This Alabama Potter Carves Meaning Into Every Piece

Photography by Mac Jamieson

“I like classical forms—I don’t like getting too loose,” Larry says. “And that’s my only philosophy because I think that classical things are classical for a reason. They stand the test of time.”

Larry creates the eye-catching designs through a process called sgraffito, which involves applying a colored slip to a thrown piece and carving each line and detail by hand. “That’s the fun part,” he says. “If I didn’t do the sgraffito, I would probably stop doing clay.”

Photography by Mac Jamieson

One of the most distinct features of Larry’s designs—the “Unity” motif featuring figures joining outstretched hands—was inspired during the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, when the country came together to rebuild. “I saw it as a unifying moment, and I said, ‘I’m going to have to etch that in stone as a reminder,’” he says. “And that’s my thing—people are going to have to be reminded that we’re still one nation under God.”

Over 30 years after the class that nearly closed the door on pottery, Larry still has a passion for the wheel, calling the process a discipline. “People think throwing is all about speed,” he says, noting that it’s easy to stop at any point and call it finished. “What really makes a difference is those who press on.”

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