Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Posts Tagged ‘Ayumi Horie’

Ayumi Horie – Artist Interview!

Monday, May 9th, 2011

                  Porcelain mugs rabbits

It is my great pleasure to interview Ayumi Horie.  I have admired her work for some time and I’m thrilled to feature her on my blog!  She is one of my most favorite artists.  Her work is stunning and unique.   She is a mastermind at organizing her sales and fundraisers on the internet.   Her ideas are fresh, innovative and enormous!  Ayumi has a unique way of “dry throwing” her pots using no water.  She is the first potter I’ve seen do this.  She complements this freshness of form in the decorating process by preserving drips and fingerprint marks made during glazing and slipping. Then she finishes them with her wonderful animal drawings.

For more information please stop by Ayumi’s website.

 Today’s the debut of Ayumi’s Match Striker Video! Enjoy!


Tell us a little about yourself!

First and foremost, I’m a studio potter. From this base and with a lot of help from the internet, I branch out to do a number of things. In the last few months, I co-founded Handmade For Japan, which has so far raised almost $90,000 for disaster relief in Japan and I’ve also just made a new video. I typically teach half a dozen workshops yearly, serve of the board of directors at the Archie Bray and get most of my work out into the world through selling online. The idea of advancing craft to a wider audience is key to a lot of what I do. I live in the Hudson Valley about two hours from New York City and adjacent to a 112 year old deconsecrated church where I host studio sales and craft shows.

How did you become an artist?

Art was always present but I committed to it slowly and after a long courtship. When I was fifteen my dream was to shoot for National Geographic, so after college, I started freelancing as a photographer for several papers in Seattle. When it became clear to me that clay was the right medium for me, I dropped photography for a long time but in the end, it’s served me well as a way to engage ceramics with the world. I have a new love of it.

This is a special picture of Michael Connelly taken by Ayumi while they were residents at Archie Bray.

I’ve noticed that you collaborate with other artists frequently; would you tell us how the collaboration process works for you?

It starts with an excited scheme to make something that hasn’t been done before on some level and then it just moves into problem solving. It’s a matter of finding the right fit with someone and then responding intuitively to what they do. It’s a bit like a road trip; it’s always more fun to share an experience with someone, finding all the unexpected and amazing things that pop up in two minds instead of one.

Andy Brayman putting decals down.

What are the similarities and differences between Obamaware and the Handmade For Japan fundraiser?

The most important parallel is that both began at a low point where I had a feeling of being ineffectual and powerless. When the “light bulb” moment came, the goals were at once clear and compelling to me. Leading up to the 2008 election there was a collective feeling among liberals that if Obama didn’t get elected, the country was done for. We all wanted to help and be a part of that change he was touting and so contributing as artists, by doing what we love and are good at, was really exciting. On the other hand, Handmade For Japan was born more out of concern than hope. The morning after the earthquake in Japan, I sat at the kitchen table emailing Japanese friends and family to make sure they were all ok. Like many people, I was really worried and had an intense desire to help. The understanding that something needed to be done, and done quickly, was such a certainty that the next step was all about action and rallying people. In both fundraisers, it was easy to find people who wanted to help.

The fundraisers were different in the sense that Obamaware was a “commissioned” and themed auction spanning five weeks from conception to auction end, whereas HFJ happened in two weeks because it consisted of work that was available in the moment and had a dedicated team of three (and we were all working a full 18 hour day for weeks plus had volunteer help). I was so lucky to have Ai Kanazawa Cheung and Kathryn Pombriant Manzella as colleagues in Handmade For Japan because with them, our ambitions, capabilities, outreach, and effectiveness increased exponentially. Obamaware made almost $11,000; Handmade For Japan made over $75,757 in the auction and almost $90,000 to date for disaster relief in Japan. We’re also grateful for the institutional support we received. eBay and MissionFish waived their fees because we were donating 100% in the auction and GlobalGiving, the charity we chose, publicized the auction and has continued to support us immensely. I think that both fundraisers are great examples of the power that artists have to affect positive change through the mobilizing force of the internet and through the good will of people who support the arts.

