The Democratic Cup is the brainchild of Maine potter and activist Ayumi Horie. She approached me with this grand idea of creating cups designed by studio potters that would be conduits for conversations of progressive issues. Potters understand the power of the mug as a tool for empathy and Ayumi decided to create a project where we could create an awareness of progressive issues to navigate a tumultuous political landscape. She asked me to handle the production of the mugs through The Bright Angle. We designed a system to translate designs from other studio potters and illustrators into an object that can be replicated and sold to the public. Ultimately the vision is to have objects create a safe space to share experiences and raise money for progressive nonprofits.
The project has been really exciting for a few reasons. The primary reason has been our opportunity to be involved in creating a collection of work that acts as a platform for social engagement. Secondly, it has been interesting to see models designed by studio potters translated into canvases for progressive narratives and to see the public response to each of the cups to gauge the relevance of the issues that are depicted. As we move forward with the project, we have shifted our mission from focusing on progressive issues pertaining to the 2016 election to a reaction to the outcome of the election. We realize that many of these progressive issues will be neglected by the incoming government and it is our mission to break the barriers of the echo chamber and to continue to create vessels that stimulate important conversations.
We have embraced our role in the Democratic Cup project - in The Bright Angle Studio I have a great crew of incredibly talented makers to execute the process. We live in a disposable culture and the Bright Angle aims to design and produce things of substance that are more than just useless objects. We will continue to balance philanthropic projects while working on pushing the bounds of what the studio can do. We also plan on working with other studio artists on realizing their designs.