Heidi McKay Casto

Artist Statement

Our reality is a connected web of our perceptions, beliefs, relationships, and surroundings. These endless moments inform and shape our human experience with myriad complexity. I am often struck in my work depicting animals that their lives feel conversely present, acute, and directed in their instinctual behaviors and subsistence. I wonder about my root instincts as a result; what I might make, do, and see, without the world pushing in with pressure, judgement, and expectation. 

This work intends to make space for such internal dialogues, and to hold you emotionally, while you hold it physically. I hope it brings joy to every day experience, and a story to the surface of objects of comfort and utility. The goal is a synchronistic exchange of connection, in which care and beauty are more present in daily life, and where complex human emotions might be made more discernible through light-hearted depictions of anthropomorphized animal subjects. 


Heidi McKay Casto lives and works in Iowa City, and is a member of the Ceramics faculty at the University of Iowa. Casto earned a BFA degree in Ceramics from The Ohio State University in 2002, and MA and MFA degrees from The University of Iowa in 2011. As Heidi McKay Designs, she creates sculpturally functional objects that feature a variety of playful design elements, anthropomorphic animal portraits, and vibrant colors. Her work has been featured extensively at venues such as Companion Gallery, The Clay Center of New Orleans, The Clay Art Studio in Port Chester, New York, Red Lodge Clay Center in Montana, The Clay Studio of Philadelphia, and The Strictly Functional Pottery National. Heidi McKay Casto was recently named a Ceramics Monthly 2022 Emerging Artist.