The ‘Power of Two’ is one of my all time favourite songs by the Indigo Girls. My sister and I would sing it together when we were younger and fantasise about driving around the country in a Volkswagon campervan being singer songwriter rockstars.
It’s a love song, but I catch myself humming it whenever I’m working alongside another artist or working on a community arts project, and if you think about it, all creative projects are labours of love, so a love song is completely appropriate. Like many potters I usually work alone in the studio, and I’m used to it, but there’s nothing better than bouncing around creative ideas with kindred spirits and running with them in full flight together.
I’ve been involved in a number of collaborative projects lately, and most recently I worked on The Australian Ceramics Open Studios on The North Coast Mud Trail. It’s a great example of what we can achieve when we set aside our massive egos (let’s not fool ourselves!), pool our resources and talents, and work together. There’s no doubt about it, we’re steadily building a clay community here on the NSW north coast, and it’s exciting to watch it grow. You might like to read arts writer, Jane Denison’s beautiful story about The Mud Trail for Verandah Magazine here, because I can’t say it any better than she has already!
And coming up this week is the highly anticipated ‘Cup Collaboration’. It’s a massive project orchestrated by ceramic artist Adriana Christianson. The project has brought together 62 potters across the world to make cups together! Geeeeesus! I think my ideas are mad and ambitious, but Adriana’s ideas are certified CRAY CRAY! And THANK. GOD. FOR. ADRIANA. It’s precisely this sort of creative ‘craziness’ the world needs to make it liveable. She has been our a clay matchmaker, pairing us with potters that we might never have dared make pots with. If you’re in Melbourne, don’t miss the show! The 2016 Cup Collaboration is open from 12-18 September at The Box Hill Art Centre. Check out the collaborations online here.
As I’m writing this, my kiln ‘Woody’ is cooling and I’m willing him to cool faster. As always, I’m full of anticipation to see the results, because inside are hundreds of tiny porcelain plates. However, this kiln load is extra special because the plates I’ve made are singing the supporting line, for on every surface are sweet melodies laid down by the loaded brushes of children, mums and dads, and artists who visited the studio during the Mud Trail to make their mark on clay. Our collaborations will be on exhibition from 24 September – 1 October in the Fantastic Flying Saucer Show at SugarMill Studios in Murwillumbah.
Collaborations aren’t always plain sailing of course! Conflicts will and do occur, and I’m the first to admit that collaborations have blown up painfully in my own face. Things don’t always go to plan; my sister and I never did become rockstars, and our first car was a second hand Toyota Camry! Despite all the things that don’t go our way when we come together in Art and love, the Indigo Girls taught me a good lesson; making rich harmonies with other humans (even if the shit hits the fan) is infinitely better than sticking to your old tired tune alone.
About some of the people in this post
Ayumi Horie is an award winning ceramic artist, and social activist based in Portland, Maine. She is also the creative director of the world renowned online community Pots in Action : www.ayumihorie.com Most recently she has launched The Democratic Cup, a collaborative project between potters and illustrators to counteract the hateful rhetoric of the 2016 U.S Presidential Election: www.thedemocraticcup.com
The Cup Collaboration opens Monday 12 September and runs until 18 September at The Box Hill Art Centre, 470 Station St, Box Hill, VIC.
The Fantastic Flying Saucer Show opens Saturday 24 September at 3pm and runs until 1 October, at Sugar Mill Studios, Shop 4, 15 Commercial Rd, Murwillumbah