Larry Allen has worked as an artist for the past 35 years, honing his wheel-throwing and glazing techniques, all the while ceaseless in his enthusiasm for stoneware and the infinite possibilities of his craft.
Inspiration for his designs comes largely from African and Native American art. Larry makes each vessel from a special black stoneware clay—most of his pieces involve delicately carved designs.
Larry Allen was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He received a BA degree in Art from Berea College in Berea, Kentucky in May 1978. Larry has an art studio in Leeds, Alabama where he resides.
In addition to developing his unique, inspired pottery creations, Larry teaches pottery classes and travels for exhibitions. Larry displays his work throughout the year in numerous art festivals, mostly in the central and southeastern United States.
Larry's stoneware also can be found for purchase through the Parkway Craft Centers in North Carolina, The ZuCot Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia and the Christine Linson Gallery in Fairhope, Alabama.
An obsessive love of clay has led me to devote my life to being a potter. In 1973, I made my first pot and I knew I had found my calling.
Primitive handbuilding techniques have always interested me, but my training as a production potter left me little time for exploration.
The clay holds infinite possibilities. Mastering technique has led me to push the limits of form. Feeling the clay move, unlocking the secrets of its structural potential drives me to create.
I have come to think of my present work as a "Growth Series"- a stage of development that has taken me away from the foundation of my training as a functional potter and led me to a more artistic approach.
Ellen Cole currently works with Precious Metal Clay to create beautiful jewelry combining metal and stone. Her work in clay began many years ago but abruptly came to an end in 2004 when she contracted Lyme disease, which hindered her from throwing and handbuilding the pottery she so loved to make. Not long after she recovered from her illness, she discovered precious metal clay which worked well with her new found physical limitations and tapped into the skills she developed working with clay.
Ellen’s inspiration is taken from her childhood experience of exploring the woods near her family home in Mane. Her father would take her and her siblings for long walks in the woods where she loved looking at the small creatures and tiny flowers. You can easily see how she incorporates these elements in her jewelry creations.
Ellen sells her work throughout the US, Canada, and other countries and has been featured in national magazines for her work in jewelry.
Andre Gide says, “Pay attention only to the form; emotion will come spontaneously to inhabit it. A perfect dwelling always finds an inhabitant.”
Jennifer McCurdy tries to pay attention. She works with porcelain because of its fine qualities of light and shadow. She throws her forms on the wheel, and then alters the pieces by hand to create the soft shadows. Next, she carves the pieces to add energy and movement. The work is then fired to cone 10, where the porcelain becomes non-porous and translucent.
Jennifer received a BFA from Michigan State University in 1979. She has been selling her porcelain in art shows and galleries for the last forty years, and her work is included in the collections of several institutions, including the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY, and the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA. She maintains a studio in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. www.jennifermccurdy.com.
Studio Hosts - Keith Herbrand and Glenn Woods
In 2001, Keith moved from a retail management career to managing Glenn’s entrepreneurial dream to become a full time studio potter. Keith very quickly evolved into studio helper and then designer and creator of his own work.
Keith considers himself more of a crafts-person whose focus is utilitarian pieces. Keith notes, “I am very happy when a person picks up my work, marvels at how it feels in their hands and how perfectly comfortable it is to hold.”
Because Glenn uses high fire crystalline glazes, it was only natural for Keith to use the same materials. The biggest challenge he has is to find a way to use these same glazes in a way that is suitable for utilitarian pieces.
Glenn began working with clay in high school. He says his work has changed dramatically over the years but there seems to be a common thread that enables those who have collected his work to easily recognize them as his creation.
Glenn explains, “I am not consciously driven by elements of nature but discover after the piece is finished that my work embodies a blend of elements from nature as well as patterns found in quilts and hand crafted fiber creations: baskets, weave and crochet patterns.”
His pieces are made of a fine white stoneware or porcelain and finished with a gloss or matte crystalline glaze.
Trave the Tour - 2 Days, 5 Studios, 33 Artists
For more information and exact locations for all participating studios on the tour - go to: TampaTourDeClay.com or click the button below.