#2 Ayumi Horie

Ayumi Horie was nominated for our 40 Over 40 feature by Karen Krolak, winner of Feels Blind's first annual DIY Prize. When we read about the work she has done and is doing as a ceramic artist and the ways she utilizes her art to build community in dynamic and innovative ways, she was an obvious fit for our project.  

A full-time studio potter from Portland, Maine, Ayumi makes functional pots, mainly with drawings of animals. In 2015, she was awarded a Distinguished Fellow grant in Craft by the United States Artists and is the first recipient of Ceramics Monthly’s Ceramic Artist of the Year award. She also has taught workshops and given lectures at universities, art centers and residencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Her current project, The Democratic Cup, raises money for progressive causes and promotes civic engagement through the sale of limited-edition handmade cups of such figures as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bell hooks, Sojourner Truth, and Bernie Sanders. This is familiar territory for Ayumi, as she curated and organized Obamaware in the fall of 2008, a fundraiser involving 27 nationally known ceramic artists who created Obama-themed work to be auctioned to raise money for the Obama/Biden campaign. 

You can order some of her work directly from her website, including a new tenigui based on an old Edo-era Japanese plate in honor of the year of the Rat.  

                           Photo: Michael D. Wilson

From her bio, Ayumi Horie shares that she "grew up in the 1970’s in Lewiston/Auburn, Maine, 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." -LC