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#howiAMACO Insta Feature - Q&A with Heidi Fahrenbacher

Heidi Fahrenbacher

Instagram: @bellajoypottery


"Color enthusiast, cat owner, dog lover, orchid killer, slip caster" is how Michigan-based ceramic artist Heidi Fahrenbacher describes herself. We love many things about Heidi and her work, but what we are most drawn to her bold use of color. Heidi expertly incorporates black inlay with vibrant, painterly color blocking. Sometimes the inlay imagery offers structure to the color blocking; other times the color seems to have a mind of its own. Either way, Heidi's designs create fun and playful works of art.

What sparked your interest in working with clay?

I used to take drawing and painting classes at a local art center and the ceramics kids looked like they were having more fun. I got to take my first clay class when I was 15 and was hooked!

What inspires your work?

I am inspired by colors, listening to the radio, a lot of times I just make things that make me smile and hope to make others smile as well.

What do you love about clay?

That you take a lump of clay and make something you can use! I mean for real!? That’s amazing! I also love the whole history behind ceramics and like to think of all the people before me that created things from clay.

What is most challenging about working as a professional ceramic artist?

In the beginning, it was centering clay on the wheel. Geeze, that took some time to master. Then it was switching from throwing on the wheel to slip casting and making molds, I really hate that. Now it’s selling my work, because I get tired of ideas pretty fast and if I don’t like it it is very difficult for me to get excited about it.

Which AMACO products do you return to that inform your work?

I am a HUGE fan of AMACO Underglaze Pencils and used to exclusively use those to draw on all my work. I switched to decals a few years ago, but am in the process of reintroducing underglaze pencils into my work. I also love the underglazes! I use LUG-1 for my inlay (mishima) pieces and have used the underglazes for screen printing images on newsprint. The colors are so great! I use underglaze pencils to create a sense of joy by drawing silly images and underglaze to invoke simplicity and order.

If you weren't an artist, what would you be?

I would either work for the FBI or be a foot doctor.

What element do you most closely identify with?

Fluorine; I like brushing my teeth.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I would fly because I don’t like heights. If I could fly I wouldn’t be concerned about falling from great heights.