14 Mulvane Mountain/Plains Art Fair
A blue-ribbon winner at the art fair, Larry Peters is an established sculptor who formerly directed collections at the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery in the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Peters has long been a leading figure among local ceramics artists and notes that his field has been growing since the 1950s. “There’re probably more potters out there almost than there are painters now,” he says. “I think people like it for one of the reasons I like to work with it, and that’s the tactile quality of the material and the ability to actually get your hands on the material; whereas with painting, you have a paintbrush between you and what you’re doing. … Of course some people wouldn’t want to get involved with clay because it’s too dirty and messy. We’re not known to be the neatest people on earth, especially when we’re working.” Peters’ tools include a pug mill and an electric kiln (for bisque firing), but because he also does some metal forging work, he has an anvil, a horseshoeing forge and a welding outfit. Peters is working on what he calls the Loligo series, based on the term for “squid” in Greek. “The head part is made out of ceramic,” he says, and he inserts welded steel parts into it. Sometimes he uses cement; other times it’s PC-7 epoxy. Once an avid skier, Peters has posted maps of ski areas in his workspace. By his throwing area, he has hung a mirror to reflect the hidden side of pieces. Peters’ latest exhibition at the Strecker-Nelson Gallery in Manhattan featured a display of his Haniwa, inspired by the Japanese grave markers of the same name. Peters has deliberately added parts that often resemble helmets to be the top pieces of the forms. “Most of these I make in two pieces, because I’ve got a short arm, and also I’m getting older,” explains Peters, who has thrown pots for more than 40 years. “Most potters, as they get older, start doing things in sections and putting them together.” Peters admires the work of many artists, especially Peter Voulkos, Rudy Autio and Ray Kahmeyer. Highly versatile, Peters also casts small pig figurines from time to time. “I’m about out of them now,” he says while searching for them in his studio. “I need to make some more.” The small animals are about 3 inches long with tails that curl the correct direction: counterclockwise. “It’s sheer accident,” Peters says with a laugh.
TOPEKAMAGAZINE Spring 2009
throwing area, he has hung a mirror to reflect the hidden side of pieces. By his
Larry Peters is one of the many Topeka artists who has exhibited at the Mulvane Mountain/Plains Art Fair.