Handmade For Japan East Coast Headquaters

Handmade For Japan East Coast Headquaters

I’ve noticed that the pots in your postcards have always been in “action”? Was this the start of the pots in action idea?
When I first set up my website in 2001, one of my central ideas was to show pots outside the standard gray gradated background. While gray works well to focus attention on the pot itself and has its place, it somehow felt disingenuous to present pots in this singular way. From writings by Mingei artists, the ceramics community had already absorbed the idea of every day beauty and so it seemed like a natural progression to show pots as they really are. Like any other object, they live in the world we present, as well as in our mess. They live off in the corner and then circulate on to the table with some lovely morsel of food on them. Underscoring their place in our imperfect realities and showing how people really fall in love with them felt like a great way to champion pots.

The idea of “Pots in Action” started with postcards, moved on to the website where I asked people to send in pictures of my pots in use, then expanded into using Google maps to plot the pictures, and finally has been explored via the new match striker video. Combining a modern medium like video with a timeless phenomenon like fire makes us see ceramics differently. We all know in the ceramics community how amazing pots are, so the charge now is to turn on handmade pottery to the rest of the world.

Ayumi Horie Match striker postcard 2010

What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?
Reflection is great, but good work doesn’t come from a lot of thought alone, so work every single day whether you want to or not. And don’t forget to turn off the cell phone, iphone, ipad, tv, computer, etc…and now if I could just listen to my own advice…


For more information on Handemade For Japan, please go to the website. 

Visit Handmade for Japan’s Facebook page.

Become come a Friend of Ayumi Horie Pottery on Facebook.

Handmade For Japan and Willie Nelson

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Things to do in Cheyenne today!

Option 1 -  Buy Willie Nelson tickets

Option 2 – Bid on artwork next Friday!  (Really the auction starts next Thursday, March 24.)

Thursday, March 24th, 8 pm EST- Sunday, March 27th, 8 pm EST on eBay.

I never thought my name would appear in the same headlines as Willie Nelson, but here you go, I have proof!  I don’t know how our local paper found out, about my participation in Handmade For Japan.  I hope it brings more people to the auction!

All kidding aside; Handmade For Japan’s mission is to raise money through an online auction on March 24-27 for relief efforts to assist the victims of Japan’s catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear emissions.
Handmade for Japan is an online auction of unique, handmade art donated by concerned, invited artists. One hundred percent of all net proceeds collected via the auction will be donated to Global Giving’s Earth and Tsunami Relief Fund.

Because of the urgency of the situation, the auction will begin on eBay on Thursday, March 24th and end on Sunday, March 27th. The auction items will be listed under the “Handmade for Japan” seller ID.

Previews of the auction items will be available in English and Japanese through Facebook pages and Twitter updates.

Handmade For Japan – an auction to help those affected by the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

Monday, March 14th, 2011


Ayumi Horie and Ai Kanazawa Cheung, and Kathryn Pombriant Manzella, has started Handmade For Japan, in response to the devastation of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami causing 10,000 plus deaths and unspeakable destruction of homes and cities.  Handmade For Japan, will be an eBay auction of handmade ceramic pieces that will raise money for the relief efforts.  100% of the auction will be donated to Global Giving’s Japan Earthquake And Tsunami Relief Fund.

You can visit Handmade For Japan’s Facebook page, which is available in English and Japanese, to preview items for sale.  Ayumi stated, “The situation in Japan is still very unstable and we’re working as hard as we can to gather good work and reach our $25,000 goal.”

The sale occurs on eBay under the “Handmade For Japan” seller ID.

Handmade For Japan’s benefit auction will start on

Thursday, March 24th, 8pm EST and close on Sunday March 27th, 8pm EST.

