James West, head potter at Hanselmann’s (Holly Byrd/For The Observer)
It’s always open, there is not a salesperson in sight, and the pottery is sold on the honor system
At first glance, Hanselmann’s Pottery is just like any other pottery shop you might find yourself in. However, it is quickly apparent that this is not your typical pottery shop at all.
Nestled in the picturesque village of Corrales, you will find Hanselmann’s gallery is always open, there is not a salesperson in sight, and the pottery is sold on the honor system. That’s right, you can walk in, 24 hours a day and buy a piece of pottery without seeing a soul.
It’s an introvert’s dream.
This alone makes the shop stand out in a world full of anti-theft devices and heavily guarded big box retailers. But dig a little deeper, and the real magic behind this shop is the people who work there and how much they are truly valued.
Hanselmann’s has been around sine the 1970’s.
Though the ownership has changed hands a few times since then, the homegrown feel remains the same. In 2012, head potter James West decided to create a whole line of handcrafted pottery. This means that every piece of pottery you buy from Hanselmann’s is created by hand, from a ball of clay, by the hands of a talented potter working in the shop in Corrales.
This makes the employees of this small shop the most cherished parts of what truly feels like a family. Says Head potter James West: “Our employees are the most valuable commodity we have.”
There are five potters, and they handle all orders as fast as their hands can work.
Potter and manager Jessi Penrod said she feels her work goes beyond just selling pottery.
“Pottery has its own way of connecting people, but what we’re doing is so unique and adds community and value to making beautiful things,” she said.
Every piece in the shop is created to order. Every order from ball of clay to finished product takes two weeks minimum. Quality cannot be rushed.
The Hanselmann style is useable heirloom quality pottery. This pottery can be used for generations without having to merely leave it in a cabinet. Almost all their pottery is white.
The timeless white color of their pottery “highlights what you are using it for,” making your salad the real star of the show, Penrod said.
“There’s a pot for everyone,” said potter Sophia Torres.
The shop is at 4908 Corrales Road. Or go to their website hanselmannpottery.com.
The staff will be glad to show anyone around, just ask for a quick tour of their workspace in the back and be sure to say hello to Sophia’s pet spiders Cheese and Ayanna.