Biographical / Historical
Vivika and Otto Heino were ceramicists and educators active primarily in California, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
Vivika Heino (1910-1995) was born Vivika Place in Caledonia, New York. She attended Rochester Normal School and took a sculpture class, a drawing class at the Memorial Art Gallery, and a design class at the University of Rochester Extension. She then attended Colorado College of Education where she received her BA and became involved with puppeteering. By 1934 she had moved to California, where she apprenticed with a bookbinder, Mr. Bitteroff, making candlesticks, tin trays, and other small crafts. She also apprenticed with wood carver Charlie Sayers in Carmel, carving picture frames and furniture for about seven months, before learning weaving at Swedish Applied Arts in San Francisco.
While at Swedish Applied Arts, Place worked and became friends with Harry Dixon, Armank Harranian, Margaret Gravandar, and Bill Saroyan. She also found time to work as a puppeteer with Ralph Chesse and the Works Progress Administration. She also began studying pottery with Manuel Eugene Jalanivich at California University of Fine Arts, and subsequently focused primarily on pottery for the rest of her career.
Place began working with Glen Lukens at the University of Southern California in 1940. Lukens and Dr. Morley, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, recommended her for a scholarship at New York State College of Ceramics in Alfred, New York, from which she graduated in 1944. She subsequently took a teaching position at the League of New Hampshire Arts and Crafts where she met Otto Heino.
One of twelve siblings, Otto Heino (1915-2009) was born in East Hampton, Connecticut, to a market gardening family of Finnish descent. The family moved to New Hampshire to sell milk when Otto was 12, and around that time he began apprenticing as a wood turner for Louie Harr. Heino was then drafted into the military and became a gunner in the United States Air Force. Between flying twenty-five missions in Europe, Heino took classes in England, made jewelry, did wood working, traveled to museums, and met individual potters and silversmiths. After visiting Leach's Pottery in Cornwall, and investigating pottery in other parts of Europe, Otto was determined to study pottery on the GI Bill on his return to the United States.
Otto and Vivika met while Otto was a student at the League of New Hampshire Arts and Crafts, where Vivian was an instructor. They married in 1950 and went on to establish their reputations as artists and educators by widely exhibiting their work, leading workshops, conducting studio open houses, consulting on film productions, and teaching at various schools and institutions. They both taught at the University of Southern California, the Chouinard Art Institute, and Rhode Island School of Design; Vivika also taught at the Sheridan School of Design in Ontario, Canada, and New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. They operated The Potter, a studio and retail store in Ojai, California, from 1973 to 1995.
The work of Otto and Vivika Heino can be found in the collections of many museums, including the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Ariana Museum, in Geneva, Switzerland.