Please “like” the FB page Handmade for Japan, pass it on to your friends and bid!

Until then here are a few of the pieces that are for auction.

Shoko Teruyama

Shoko Teruyama

Jana Evans

Jana Evans

Beth Lo

Beth Lo

Connie Norman

My Donation

Christa Assad

Christa Assad

Akio Takamori

Akio Takamori

Caroline Cheng

Caroline Cheng

Junji Miyazawa

Junji Miyazawa


Good News!! 500 Vases and Ayumi Horie Pots in Action Contest!!

Monday, October 4th, 2010

"500 Vases" One of the title pages.

This has been a good week.  It started out, when I got home and found 500 Vases waiting for me in the mailbox; I was lucky enough to have all three of my submissions accepted in the book.  And I was thrilled to find my work on one of the title pages!!!

500 Vases page 22

500 Vases page 22

Here is what Lark Books says about the 500 Series book:

500 Vases was juried by the Julia Galloway.  The 500 Series is one of Lark’s most distinctive and popular lines, this is the series lovers of fine craftsmanship rave about. It provides an overview of the best contemporary work in fields such as ceramics, jewelry making, woodworking, and more. Each book is juried by an expert, features informative introductory text, and showcases spectacular images of state-of-the-art work. The first entry in the series, 500 Teapots, was published in 2002. Since then, 35 books have followed, and new titles release each season. With an international roster of contributors that includes both established names and up-and-coming craftspeople, each volume spotlights the shared and divergent approaches taken by artists who are producing visionary work. Filled with lavish photographs, these gorgeous books inspire crafters and collectors, artists and aficionados—anyone who enjoys celebrating the creative spirit.

500 Vases

500 Vases p142

500 Vases p195

500 Vases p195

Iam ecstatic to be a part of this inspirational book.  After looking at all the images of the book, I had to go work in my studio.  I had been taking time off from the studio, (excuses, excuse, excuses…) because I almost broke my finger (still swollen after a month), it’s the start of the school year, and I’m tired from my new school schedule.   I had a fantastic night in my studio, and I’m soooo excited to be working again.  Thank you Lark Books for getting me out of my back to school slump!!!

If you want the book here is a couple of links: and Barnes and

Other Good News!!

Ayumi's Pots in Action Contest 2nd Place

I believe Vander’s sweet little face was hard to resist, and the darling Lindsey!!

I found out I got second place in Ayumi Horie’s Pots in Action Contest. Last night when I found, my husband and I went to Ayumi’s website to see what I won.  As we were doing this Vander comes wandering over to see what we are doing and looks at the computer screen and says, “That’s my monkey cup.”  I can’t argue with that.  Vander has his first piece of amazing pottery in his collection.

Thank You Ayumi!!!  I love your work and our new Monkey Mug!!

Pots in Action Prizes

Thank you to everyone who voted for our picture!!

People have asked me if I was nervous that the camel was so close to Vander.   I am friends with the owners of the Terry Bison Ranch where we took the pictures, and called before we went out there, and asked if this idea was possible.  They wouldn’t let us in the field with camels, and one of the owners went with us to feed the camels.  She was right there just out of the picture at all times.  The camels are hand feed, trained for riding, but only one person rides them.

Here are some more pictures of the day.

Even if we didn’t win a prize the day was well worth it.  The kids had a blast.  We petted and played with so many animals that day.  It was great to have a guided tour of such a fun place.

Gates of Lodore on the Green River, Colorado and Utah

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

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My husband, Todd and I have been trying to get a permit to raft the Gates of Lodore for years, without much luck.  This year we were invited to raft with Bo Christensen, he runs the Intermountain Outdoor Institute, and Canyon River Adventures.  We went with our good friends and fellow rafters the Zane, Maura and their kids, Ryan, Robbie, Brandon, and Cory.  The reason it is so difficult to get a permit is the National Park Service only allows 50 people down the river a day.  We took four boats and two kayaks down.  We started out rafting the Green River, Lodore Canyon, in Colorado and four days later we were in Utah.  We covered 44 miles of the Dinosaur National Monument.  The Gates of Lodore was named by John Wesley Powell who was the first person to navigate the river in 1869.  We had an amazing time, the canyon is absolutely beautiful, the weather was wonderful, but the mosquitoes were ruthless.

