Museum Gallery, February 2-26, 2023
Larry Allen was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala and has been a working artist for 35 years. He was always drawing and sketching while he was a youngster, but he didn’t embrace pottery until 1975, when majored in art at Kentucky’s Berea College. The first time he saw someone throwing on a wheel, he was awestruck.
“The medium felt right. … It actually spoke to me,” he said. “[Taking] a lifeless lump of clay that has no form but all the potential … and [turning] it into something elegant and fine, that’s what gets me going.”
All of his pottery is wheel thrown and involves a technique called sgraffito, a method in which a potter carves designs into leather hard clay that’s been completely covered with a colored slip. His vessels are inspired by Native American and African Art and can be seen in Marvel’s "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." He was named a Berea College Distinguished Alumnus in 2019, and has won multiple awards at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts. He exhibits regularly at galleries and festivals throughout the southeast. In addition to selling his own art, Allen is also a Jefferson State Community College teacher, a position he’s held since the 1990s; and he also teaches pottery classes in his studio in Leeds, Alabama.