Skip to content

The Balloonists© of Larry Carnes Copyright by KC Moore 3/7/11

March 10, 2011

Larry Carnes continuously thinks of new ideas. He has brought some ground breaking advances to clay art.  Although many people may imitate his work, his signature style remains easily recognizable.

The idea for Larry’s Balloonist© Series developed gradually.  Larry was working on a series based on a military theme; it did not feature guns but men standing at attention with brightly colored medals.  Then it came to him; he wanted to do something no one had done. Larry wanted to make a sculpture that didn’t need a stand and he wished to explore ‘open hanging forms’. 

He envisioned the statue with parachutes, yet in order to accomplish this feat he would have to increase the strength of the clay.  Larry has been an expert in the field of clay since the 1960s.  His mentors for over 50 years were the famous Vivika and Otto Heino. Equally valuable, Larry had served as technical advisor for several of the industry giants including Gladding, McBean which manufactures sewer pipes, roof tiles, brick and terra cotta ornamentation on buildings around the world.  Consequently, this problem of the clay body was one he could solve.

Having this tested and thorough knowledge of the medium, he was able to solve the challenge by increasing the tensile strength, working with the density of the clay and doing three separate firings.  [Compressive strengths of 18,000 psi, Tensile strengths of 3,000 psi]  This unique process of Larry’s provides the ability for the fingers of the piece to support the heavy figure and allows him to use colors only available through a lower glaze fire.

Originally the hanging sculptures were 10-20 pounds – he incorporated actual parachute chord and round, thrown pieces in the design.  The concept included multiple, brightly colored spheres with the figure hanging by clenched fists.  As these pieces evolved, they grew in weight, and now may weigh up to 30 pounds.

A Balloonist© can hang in a 14’ high entry way or from an 8’ ceiling.  Larry recommends they hang at eye level. As with most of his work, they inspire a sense of humor for the viewer.  This partially comes from Larry’s early training in cartooning and animation at Chouinard Art Institute where he graduated in the early 1960s.

Larry Carnes, a Master Potter, does a multitude of varied forms, custom designs, colors, plus utilitarian ware.

He can be reached at:
The Pottery Studio, 1804 E. Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA  93023

From → Larry Carnes

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: