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Larry Watson, Artist

Larry Watson

"In 1980, I took my first class in pottery through an adult education course. My mother is an art critic besides being an artist, and wanted to be able to write on ceramics with some authority, so she asked me to accompany her to the class. Unwittingly this casual introduction lured me to university courses that I would immerse myself in with unrivalled intensity. It became a field that never left me wanting.

The facility at which I assimilated the skills necessary for ceramics surprised me, considering the relative lack of success I had found in drawing and painting, and the resulting conclusion that I had not been blessed with the artistic talent of my mother. This has led me to the conclusion that everyone has some artistic talent(s) to be explored, whether it be in the visual, performing, literary, or musical arts. Arts in education is necessary to give young people confidence to explore their own talents and thereby appreciate the talents of others.

ArtworkI continued to take evening classes while furthering my career in commercial printing where I attained my goal of Plant Manager of a medium sized company in nine years. At the same time I had decided that I would make clay my new career in the future because it was the only thing that I never felt complacent with.

In 1989, I purchased a home in rural Kentucky about 20 minutes from Cincinnati and set up my studio. The level of success I have acheived in the years since, both financial and artistic, has been extremely gratifying. I am one of the fortunate few who can live their life creating beautiful art for a living. The financial insecurity may be scary, but hey, whose job is secure these days? At least I have a great boss!

Working in clay is something that is natural for me. It seems that the physical contact with the clay allows my creativity to flow into the medium. Patience is not a quality that I would put at the top of the list of my characteristics, but I have no trouble finding the degree of patience required to work in clay, because I know what it takes to create the art that I want. Anything less is unacceptable.

artworkThe forms that I create are an extension of the process. I interact with the clay and the processes used to form it, paying attention to what the clay is telling me as I work with it. Trying to explain this process of creation is difficult. One can scientifically explain the way a seed can grow into a flower, but why does it happen?

The chemistry required in formulating the glazes to enhance these forms is an intelluctual challenge that I enjoy. Dancing around the kiln while it reaches 2350 F, using my best judgement, my instinct, and some luck, I give birth to the alchemy that results in the gems of beauty waiting for discovery when the kiln door is opened.

Avoiding the academic questions of 'why', I concentrate on the flow of energy into my artwork. Then the person looking at it can bring their own energy to the work, unlimited by concrete answers, fostering unending beauty in the beholder."

Program 216

Deborah Sandler, general director of the Kentucky Opera; ceramist Larry Watson; the Millennium Glass exhibit at the Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery; and music by Miles Osland and the Osland Saxophone Quartet. (#216)

Program 404

Assemblage artist Jacque Parsley, drummer Hugh Peterson, clay artist Larry Watson, and a look at the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. (#404)


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