Katie feels most at home in her studio space in the Lake Merritt District in Oakland, California. She grew up in Southern California and fell in love with ceramic art in high school. After studying Sociology and Political Science at UCLA and following her dreams of competing as a division one athlete on the track team she, traveled to Denmark to work as an artist assistant. As a mostly self-taught artist she finds her inspiration from movement, people, and society. Katie is fascinated movement in any form, as well as the quest to understand how people choose to move about their world, she sees a story, and a point of connection amongst people. Working with clay is work in creation. Raw earth and fire combine to form objects that serve us and connect us.Clay teaches us every time we work with it. It is not just about the creative process, but about the self.
This project aims to unite people through our collective, shared experience. We move through life in our bodies as individuals. And yet much of our identity is shaped by the people around us. What they do. What they say. And how they make us feel. The words we speak have power and sometimes - even if we do not realize it - words ignite a fire. We All Drink From the Same Cup Project is about recording our history and recognizing that we are not alone in our struggles, inspirations, and decisions. This project interacts with community in public spaces. Katie brings a table, fresh clay, and cups from previous events to ...passersby a chance to write on a freshly made cup “to write words that someone told you in your told that compelled you to make a change, words that shifted the trajectory of your life”.
Full Project Description
This project started in 2015 at the Mix Media Art Mixer in Berkeley, CA where I had a simple table setup and only a few ceramics tools. I rolled a thin slab of clay while the event was going on and quickly constructed a few cups. As people approached I would ask them to think of a time when someone told you “something” that compelled you to make a change in their lives, something that shifted your trajectory. It couldn’t be their favorite quote or a mantra they lived their lives by, but something specific to them as an individual. As each person stepped up, took the needle tool and carved into wet clay, the interactive installation became. Each cup has carved writing from multiple people. Phrases that were inspiring, beautiful, funny, traffic and some cruel or disheartening. I took the cups home at the end of the evening, fired them, and glazed them for the following event, to repeat the project from the month prior. Each time I would bring the culmination of cups and as people pick them up to read what their community had written their reactions were united in the cups which they held.
“Ah man! I needed to hear that today!”
“I have a friend who needs this cup…”
Some of the already completed cup phrases:
“Work is love made visible”
“You’re under arrest.”
“Don’t be too good to smile”
“How do you feel about open relationships?”
“Just keep swimming”
“You’re a slut”
“You’ll never learn how to read”
So far, there are 30 cups in existence at the time of writing this proposal. There have been people of participated and/or read the cups with a rainbow to backgrounds. There have been people of all races, genders, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and even one dog. Though my own personal experience with this project, and knowing all the stories that accompany each phases has been extremely eye opening for me. Complete strangers will opening up and trust me with these moments in their lives where were transformed, some involve death, love, loss of a loved one, accidents, pain, grief, and beauty. I find that every time I hit the stress there is someone who offers me advice of which I never even asked for, and it changes me as an artist. The purpose of this project is to share these struggles and the words that helped others get through them. We many not have the exact same life experiences but we can still empathize through reaching out and handing someone a cup, or powerful words.
We All Drink From the Same Cup will travel to major cities in the US, starting with the West Coast, and including small towns along the way. The location will be spontaneous with recommendations from locals. Each location will have a small table set up to roll the clay to make fresh cups so people can see how they are made as well as partake in the making. All of the cups will then be transported back to my studio space in Oakland, CA where they will be fired and glazed. The particular glaze that I use reveals slight fingerprints, the grip from the writer, the carvings from each participant, and the indentations from the table.
The final product is an interactive installation of 1,000 cups. Each cup has been written on by multiple people and held by multiple has all over the United States. This is a historical record of human the human experience captured something as simple to sustain a life...the cup. The writing on the cup represents words spoken out loud to each author, which has changed their lives. The final installation shows a collection of point in which a life has been changed. The creation of the cup is also part of the art itself. The final display will be in a Gallery space in Oakland, CA where the project originated. There is no set date and location for the installation because of the duration of the project.
All the cups will be on display and available for purchase, there will also, naturally be a space where people can continue making these cups and contribute their words as well. To record this project there will be many photographs taken along the way, as well as video recorded interviews of participants, telling their own stories behind what they wrote, along with what it was like to pick up a cup that they hadn’t written on. Each cup will be digitally scanned and saved so that once each cup is purchased they remade or available for viewing on www.samecup.com
Ancient ceramic artifacts has told the story of our human history. Along with the records that clay keeps, it has also been one of the most influential ways that we have survived as a species, to carry water and food. Now, this ancient technology carries our inspirations, thoughts, and struggles.
Timeline: Continuous - December 2017