John Moore “The Hairy Potter” and Mary Hayman
Largo, Florida resident John Moore is a featured artist at “& Gallery” as well as Gulfport’s Art Walk events. His “Hairy Potter” moniker is derived from the unusual technique that Moore employs in the making of his pottery, using horse hair obtained during the grooming of horses from their tails and manes.
Each art piece begins with fine porcelain and raku clay, hand-burnished to a smooth, marble-like finish. After repeated kiln firing, the horse hairs are laid over the piece which has just been removed from the kiln at extreme high temperatures. The hairs become consumed by the heat, twisting and curling in unpredictable patterns, leaving the carbon prints of the hairs etched permanently into each piece that is ultimately unique. Moore’s inspiration for the technique is derived from an Apache tradition of honoring a fallen war horse by applying its hair to pots, believing the spirit of the horse is thus kept alive.
Spanish moss from local trees is also sometimes used in the creative process to produce additional unique patterns on the pottery, also creating a reddish hue that varies from one piece to the next. Moore’s other creative forms include a “patchwork pot” process in which pots are intentionally shattered into multiple pieces, each piece then fired again and finished with any number of techniques, including colored glazes, horse hair, Spanish moss, pit firing and smoking. The pieces are then reassembled as in a three-dimensional jigsaw. Moore’s whimsical “egg” creatures are popular and easily affordable art works, each clay “egg” attached to human or animal-like limbs and other anatomical appendages, even including horns on the heads of the “devilled eggs.”
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Moore first took up pottery in a high school class. After making a living and supporting a family with other jobs over a 10-year period, he returned to clay in the 1980s. He was soon supporting himself with the pottery work, especially functional dinnerware pieces, and was also able to obtain a position teaching pottery to adults at the University of Maine. Feeling uninspired by conventional tableware, Moore “reinvented himself” with his move to Florida in 2001, where he has since flourished. His impressive creative art work has been displayed in hundreds of art shows throughout Florida and the South. He has won numerous awards in shows, including St. Petersburg’s prestigious Mainsail Art Festival, and a recent first-place award in clay at the Mount Dora Arts Festival. Photos of his work are featured on his website: www.theHairy-Potter.com.
Moore’s fiancée, Mary Hayman, also participates in the creative process and shows her work with Moore. Their collaborations include “crackpots” in which a visible crack in the piece is laced with thin leather strips. Hayman has created her own specialty in sculpted female torsos “clothed” in corset-like garments, complete with laces. Though the clothing is created in clay, it has the look of actual fabric after the staining process.