A Handmade Holiday: My Visit With Artist Larry Manning

I have never been a “crafty” or artistic person.  I’ve always wished I were, but drawing and painting and the like are not among the talents that God blessed me with. That doesn’t mean I can’t live vicariously through others’ giftings, right? And I can bake for them to fuel their creativity.  That’s my plan. If you see lots of pudgy artists walking around, you’ll know it’s my fault.

But I digress.  I was blessed to be around some amazing people last week in Florida who were artists of various kinds. It really turned into a handmade holiday for me!  I took pictures of some things to share with you.

First, my sister Sherrin has taught herself to crochet. She and I come from a long line of crafty people. Our Grammy crocheted and did ceramics, and Granddaddy painted and was a photographer.  Aunt Betty did amazing embroidery, and she crocheted, too.  Sherrin fell right into place in that line, so thankfully, our generation is represented. 🙂

Over the past few months I spent  some time in the hospital with my mother-in-law, Susan, as you may know.  She was having chemotherapy and blood transfusions and the like, and sometimes I’d be with her during those treatments.  I was usually shivering! Hospitals are always cold!  So Sherrin came up with the idea of making me a wrap to take in with me, which I was so excited about!  She gave it to me last week while I was with her.  I love it! Such a beautiful silvery-gray color, and a loose, rather open weave, which I prefer to a tight weave. Here are some pics of it:

In Sherrin's backyard












Next, while I was in Pensacola for Thanksgiving, Sherrin’s lovely friend Natalie invited us to meet her at her uncle’s pottery barn.  His name is Larry Manning, and he has a small barn that he uses for his pottery studio.  He was overflowing the building,  so he decided to have a big sale, and invited everyone to come peruse his creations.

I was pretty happy at this prospect, but honestly, I’ve been to many local art galleries, and to different potteries, and I’ve usually been underwhelmed except for a random piece here or there.  I saw when I arrived at Larry’s place, “The Magic Kiln Pottery,” in Pace, Florida, that this would not be the case this time.  Larry’s work was beautiful and unique.  He is gifted, and the students at local colleges where Larry is an art instructor are blessed, indeed!

I loved meeting Larry; he and his wife Diane and daughter Belinda were so nice and hospitable to us.  He showed us around and explained different techniques he’d used on various pieces.  I had a great day there! I’ll share more about his work later.  Just wanted to show you an overview of the beauty and fun today! I hope you enjoy all the pictures.

Larry and me in front of the barn

There were so many pieces, they were even covering the floor of the barn!

These blue-gray pieces are yarn bowls; the cut-outs on each side are to feed your yarn through to keep the strands from tangling. Sherrin, who crochets beautifully, is now the proud owner of one of these.
The lovely tables laden with Larry's art barely hinted at the treasure trove that was inside the barn!
A peek into the artist's studio; works in progress
Sake carafe and cups
Larry has been doing this work at least since the '60s, I believe.
See the little blue batter bowl w/a pour spout? It lives in MamaSteph's kitchen now. 🙂
...as does this rustic, flower-stamped platter...
I was tempted to bring home the plump owl, but knew it would scare my cat, so left him for someone else. Isn't he great, though?
Waiting for firing in the "magic kiln," I believe.
The Magic Kilns 🙂
Sherrin has her pieces displayed on her dining room table; gorgeous!

5 thoughts on “A Handmade Holiday: My Visit With Artist Larry Manning

  1. Hi Steff,
    What a wonderful trip, I really enjoyed your photo’s and your conversation with the artist. Larry is very talented. It was great to see you at The Country Cottage, I am so glad that you stopped by for a visit, I sure hope you will come back to see me. You have a great week end!

  2. Mama Steph,thank you for the post and wonderful photos.your visit to our pottery Barn Studio was special.I hope you enjoyed the Magic Kiln Pottery.come visit again soon.Larry and Diane Manning

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