celebrated nationally, loved locally

lavender placesetting
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lavender placesetting
making pottery
succulents in pottery

by Jessa Cast

fifty years of Corrales pottery heritage

Tucked away in Corrales, a pottery studio has been steadfastly producing stoneware for 50 years, cultivating an ever-broadening national customer base while maintaining its small-town roots. Founded in 1970, Hanselmann Pottery began hand-making stoneware, from plates and mugs to oven-ready cookware and decorative pots.

As ownership changed over the decades, their methods morphed, at one time foregoing the potter’s wheel for mold-made pottery. But a decade ago, Luke Parker bought the business and hired James West as head potter. West redesigned the product line and reverted production back to wheel-thrown pottery. Manager Jessi Penrod sees this reversion as a boon. “It’s a more rustic aesthetic, more artisanal. It takes more time and training, but it’s less limiting,” she says. “We don’t have to make a mold for it; we can make a piece then and there. There is more opportunity for creativity and new items.” The potter signs each piece, adding a personal touch.

“Our design choice of white glaze over stoneware was informed by
our audience.” – Jessi Penrod

For now, all the pottery comes in white. “Our design choice of white glaze over stoneware was informed by our audience,” says Penrod. “It fits in everyone’s kitchen. We wanted to keep it simple, to fit well in any setting.” Their audience, vast and dedicated, loves it. Hanselmann’s pottery is sold in galleries from coast to coast. Coffee shops, both local and far-flung, serve beverages in Hanselmann mugs. And consumers can’t seem to get enough of the unassuming designs.

By far, their bestselling item is the quirky thumb cup. Hundreds sold over the holidays. It’s a simple cup—sans handle— that bears its potter’s single thumb indentation and has won hearts everywhere. Local barbers use them, as the indentation makes for a secure grasp on a slippery shaving cream vessel. And the studio has received letters of gratitude from disabled customers who, suffering difficulty grasping typical handles, are so grateful for the easily gripped design.

As a testament to its community roots, Hanselmann’s uses the honor system in their shop. Even when the studio isn’t operating, the shop remains open so shoppers can use the self-checkout system to buy pottery. A lovely demonstration of faith in humanity from this local gem.