Aimee Belanger is a Boston-based teacher and artist who has worked in many different mediums including painting, ink, and (of course) clay. We were attracted to the simple lines, high contrast, and imagery of her wares. Pictures of her work often pair it with smudge sticks and crystals, creating an eclectic and otherworldly feel that compliments the runic, lunar, and elemental imagery found in her plates and pendants.
How did you come to be interested in working with clay?
I was trained as a painter, and most of my work up until a few years ago was two-dimensional. I began teaching at a high school with a clay curriculum, and had to learn how to handbuild on the fly. I started making small pieces like cups and beads that I could fire with my student’s work. When a colleague taught me about sgraffito, I was hooked. Being able to combine drawing with clay gave me a bridge between the 2D and 3D worlds.
What inspires your work?
My work is inspired by how humans use symbols to connect with each other and the world. I teach at an art museum, so I get to spend a lot of time looking at Egyptian hieroglyphs, Grecian vases, Yoruba pottery, Islamic tiles, and Korean celadon. I am inspired by how different groups throughout history have used the surfaces of their work to communicate with words, images, and patterns.
What’s your favorite thing about clay?
The first thing I sculpted was a small hand. I have since sculpted over a hundred of them. Working with clay, I feel like I have a different experience each time. I can make the same forms over and over and never get it quite right and still never get bored.
Which AMACO products do you always find yourself going back to? How do these products speak to your work?
I always use AMACO’s Velvet Underglazes. I love having a matte, flexible surface to draw into. I make high contrast designs, and AMACO underglazes allow me to draw crisp lines. The Potter’s Choice glazes are perfect for my more sculptural work, because they are beautiful at any thickness. The variation in color and texture that can be achieved with these glazes always yields interesting and exciting results.
What's your favorite novel?
Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut. It's not his best book, but it's my favorite. It's narrated by a fictional abstract expressionist, Rabo Karabekian, who struggles with making meaningful art. It talks a lot about relationships between artists and their work and the value and shortcomings of postmodernism.