May in the Gift Shop

Gift Shop Artist of the Month

Heidi Morel

Featured: May 7–28

Gift Shop Hours: Monday–Friday, noon–6 pm

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. In pursuit 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, 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, Heidi finds it important to continue the craft tradition in both producing and using pottery. The porcelain forms she creates on the potter’s wheel are rooted in the rich history of vessel making. Heidi utilizes a process called sgraffito (which means “to scratch through” in Italian) where she dips a vessel in colored clay and then carves 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 her pieces. She loves 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 her inspiration. Witnessing beautiful wildlife, hiking through striking landscapes, and observing natural patterns informs the work she creates in her studio. Her 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, her hope is that someone using her vessels will glean a moment of grace and humanity, in an otherwise stressful and automated day.

You can find Heidi online at as well as on Instagram and Facebook as @morelpottery.

Bear Gallery visitors please note:

COVID-19 mitigation measures: Fairbanks Arts’ board of directors has approved COVID-19 mitigation measures that include (but are not limited to):

  • Visitors to the Bear Gallery must wear a mask. We ask that visitors bring and wear their own masks at all times. No entry without a mask.
  • Social distancing of no less than 6 ft apart must be observed within the Bear Gallery.  
  • The current limit of visitors in the gallery at one time is 10 individuals.
  • Our COVID-19 mitigation plan involves the frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces to ensure the safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this effort to stay open while supporting artists and arts supporters safely and responsibly.