Portland-based artist Haley Ann Robinson has a background in graphic design, something that becomes readily apparent when looking at her current ceramic work. Using time-honored methods, Robinson crafts pieces that are remarkably fresh, at odds with preconceived notions of what ceramics can be. Some are vessels decorated in Matisse-like ornament, others are abstract decorative works that dismiss any concept of traditional functionality. Her so-called “Geobils,” constructed from wood and stoneware shapes, are riffs on the current popularity of wall-hangings—jewelry for your walls, in a way. Photographer Christiann Koepke recently stopped by Haley’s studio to document the designer’s process. Take a look at all of the photos below + shop Haley’s work on westelm.com!

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

Please tell us a little about yourself and your work.

I’m a cancer. I have a lot of feelings. My work is full of passion and love for craft, color, shape and the odd. I’ve been working with clay for 4 years, teaching myself along the way. My background is in graphic design so applying that knowledge to my work has been really satisfying and amazing to watch grow.

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

What is it like being a maker in America right now?

It’s great, it’s hard, it’s emotional, it’s exciting and exhilarating. I go through all the emotions every day. The competition is real, but it’s empowering to see people with amazing talent being highlighted and getting credibility for their hard work. Shout out to all the ladies making it work!

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

Tell us about your studio space.

It’s new! My future husband and I just bought a house and I converted the garage into my work space. I’ve decked it out with crystals and plants and good feels. It’s awesome to have a space dedicated to my work and it feels 100% authentic.

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

What does a typical work day look like for you?

Every day is different, which I like, because there’s never a dull moment. I do emails and administrative stuff in the morning. Try to get a yoga session in and then the rest of the day is spent filling orders, sketching new ideas, and getting my hands dirty.

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

Where do you seek inspiration?

I love looking through old design, architecture, and product books and magazines. There’s so much inspiration in the history of craft, and to see done it without all the technology we have today settles my soul.

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

west elm LOCAL - Haley Ann Robinson Studio Tour

Why do you love Portland?

The nature vs city life is the perfect balance for me.

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