Click on a name below to view the works from our Claydog Empire!
Jerry, the owner, took the reigns of L&R Specialties over two decades ago when clay was still mined from the ground. A lot of potters today don’t seem to remember that. Before Jerry took over, L&R did not manufacture moist clay. So Jerry and his early band of Claydogs started mixing clay, 50 pounds at a time, in a Peter Pugger. Through the years L&R steadily built up a customer base for its “specialties” and now provides moist clay and materials to hundreds of schools and potteries throughout the Mid-West.
Ted has worked at L&R for over ten years. In that time, he has mixed well over seven million pounds of clay, mixed and tested thousands of glazes, stolen a few ponies, rustled a few alpaca, and has managed to make a few drums and fountains in the process. Although Ted may never be considered a master potter, or even wants to be, he has achieved legendary Claydog status which, as everyone knows, secures him much nicer accommodations and amenities in the afterlife.
For the drums and fountains, Ted slab builds them using L&R’s A-1 Sculpture Body. To texture and shape his pieces, he uses heavily grogged, colored slips and various tools of questionable legality, including a matched set of Dolan 400’s with carved and inlaid ivory handles rumored to be stolen and smuggled out of the Arizona desert in the belly of a Saguaro cactus. After bisque firing, he uses a soda ash and copper wash fired to cone 6 in an electric kiln to deepen and enhance the colors of the textured clay. Ted works in his studio at home located just over the south ridge of the Finley River in the Ozark Mountains, where the neighbors often complain about late night drumming and howling. He can be reached most days at L&R. Other days, there is just no reaching him.
Linda is an artist that has worked in every medium known in the art world and has even invented new ones on occasion when the situation demanded her own personal twist.
My first experience with clay was during my sophomore year of high school and I immediately fell in love. I particularly excelled with the potters wheel and that is where I find myself the most comfortable. So, after 7 years, I generally create functional-type ceramics at mid or high-fire range. However, I am becoming more and more interested in moving away from functionality and moving towards ceramics without using the wheel. When considering myself, I feel that I am very “green” and still have so much to learn (which is still exciting to me). I have worked with a range of firing techniques and hope to expand my knowledge of clay and all that goes with it in the years to come. Currently, I am pursuing a BFA in Ceramics, a BSED in Art Education, and a minor in Art History at Missouri State University and my plan for the future is to teach at district schools, and then to college level. At this point it feels like I’ll just be a professional student! My masters program will be completed at San Diego State University, but this will happen after I’ve “experienced” life for a few years. I am extremely fortunate to work with the L&R Claydogs, because they are the best people to have the pleasure of knowing since they are great at fueling motivation for ceramics and just down right fun. Not only that, but I am exposed to much more in the ceramics world working at this establishment than if I just went through the ceramics program at MSU. All in all, I believe I am right on track and will keep on playing with mud until I’m buried in it.
Keith Ekstam is a Professor of Art and Design at Missouri State University in Springfield. He has been a member of the MSU faculty since 1987 and maintains a career as a dedicated ceramic artist and art educator. He received his MFA degree in ceramics and drawing from The University of Michigan School of Art in 1987 and his BFA degree in ceramics and painting from Minnesota State University-Mankato in 1982.
Keith has exhibited his artwork widely in various international, national and regional juried and invitational exhibitions. His artwork has been reproduced in several prominent art and ceramic related books, journals and magazines. He has also been a visiting artist at numerous institutions and art organizations both abroad and in the United States where he has conducted artist residencies, studio workshops and lectures. His ceramic work is primarily sculptural using traditional hand-building methods, although wheel-throwing, press-molding and found objects are sometimes employed. A wide variety of firing and finishing techniques are used as needed.
Keith Ekstam working at Tainan National University of the Arts in Taiwan during his 2012 artist residency.