Call to Action by Ayumi Horie and Tess Mattern

In the wake of #metoo in ceramics, @potsinaction encourages every ceramics and craft organization to adopt and establish clear and unambiguous policies regarding inclusivity, diversity, and safety. It’s high time that leaders and educators in our field commit to more actively creating environments that are welcoming and safe to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, culture, disabilities, religion, age and socioeconomic status. While we have made progress, more work is needed. Ceramic machismo and its perniciousness within clay culture has been tolerated for far too long.

Don’t assume that your programming is without bias or that you’ve done all you can do. Instead, be active in the education of your trustees, staff, and writers about the damage done from bias, prejudice, microaggressions, harassment, and assault. Hire staff and elect trustees who mirror the breadth of diversity in this country. We understand that organizations are slow-moving ships and that it takes time to craft statements that reflect the core values and uniqueness of organizations. Much of the important work done by art orgs happen outside the realm of social media, but posting publicly on this issue matters deeply. While an overnight response is not expected, this is a call to action to get the ship turning on all platforms.
If you are part of an organization, institution, or school, speak up! Demand transparency and clarity about what steps they are taking to be more inclusive, diverse, and safe for those who don’t have equal privileges. Victims and survivors need practical tools and support for where to go when an incidence takes place. For those of you who have reposted about #metoo in ceramics – thank you! Now take the next step to compose your own statement or tell your #metoo story as a way to crack open the field and let in the light. If you have been part of this field, support survivors of sexual harassment by believing them and speaking out to change institutional policies.
Image of Viola Frey, a powerhouse woman who worked within the male-dominated California expressionist ceramics movement of the 1960s.
Viola Frey (1933 – 2004) is not defined by her obstacles. She was internationally known and revered during her lifetime and her monumental figures have made a profound mark on the art world internationally. However, in her 1995 @archivesamerart oral history transcript, she recounts the many ways she worked at a “double disadvantage.” She faced obstacles her male counterparts were unburdened by, including securing studio space, having her work dismissed or derided, and feeling isolated as a woman operating outside the “macho thing.” In the classroom, she says, “The feminist-type art had no chance at all.” Excerpts from her oral history:
VIOLA FREY: Yeah. And it sort of did dominate. Sometimes the faculty even would just attack in such a gross way that the student would be weeping, they’d be so upset at the way they were treated. It was pretty ugly.
PAUL KARLSTROM: This is male faculty?
VIOLA FREY: Yes. They could not. . . . They would just say, “I cannot critique or look at a work like this.” A #metoo message from the past. Photo by Michael Macor. — @ayumihorie and @tessmattern


call for artists: Pottery Assistant required


Who Should Apply
I’m seeking an assistant who cares about quality in all aspects and forms. The applicant should be curious, a hard worker, direct communicator, self-motivated, respectful, be able to hustle, and be detail oriented. Applicants with academic degrees outside of the fine arts are encouraged. Someone with experience in 3D modeling and mold-making would be a plus, but not necessary.  The relationship between potter and assistant is an intimate one and needs to be the right fit personality-wise.  A sense of humor and ability to learn from mistakes with humility are a must. I’ve had many different assistants with a variety of skill sets, I can meet people where they’re at. I do require a positive, can-do attitude and love it when assistants are open and honest about their opinions.

Time and Timing
1-3 days of work a week with flexible daytime hours. No studio space or board is provided, and pay depends on experience. I value my quiet work time and find that having space apart makes for a better relationship for both parties. There are studio spaces in town that can be rented. Flexible start date between August 15 and September 15, with a two week trial period to make sure we have a good fit. One-year commitment.

Responsibilities include all aspects of studio maintenance- preparing clay (applicant should be able to occasionally wedge 25 pound of clay), production using a RAM press, glazing, mixing slips and glazes, decaling, loading and unloading kilns, photographing and videographing, data entry, packing and shipping, research and copy writing. If you have 3D modeling and mold making skills, we’d be utilizing these as well. If you don’t know some of these things, it’s alright as long as you’re a fast learner and detail-oriented. Possibly some marketing as well, depending on skill level. Having a car is highly recommended, but not necessary as I’m on a bus route ten minutes from downtown Portland.

What You’ll Learn
You’ll be part of all aspects of the making process from start to finish and learn how a small business operates. I always have multiple side projects that I need help with. I’m very open about all the marketing and the strategy behind it. Depending on your interest, we can go further into social media and online presence.

How to Apply
Apply here.  Rolling application until August 1. Please take your time answering questions to the best of your ability. I value thoroughness and will review the applications as they come in. If you need an answer back within a certain time frame, please let me know. If you are a selected candidate, I will set up a Google Hangout interview with you. Please feel free to contact me with questions. Thanks and good luck!


movie day: Ramen Making by Ayumi Horie


The cooking and making of dragon and Menbachi Bozu ramen bowls by Ayumi Horie.

Special thanks to Ai Kanazawa, Chloe Horie, Janine Grant, and all the educators at the New Works session at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for their participation, support and advice.

have you heard? Ayumi Horie on The Craft School Experience Podcast

Ayumi Horie is a
potter, maker, and activist living and working in Portland, Maine. She
is also a social media innovator in the craft world and the curator of
the popular Instagram feed Pots In Action (@potsinaction).Recently, as a
recipient of the United States Artist Fellowship, she has turned her attention to learning and including digital and industrial processes in her work.

MUST SEE: The Democratic Cup

What Can Happen Over a Cup of Coffee?

The Democratic Cup is a political fundraiser that aims
to stimulate dialogue, energize individual voices, and raise money for
seven progressive causes. The cups have been collaboratively made by
ceramic artists and illustrators based in the US who want to counteract
the divisive and hateful rhetoric of this year’s presidential election.
The Democratic Cup believes that these cups will act as agents of social
change by generating positive political discourse. On Tuesday,
September 20th, we’ll launch the shop and open up for pre-sales of cups. 

Our Mission

The mission of The Democratic Cup is twofold: raise money for
progressive nonprofit organizations and create a more genuine and
respectful dialogue in American political discourse. A democratic and
familiar object, the coffee cup, will act as a catalyst for social
change and true dialogue.

The Organizers

The Democratic Cup is the brain-child of Ayumi Horie in Maine and Nick Moen
in North Carolina. Makers with an interest in social practice, they
joined forces as a way to make a positive contribution to the political
dialogue in this year’s presidential election. Ayumi has gathered
together 26 of the best ceramic artists and illustrators in the US to
collaborate on cups and Nick is heading up the fabrication team at his
new design production studio, The Bright Angle.

Social Engagement

The Socially Engaged Craft Collective will continue in the long tradition of conversations over coffee by using the cups in a series of public and private acts.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Anna Metcalfe and Janine Grant for their research on this project and Laurie Harris for her photographs from The Bright Angle.



A graphic illustration that speaks to progressive values and opens the door to conversation.


The drawing should be:
-one color
-at least 4″ high and a maximum width of 8″
-300 dpi, preferably larger
-the original art should be drawn to scale, no substitutions if you are chosen

How To Submit

Submissions will only be accepted through Instagram and Facebook.

Deadline: Tuesday, September 27, midnight EST


Voting continues until Tuesday, October 4th, midnight EST. You can vote
for multiple submissions, but not vote more than once per entry. You
need not submit to participate in voting.


Winners will be notified on October 5th. One top winner will be chosen
by popular vote and five with be chosen by The Democratic Cup.


Lewd or inflammatory images will be removed.

Find out more about the project on their website: