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MCAC BEST IN SHOW Award Recipient
2019 – selected by Juror, Hallie Ringle, Hugh Kaul Curator of Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
2018 – selected by Juror, Nico Munuera, Artist, Valencia, Spain
2016
– selected by Juror, Paul Kremer, Artist, Houston, TX

The first time I saw a vessel formed on the potter’s wheel it fascinated me and I still love the process after all these years. As far as inspirations, I am moved by Native American and African designs. I use them as a springboard for my designs. The aftermath of 911 gave me the message that I wanted to put in my work. The tragic event was a unifying moment, and so I use the message of the moment in my designs. I call them unity motifs. People linked together around the vessel.

My pottery is “wheel thrown” and most of it involves a technique known as Sgraffito. This is a sophisticated method of incising designs onto leather-hard clay that has been completely covered with a colored slip. Most of my designs are inspired by African and Native American work. I have exhibited and sold my work throughout the United States. ALL of the work from start to finish is done solely by me.

BIO: Larry has spent decades perfecting the glazes and techniques you can find today in his art work. All of his pottery is wheel-thrown and mostly involves a technique known as Sgraffito. This is a sophisticated method of incising designs onto leather-hard clay that has been completely covered with a colored slip (clay solution).

All vessels are made out of stoneware clay. The clay is a “special black” clay. After the vessels are formed they are covered with a slip solution that is mixed and after the slip has stiffened on the vessel it is covered with a wax coating. This allows the carving of designs into the clay. The vessels are bisque fired, then the interior is glazed and fired again to maturity. In the final stage, Larry highlights each piece with a low fire red glaze and refires each piece.

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 2007 one of Larry’s vases was presented on behalf of the Alabama State Council on the Arts as a gift to Pulitzer Prize winner and author, Harper Lee.

2024 Festival

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41st Annual MCAC

April 26-28, 2024