Ayumi Horie is a full-time studio potter from Portland, Maine who makes functional pots, mainly with drawings of animals. She is the first recipient of Ceramics Monthly’s Ceramic Artist of the Year award. She has taught workshops and given lectures at many universities, art centers and residencies in the U.S. and abroad, including the Archie Bray Foundation, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Greenwich House Pottery, Penland School of Crafts, Peter’s Valley, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, the Northern Clay Center, and the International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark. She served on the board of directors at the Archie Bray Foundation for nine years, where she was a resident for two years between 1996 and 1998, and is now on the board of the American Craft Council. Her work is in various collections throughout the US, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. Currently, she is collaborating on a public art project, Portland Brick, in Portland, Maine.
In the fall of 2008, Ayumi curated and organized Obamaware, a fundraiser involving the work of 27 nationally known ceramic artists who made Obama-themed work specifically for the event. Put together in five short weeks, the three day auction held at the end of October, just before the election, raised $10,843.54 for the Obama/Biden campaign. In 2011, just after the Great East Japan earthquake, she co-founded Handmade For Japan which to date has raised over $100,000 for diaster relief in Japan. Ayumi received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, her B.F.A. in ceramics from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and her M.F.A. in ceramics from the University of Washington.
Ayumi Horie grew up in the 1970’s in Maine in an old mill town where huge brick factories lined the river. She learned to love working with her hands early on as her Japanese family fished, gardened, cooked, and often visited the beach. She learned about the materiality of the world through explorations in both the woods and in old attics where antiques were piled high. Her hand-eye coordination developed through many hours spent playing ball games, mini-golf, and Atari. The refrigerator was always crammed full of food and the table laid with dozens of Corningware dishes loaded with everything from sushi to apple pie. With a childhood like this, it’s only natural that Ayumi grew up to become a potter. As a side interest, she started a Facebook group called the International Society of Woodstack Enthusiasts.
My work enriches connections between people and their communities, serving both a physical purpose and as a vehicle to open the softer side of a person. I want to explore individual vulnerability by drawing images that invoke an emotional response and also explore how public art invites a community to deepen their link to one another and to their sense of home.
My work has multiple directions- functional ceramics, ready-made textiles (coming soon!), photography, social media and social practice. My primary work for the last twenty years has been that of a studio potter. I use imperfections in form as evidence of human vulnerability to link the user to the maker. I am interested in the anti-masterpiece and the anti-monumental, because I think one kind of meaningful connection to an object, and by extension another person, takes place through daily interaction in intimate domestic spaces.
My pottery, photography, and my public art project, Portland Brick, reflect my interest in relational aesthetics. Much of my work is given as gifts, and the social exchange aspect of my practice overlaps with my explorations in community projects that have participatory elements, storytelling components, and even fundraising goals supporting social change.
More information about Ayumi can be found at: ayumihorie.com