First Annual Big Island Clay Exhibit
From the Chairman, Stephen Freedman
A few generations ago our professions left us with surnames such as Fisher, Carpenter, Barber, Shoemaker, and Potter. Those trade names – now all nearly extinct lines of work, reflect an estrangement from our human nature, and the products of our labor. The joy we once derived from all of those natural activities, the vocations which supported our hunter-gatherer ancestors, have been specialized and sent to factories, or outsourced to other countries.
The first annual Ceramics Festival at the East Hawaii Cultural Center brings together our community’s makers and users of pottery to remind us of our primordial connection with clay, a medium which has distinctly characterized civilizations since prehistory. An English soup bowl or teacup is different from a Japanese soup bowl or teacup, because our cultures developed in response to different environments, and cuisines.
Our melting pot of cultures has given rise to diverse approaches ceramics. From artists such as Clayton Amemiya whose roots are in traditional Japanese anagama pottery made in a wood-fired tunnel kiln, to contemporary figurative sculptor Amber Aguirre, to Volcano inspired functional potter, Emily Herb, dozens of techniques, styles and approaches are featured in this exhibition .
When it comes to craft, factories are fast, specialization is efficient, and outsourcing is cheap, but we end up with products that reflect common global standards, not the unique needs of our community. More importantly, we lose touch with the joy of making things, and with those special relationships that home-grown enterprise can build. Arts and crafts generated within our community are made to suit our taste and usage, and reflect our uniqueness.