Laffin, Heinz


Maker Name

Laffin, Heinz


Heinz Laffin was born in Germany in 1926. He immigrated to Canada in 1953 and took night classes at the VSA and studied with Robert Wegsteen 1958-63, with classmates Leonhard Epp and life-long friend, Wayne Ngan, and in 1960 he studied at the UBC Ceramic Hut - Summer School, with John Reeve.
Ngan and Heinz shared a residence and a studio from 1963-67, and taught night classes at the VSA from 65-67. (students - Don Hutchinson and Lari Robson). Heinz also taught at the West Vancouver Community Centre in 1964.
Ngan and Heinz moved to Hornby Island to briefly set up a studio together in 1967, and by 1969 were establishing their own studios (still friends). While living on Hornby Heinz taught workshops for the Port Alberni Potters Club 1972-73.
At some early point, (perhaps mid to late 1970s) fellow German, Gerhard Kozel joined Heinz at his studio, and they worked side by side until Gerhard's death in 2017.
Heinz has had an extraordinary career, raising a family and maintaining a production pottery for 50 years on Hornby Island with Gerhard and Mette Wullun, Gerhard's partner, who joined the team in the 1990s.
Heinz's studio has been a must-see for decades- with the pottery displayed all over the yard, and always available for browsing.
In 2013 Heinz's work was included in 2 major exhibitions -' Back to the Land,, Ceramics from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands 1970-1985', Dianne Carr, in Victoria, and 'High Fire Culture, Locating Leach / Hamada in West Coast Studio Pottery' Norah Vaillant, in Vancouver.
Alex Lambley wrote about Heinz in her 2019 Dissertation for her thesis (see Further Resources) as she felt his contribution to the story of the Leach diaspora in BC (in the Exhibit and publication -Thrown) had been overlooked.
In 2020/21 Heinz's work was included in the seminal exhibition Modern in the Making - Post-War and Craft in British Columbia.
(2022) Presently Naoko Fukumaru is collaborating with Heinz rebuilding his broken works using kintsugi, her project of homage to the early BC studio potters.
Heinz and Gerhard are true Village potters - their work has rarely been sent off island to be exhibited or sold. Around the province similar practices would be; Meg Buckley, Gary Cherneff, Dave Dobie, Herman Venema, Darrell Hancock, the Davies on Haida Gwaii, and Gunda Stewart.

First name


Last name


Career dates (start and end)


Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Stettin, Germany

Studio location

Major Exhibitions

2020/21 Modern in the Making, Post-War Craft and Design in British Columbia, curated, Daina Augaitis, Allan Collier, Stephanie Rebick , Vancouver Art Gallery
2013 Back to the Land, Ceramics from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands 1970-1985, curated Diane carr, AGGV
2013 'High Fire Culture , Locating Leach/Hamada in West Coast Studio Pottery' , Belkin Satellite Gallery, Norah Vaillant, Shelley Rosenblum
1980 Retrospect Ceramics 80, PGBC 25th Anniversary

Links to Further Resources

2019 Translation and Appropriation, Mingei Theory, Bernard Leach and his Vancouver Apprentices. PhD Alexandra Lambley Clark, Falmouth University, England
Modern in the Making Post-War Craft and Design in BC, exhibition catalogue, VAG 2020
1998 Made of Clay, BCPG
1977 Catalogue of British Columbia Potters, Bob Kingsmill


Debra Sloan

Item sets

Linked resources

Filter by property

Title Alternate label Class
Laffin, Heinz mark Maker Image