Hollis Hansen is a native of Portland, beginning her art studies at the University of Oregon and completing her degree in art at San Jose State University in 1971. She continued to study with a wide variety of artists and potters exploring many avenues of working in clay.
Over the years Hollis enjoyed teaching children in a residence artist program in Santa Cruz County, California, where the projects related to the studies in each grade. Summer programs allowed two weeks to explorer ancient Egypt, Native American and Japanese cultures and included some pit firings at the beach. "It was such a delight to see the pride and enthusiasm shown by these kids".
Having visited Taos, New Mexico, for twenty years as a place of renewal and inspiration, she and her husband finally made the leap and bought a home in 1998, and set up her studio. The expanse of sky and majesty of the mountains give a daily renewal of that energy.
In addition to her own work, Hollis taught Raku firing workshops for The Taos Institute of the Arts, which brought students from all over the world.
In the spring of 2016 Hollis and her husband returned to their home in Aptos, California. Winters had been challenging in recent years and the appeal of being near her children and family made the choice easier. Although she misses the expanse of blue sky and transcending peace of Taos, she is able to walk to the beach and look out at the ocean and enjoy the sunsets with old friends and family.
Much of Hollis' work retains a sculptural element with the inspiration from nature in the patterns of plants and animals. "There always seems to be yet another avenue to explore from a walk or time in the garden."
Working both in porcelain and sculpture clay keeps a variety of projects ongoing. "Some ideas are better fit for the purity of porcelain, as in the Birdsong Series of folded porcelain wall pieces, while the firing techniques used in my raku fired pieces reflect the multitude flavors of nature. Clay is such a responsive medium and teaches one patience and humility along with the element of discovery and surprise."