(guest artist with Amanda W. Mathis)
Stoneware and porcelain pottery
“I am primarily a self-taught potter,” says Larry Spears.
Don’t let that fool you. Larry’s work is accomplished, technically impressive, and beautiful. He has been crafting wheel-thrown stoneware and porcelain pottery for more than 30 years, and over that time has studied with professional potters from the United States and Europe.
Larry is a potter whose unusual teapots and functional items are widely sought by collectors for their unique shapes and glazes. He has been recognized with awards at art exhibitions and art fairs.
He develops all his own glazes and often combines several glaze techniques in a single piece. He holds up a large bowl whose colors and textures seem to drip and flow organically on its surface.
“This is an ash glaze,” he says, pointing at a solid expanse of smooth color. “I use ashes from a friend’s fireplace.”
He uses a sprayer to apply it evenly to the surface.
“This is a reticulated glaze,” he says, pointing out a highly textured area. “I have to tweak the formulation to fit the clay body.”
A thick glaze, it is applied with a bulb syringe, and the piece is shaken to make the glaze flow. The result is a beautiful combination of careful planning and pure chance. The pieces are usually reduction fired in a down-draft gas kiln, but he also employs raku, pit-firing and wood-firing techniques as well.
Larry began his career as a hobby in the late 1970s. His passion eventually led to a full-time career and a gallery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In 1996, he relocated to Brown County and opened Spears Gallery in the south of the county. Today, he and his wife Jan own and operate Spears Gallery in downtown Nashville, IN, which features Larry’s work along with the work of dozens of other local artists.
“Brown County provides daily inspiration,” he says. “This is a unique landscape.”
Some of the functional pieces Larry makes are meant to interact directly with that landscape. In addition to bowls, cups and pots, he makes ceramic bird feeders, bird houses, fountains and bird baths, all designed to withstand outdoor use.