At the end of this blog post and some here and there, you will see my photos of my Adventure Mug.  I took my Ayumi Horie mug along to try to photographic it along the way, for her Pots in Action Contest.  This mug is now very well traveled, and we traveled in style with it. 


Day One

Setting off for four days on the Green River.

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Of course we had to have beautiful pottery with us!

gates of ladore 020 Thanks Ayumi!!

Every night Maura treated to delicious cakes made in Dutch Oven in the fire pit.  Here is Bo and the kids making a sun dial, so Maura knows when it’s done.  If you notice the shadow is hitting the first stone, and the sun will move across the stones to mark 30 minutes.   And…Voila it’s done!

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The boats docked at Pot Creek, the first campsite. 

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Views of the utterly gorgeous canyon.  My pictures just don’t capture how pretty it was.

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Day Two

The boat mechanics…

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As we were waking up we found we had unexpected visitors.  A mouse was scurrying around and eventually hid under the raft.  The mouse had an audience from that point on, until we got on the river.  We saw so much wildlife on this trip, besides the mouse, we were lucky enough to see a bear, just after catching something to eat.  Watching the bear run up the cliff-side was really cool.  Also, we saw big horn sheep and entertained by a deer swimming across the river near our camp.  All the kids were thrilled to see all the wildlife, as well as the adults.  Unfortunately, no pictures because they did not come out too well.

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Scouting the rapids, Hell’s Half Mile, all the rapids were named by John Wesley Powell.  Some of the other rapids on the Green are Disaster Falls, Triplet Falls, Harp Falls and Greasy Pliers.  Many times Todd tells me, “Oh it’s not that bad, you’ll be fine.”  But with drops like “Lucifer Rock” and “S.O.B.” it doesn’t give me much confidence.  I’m a wimp, and I’m still looking for rapids named something like, Powder Puff Falls, Lemon Drop, or maybe Strawberry Swirl.  Then maybe I’ll get the nerve to go down some more difficult rapids. 

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Since I am a big scared-i-cat, I was more than willing to walk the kids around the rapids, while everyone else boated the rapids.  The kids had fun eating Gold Fish, exploring the flora and fauna of the river.

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Here is Todd’s solo run down Hell’s Half Mile.  Notice the first picture (top left) where Todd drops into the first hole.  That is a 16’ boat almost completely engulfed…that is a big hole.  Nice run Todd! 

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Who needs a water slide when you have a raft? 

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Vander catching some hang-time with Dad. 

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Looking back into the canyon, it was just amazing!

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Who needs a trampoline when you have a raft?  Bo is very athletic and entertained us all week with flips off of just about anything.  You name it, he flipped off of it. 

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Day Three

Who needs a bed, when you have a raft?  Zane and the girls sleep on Ryan’s raft on the second night at Rippling Brook. 

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Crawdads!!!!  I recommend catching crawdads for hours of kid entrainment.  Thanks to the genius of Bo and Cory.

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Steamboat Rock!  The Yampa river enters here on the left. 

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Day Four

We have all the kids in our boat today.  And yes, Pringles are a must, for an after breakfast treat. 

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Here’s the most of the group. 

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On the way to the take out, just after the rocks.  It was a great trip!!

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Adventure Mug!!!

I took one of my Ayumi Horie’s mugs to try to get photos to enter her Pots in Action contest.  Here are some of the photos of the mug while on it’s adventure.  It was fun to do.  By the end of the trip almost everyone had been photographed with the mug. 

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What photographs do you think I should submit to the Pots in Action Contest?