Irma Starr developed a love of 17th-Century slipwear after replicating a slipwear plate with a mermaid design in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Burnap Collection of ceramics as a class assignment during her senior year at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Irma employs traditional tools including a potter’s wheel, white goose feathers, slip cups, hump molds, handmade stamps, tiny wheels and rollers, and a circular kiln to create plates and pots. Besides slip-trailing, she decorates with marbling, feathering, combing, and jewelling (adding dots on lettering and borders).
She makes reproduction antique slipwear pieces from the Nelson-Atkins Museum, plates and pots on commissions, and designs ornaments (60 to date) that are reproduced by a small art collective in Sri Lanka. Her work is sold at the Nelson-Atkins Museum, DeWitt Wallace Art Museum at Colonial Williamsburg, the Smithsonian<’>s Renwick Gallery, Plimoth Plantation, Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Chicago Art Institute.
Irma continues to do documentary and chemical research on her craft as well as working with teachers and students. Her work was recognized when the Smithsonian commissioned her to create a 36-inch commemorate plate for the 30th anniversary of the Renwick Gallery in 2002. The plate hangs on the gallery<’>s second floor.
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