Fairbanks-based artist, Heidi Morel, discovered her love of the ceramic process while attending college at the University of North Texas. After graduation, she moved to Johnson City, Tennessee where she was a resident artist at East Tennessee State University. Inpursit of adventure and continuing her education, Heidi began attending graduate school at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2008. Her explorations in clay stretched in many directions, from earth-art installations to sustainable kiln building. In 2013, she established Morel Pottery Clay Studio in the hills of Goldstream Valley, which is located outside of Fairbanks. Heidi enjoys running with her huskies, practicing yoga, and coaching a local swim team.
In an era where handmade objects are uncommon in daily life, I find it important to continue the craft tradition in both producing and using pottery. The porcelain forms I create on the potter’s wheel are rooted in the rich history of vessel making. I utilize a process called sgraffito (which means “to scratch through” in Italian) where I dip a vessel in colored clay and then carve through it to create an image. This carving technique allows the underlying porcelain to show though as an image and adds a delightful, textural component to my pieces. I love this expressive process because each pot has its own intrinsic spirit by the time it comes out of the glaze kiln.
Living and traveling throughout Alaska fuels my inspiration. Witnessing beautiful wildlife, hiking through striking landscapes, and observing natural patterns informs the work I create in my studio. My personal life experiences such as love, loss, adventure and confusion are illustrated through anthropomorphized grizzly bears, snowshoe hares, muskoxen, and other northern animals. As a maker of everyday objects, my hope is that someone using my vessels will glean a moment of grace and humanity, in an otherwise stressful and automated day.