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pat and ken larson: stories in clay

Pat and Ken Larson have been collaborating on art and life for more than three decades. I was first drawn to the beautifully executed clay figures and ravens, then captivated by the short stories the Larson’s include in many of the descriptions. The stories add appeal, speak to our curiosity – and our desire to unravel a mystery.

Does your work have a story? Could it? Something to think about.

Winter Friends, saggar and blackware fired, 40″ tall

While taking a break from winter wood splitting, a raven flew over low enough that you could hear the feathers moving through the air. It made me think of something. Could we have a wild friend that would come and visit us? In a different time and place, it could happen.

Finders Keepers, saggar and raku fired wall tiles

Two separate times while backpacking in Utah’s Grand Gulch we observed ravens landing in a hole high on a cliff side south of Bullet Canyon’s “Jailhouse Ruin”. Grand Gulch and the surrounding Cedar Mesa are full of Anasazi ruins and there are still places where one can’t walk without stepping on 1000 year old pottery shards. In one place in Bullet Canyon we observed the signature in charcoal of Richard Wetherill above a ruin. Richard Wetherill is the cowboy archeologist who first started major exploration of Mesa Verde and for whom the Wetherill Mesa is named. So what if a family of ravens had been living in Grand Gulch for many generations? Ravens are know to pick up interesting objects. And what if successive generations had been picking these objects up and taking them to this hole up on the cliff side? What treasures are up there—–but you know, it’s “Finders Keepers”

Large Robed Figures, 23-24″ x 6″

These figures start as wheel turned pieces that are folded paddled and augmented into the shapes you see here. The faces are made and fired separately, then glued into the hood after the pieces are fired. The “Charm” hanging from the back of the head is hand made and hung with macrame of waxed linen.

Winter Watchers, raku terra siggalatta, 39″ x 10.5″ x 10.5

The raven and his friend stand still, hoping that the icy fingers of air don’t get in while they watch the sunset on a short winter day.

Primal Yoga

In addition to the work shown in their website portfolio, Silvertson Gallery has images of their sculptures and a very informative description of the different firing techniques used to finish the wheel thrown and hand built sculpture, including the following about Horse Hair Raku:

Horse hair raku – We remove the piece from the hot kiln and place it on an insulating surface on a turntable.  The piece is first sprinkled with sawdust, then draped with hair which burns and leaves carbon trails on the surface of the piece.

The Larson’s have a sense of humor too – check out the story behind their Featured Piece (pictured below) – a terrific show of irreverence. Love it.

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