection today!