A native of Philadelphia, Andrew Heist has been living and making ceramics in Juneau, Alaska since 2004. He received his BA from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and has continued his education at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. A recipient of a 2011 Individual Artist Award from the Rasmuson Foundation, Andrew is currently attending a short-term residency at Red Lodge Clay Center.
Whether it be the perfect balance of my grandmother’s wedding silver, the heft and satisfying snap of an old Rolleiflex camera, or the perfect curves, angles and joints of a violin, I have always loved objects that blend precision, quality of material, and artistic design while still retaining evidence of the human hand.
I was born and raised in an upper middle class suburb of Philadelphia. The rampant and all-encompassing materialism of that culture surrounded me and fomented a healthy distaste for the big box store junk collecting that fuels our modern American economic culture. At the same time, I found myself fascinated by material items that exhibited a quality of craftsmanship that has all but disappeared in our transition to cheap, temporary and disposable goods that line the shelves of our “local” mega-stores.
Rather than referencing a specific era of design or style of decoration, in my work I seek to celebrate that elusive feeling of quality of craft. I wish to create simple, elegant objects that blend form, function and design as seamlessly as the classic examples that I am, to this day, so strongly drawn to. I am a devout follower of routines. A thoughtfully crafted cup introduced into the ubiquitous morning coffee drill can transform something negligible and forgettable into a significant ritual that adds profound satisfaction to each day. I want my vessels to facilitate similar experiences for others.