Artist Statement

I have been actively making things out of clay since 1974 when I first found myself distracted by a potter's wheel. In the intervening years, I had a successful career as a modern dancer but clay has always been a component in my creative life.

My current work is an exploration of space. Urban environments, their pathways and the light glinting off of structures play an important role in the concept of my pieces. I think of the overall designs as constructions of vectors, building up in three dimensions or laying flat in two. Just like a city, my work is a place in motion and a place to move within. Sometimes this manifests as the object itself -- a bowl or cup that captures the gestures it is made from. Sometimes it's the markings I paint and draw on my surfaces, evoking the paths we take as we move through the day. Either way, the main purpose of my work is to inspire curiosity and action. If it's a drawing of a line, let it lead you in a direction. If it's a cup and it happens to hold water, go ahead and take a sip.

My artistic career began as a dancer. I earned a B.F.A. in Dance from North Carolina School for the Arts in 1984. That same year I embarked on a 15-year performing career dancing and choreographing original works as a member of Nikolais Dance Theatre, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, among others.

I have exhibited my work nationally and have done many commissions for corporate and private spaces.

Recent Exhibitions

"Julia Terr Annual", 2012 - Gallery 212, Sonoma, CA
"Not Just For The Office", 2012 - Katie Gingrass Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
"Small Favors VII", 2012 - The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
"Good Company", 2012 - Petaluma Art Center, Petaluma, CA
"What in the World", 2011 - Commerce Bank of California, Lafayette, CA
"Fire and Ice", 2011 - Petaluma Art Center, Petaluma, CA
"ACGA @ DAC", 2011 - Davis Art Center, Davis, CA
"White", 2011 - Katie Gingrass Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
"Five Dimensions", 2010 - Katie Gingrass Gallery, Milwaukee, WI
"Eight From ACGA", 2010 - Davis Art Center, Davis, CA
"Objects of Virtue", 2009 - Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
"Small Ceramic Wonders", 2009 - Crossman Gallery, Whitewater, WI
"CraftForms", 2008 - Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA
"Drawn Lines", 2008 - Idyllwild Gallery of Fine Art, Idyllwild, CA
"Flatlanders", 2008 - Richard L.Nelson Gallery - UC Davis, Davis, CA
"New West Coast Design", 2008 - SF Museum of Craft + Design, San Francisco, CA
"Plates and Platters", 2007 - Pewabic Pottery Gallery, Detroit, MI
"American Craft Council Show", 1997-2011, Baltimore, MD
"Assoc of Clay and Glass Artists", 2001-2011, Palo Alto, CA
"Small Works", 2006 - Red Dot Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM
"Clay, Color and Composition", 2005 - Idyllwild Gallery of Fine Art, Idyllwild, CA

Commissions and Collections

Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA
Fratello Restaurant, Milwaukee, WI
Grand Hyatt Hotel, Atlanta GA
Hyatt Miami at the Blue, Miami, FL
Kitsap Credit Union, Bremmerton, WA
Lake Buena Vista Hotel, Orlando,FL
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
MayoSeitz Media, Blue Bell, PA
New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY
Northwest Mutual, Milwaukee, WI
Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong
Renaissance Suites, Washington, DC
SF MOMA Museum Store, San Francisco, CA
Sodexo USA, Gaithersburg, MD
Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Milwaukee, WI
U.S. Embassy, Ottawa, Ontario
Valley Health Center, Milpitas, CA
Wilkes Bashford, San Francisco, CA
Wyndham Hotel, Tampa, FL


2011 - Award of Excellence, American Craft Council - San Francisco
2009 - Third Place, Ceramics, Scottsdale Arts Festival
2005 - First Place, Members Show, Art Alliance of Idyllwild


"Profile - James Aarons" - handful of salt (November 2011)
"The Journey - James Aarons' long-time dance with ceramics" - American Craft (August, 2011)
"Contemporary Objects at the SF Museum of Craft + Design" - American Craft (February, 2008)
"Up Front" - Ceramics Monthly (February 2008)
"American Art Collector" - Alcove Books (2006-9)
"Fascinating Art" - Amador Ledger Dispatch (June 2005)
"The Gallery" - Clay Times (September 2002)
"Hands in Clay" by John Toki - Mayfield Publishing Company (1999)
"A Crafty Trio" - San Francisco Examiner/Habitat (August, 1997)
Table & Cadeau International (October, 1995)
"What's New" - San Francisco Chronicle (August 2, 1995)
Bon Apetit (April, 1995)
"90s Pastiche" - San Francisco Examiner Magazine (May 15, 1994)