Ayumi Horie
photo: Michael D Wilson

Ayumi Horie is a full-time studio potter from Portland, Maine who makes functional pots, mainly with drawings of animals. In 2022, she was the recipient of the Maine Craft Artist Award from the Maine Craft Association and is featured in the PBS show, Craft in America. In 2015, she 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. This year, 2020, she was awarded an Honorary Member at NCECA for “outstanding  contribution” to the field. 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 has served on the board of directors at the Archie Bray Foundation and American Craft Council. Currently, Ayumi is President of the board of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Her work is in various collections throughout the US, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York City.

She has worked on a number of projects over the years. They include:

In 2021, Ayumi approached the Center for Craft about creating a fellowship opportunity that supports scholarship and archival research around underrepresented and non-dominant craft narratives. Launched in 2022, the Craft Archive Fellowship will support narratives from feminist, intersectional, queer, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander perspectives, along with others not listed here. Read an interview with Ayumi.

Sexism in Ceramics, a 2021 panel discussion about sexism and misogyny in ceramics, brought together two potters, an art historian, and a lawyer to examine the field’s roots in the patriarchy, how it continues to influence studio culture today, and ways to fight it. Also check out Highfire Feminism

Pots In Action, a thematic Instagram feed that many topics within ceramics and were guesthosted by artists and curators all over the world. It was retired in 2019 and is hoping to raise $9000 to make it into a functional, searchable website about global ceramics. Read her recent essay about the project.

The Democratic Cup, a slow activism project that aimed to bring people together over a cup of coffee to discuss difficult political and social issues and promote civic engagement. Forty nine artists worked on the project over the course of four years.

Portland Brick, a collaborative public art project, which tells the story of the India Street neighborhood in Portland through 30 very human stories stamped into bricks installed in the sidewalks on and off India St.

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 disaster 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 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. As a side interest, she started a Facebook group called the International Society of Woodstack Enthusiasts and if want to know how to pronounce her name, just ask her father.