Larry PelterLincoln, Nebraska

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2011

Larry Pelter grew up in Newman Grove, a farming community on the banks of the Shell Creek in north central Nebraska. He has had a diverse upbringing—experiencing, at times, life as a sheepherder, cowboy, railroad gandy dancer, truck driver, anti-submarine warfare specialist, electrical engineer and Zen practitioner. Throughout his life, he has maintained a passion for the arts, having studied classical and blues guitar, painting, drawing, and ceramic art with a variety of teachers.

When I am creating a piece I try to work with a clear and open mind that lets the form evolve spontaneously as the creative process unfolds. I try to focus my awareness on the work at hand. I like that because I feel that when I was a child that’s how I made art and for me children’s art is spontaneous and honest.

Because clay has been used for thousands of years to form vessels, I like to use a vessel form as a basis and let the piece flow from there. However, I tend to emphasize the sculptural rather than the functional in the final work.

Raku firing, for me, is a serendipitous process. I try to not tightly control the glazing or firing experience so that before the vessel emerges from the ashes at the end of firing, I am not entirely sure what to expect. Sometimes the results please me, sometimes not. At any rate, the final vessel offers a visual history of it’s evolution.