Otto Heino and Vivika Heino were artists working in ceramics. They collaborated as a husband-and-wife team for thirty-five years, signing their pots Vivika + Otto, regardless of who actually made them. Otto and Vivika moved to California in 1952, where Vivika replaced Glen Lukens, head of ceramics department of the University of Southern California, during his sabbatical; she remained there for three years. Otto also taught at the university during this time. In 1955, as they prepared to return home to Hopkinton, New Hampshire, she was invited to reorganize the ceramics department at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, and remained there for eight years. During that time, they remodelled a store on Hoover Street into a studio and began selling their work directly to the public, with success. Otto worked full-time as a potter while Vivika taught; during the summer, they switched roles, Otto teaching and Vivika producing pottery. After an eleven-year stay in California (originally expected to last two), Vivika accepted in 1963 an offer to teach at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1965, the Heinos reopened their home and studio in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.
They later returned to California, crossing the country in three moving vans, carrying 29 tons of materials. They purchased a house in Ojai, a small community in the mountains northwest of Los Angeles, built by Beatrice Wood, a friend since 1952. Their pottery studio, The Pottery, produced functional and decorative vessels, as well as architectural commissions. The Heinos supported themselves as potters throughout their career. Clean lines and distinctive glazes mark their work; avoiding ceramic trends, they focused on traditional and utilitarian pottery. Glazes, however, are Heino's greatest legacy. The yellow glaze being their most famous one.They were part of a generation that sought to redefine the relationship between ceramics and modern art.