Gwyn Hanssen Pigott was born in Ballarat, Australia, and studied fine art at Melbourne University. She developed an interest in Asian ceramics and particularly Song dynasty Chinese pottery. She became an apprentice of the pioneering potter Ivan McMeekin at his Mittagong studio in New South Wales. In 1958 she travelled to Britain, making the journey down to St Ives.
In 1960 she and her then husband, Louis Hanssen set up a workshop in Notting Hill, London. Then in 1966, following the end of her marriage, she moved to France, establishing a pottery in the Loire valley, at Achères, making domestic ware in rich glazes, elegantly potted porcelain and stoneware pieces. In 1973 she returned to Australia, setting up a studio in Tasmania with her second husband, John Pigott, experimenting with wood firing, although she want on to concentrate on porcelain alone, working with celadons, orange and ochre surfaces.