Larry Calkins


Larry Calkins (b. 1955 in Corvallis, OR) lives and works in Issaquah, WA. 

He works with simple materials and objects that present some kind of history: rusted metal, found cloth, or scraps of wood. His typical paint medium is beeswax that he mixes with pigments.  Occasionally he carves his brushes from twigs and often, if an object he wants is not readily available, he will create it.

Larry experiments with unique surface treatments and since 1995 he is known for the signature look and feel of his dress sculptures with their simple, yet elegant shapes and leathery, tactile surfaces. They are often compared to pioneer or shaker styling and have evoked surprisingly emotional responses.  His most elaborate creations take the form of ‘artist’s books’ – using metal, fabric, twine, paper, paint, drawings, photographs, found objects, and/or sculpted objects made of dirt, wax, clay or wood. Often the subject matter of his art builds on hear-say narratives passed along in the remote logging and farming community where he was raised.

Beginning in 2003, Larry Calkins has been Artist in Residence at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, for several years in a row.
He is also an instructor at Pratt Fine Arts in Seattle and several other teaching venues in the Seattle area, including the Kirkland Arts Center, NW Encaustic in Seattle, Winslow Art Center on Bainbridge Island, artEast, Issaquah, and he has taught Art Workshops in Italy, Hawaii and Sun Valley, Idaho.

In the late 80s he and his wife, a former architect, began building their house near Issaquah, WA, where they have lived for the past 26 years with numerous pets, chickens and 2 mules.  Larry works daily in his studio and in his metal shop — or in the sometimes sunny, but often wet and cold outdoors.


Artist Statement