James Aarons

"My ceramic objects are intended to add dynamics and energy to our surroundings. Each is an item to interact and live with. Earthenware is an ideal clay body for achieving a balance of function, form, and color, which I explore to its fullest."

James Aarons is devoted to exploring the unexpected possibilities of ordinary clay. Whether taking the form of a ubiquitous bowl, a kaleidoscopic composition, or an expressive ceramic painting, clay speaks for what it is. Through the strength of its character, clay can take on a form that seems to be something else—but it is still clay. Recently, James joined creative forces with visual artist and filmmaker Mark Taylor. Under the moniker Imaginary Lamp Empire, they work together to design and build one-of-a-kind lamps that combine ceramic and found objects with meticulously sewn paper shades.

Every piece begins as a ball of clay. Aarons feels strongly about making his works by hand, one at a time. The labor and natural slowness of the process add nuance to each piece by ensuring that no two works are identical. Repetition of shape and texture is key to the ease of using an object, but as each is made individually, it stands as an individual.

Aarons has been making things out of clay since he first discovered the potter's wheel in 1974. In the intervening years, he had a successful career as a modern dancer before returning his creative energies to clay.

Selected Exhibitions & Awards
American Craft Council Show, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, 2019