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Les Lawrence

Biography to Display: 

1940 Born Corpus Christi, Texas


1960 AA Commercial Art, South Plains College, Texas

1962 BA Painting, Commercial Art, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, Oklahoma

1964-1966 Graduate Study, Ceramics, Sculpture, Art Education, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

1970 MFA Art Ceramics, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona


1962-1964 Technical Illustrator

1965 Graduate Teaching Assistant, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

1966 -1968 Instructor of Art, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas

1969 Ceramics -Graduate Teaching Assistant, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

1970-2005 Professor, Ceramics Head, Grossmont College of Art, El Cajon, California


Les Lawrence is most well-known for sculptural series based on functional forms utilizing topical themed decals and transfer surface techniques on thin-walled unglazed porcelain. The US dollar bill is a common motif.

Lawrence was an early innovator creating a number of silkscreen techniques necessary to create the work he visualized. He developed a water-based ink that he could silkscreen, paint and draw onto a plaster bat and a way to pour a thin slab of casting slip onto the bat. This process resulted in thin porcelain slabs that picked up the images from the surface of the plaster bat. Lawrence used these slabs to produce an ongoing series of work, the New Vision Series. All the sculptures in this series are named New Vision followed by the object’s generic name, i.e. teapot, cup, vessel. Lawrence also developed the use of magnetic toner laser prints as ceramic decals.

Lawrence began his career as a department store illustrator. He returned to school to study sculpture, ceramics and watercolor painting. After graduate school, Lawrence began a career as a ceramic sculptor and teacher. During his career, he created dinnerware before moving away from truly functional work to sculptural forms based on the functional form. Lawrence used surface techniques and decorations to comment on social and political issues. He added imagery using transfer techniques and decals he created himself. Lawrence’s images often reflect his commitment to social and political ideals.

In addition to his studio practice, Lawrence maintained an active academic career that began in 1966 when he was invited to establish the ceramics and sculpture program at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.  In 1970 he became Professor then Ceramics Head at Grossmont College of Art in El Cajon, California where he remained until his retirement in 2005.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Aberystwyth University Ceramic Collection and Archive, Aberystwyth, England

Agency of Czech Ceramic Design - Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California

Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas

Cedar Rapids Art Museum, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Celestial Seasonings, Tea Pot Collection, Boulder, Colorado

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California

Eastern Oregon State College, La Grande, Oregon

Everson Museum Of Art, Syracuse, New York

 Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan

Grossmont College, El Cajon, California

Hardin-Simmons University Collection, Abilene, Texas

International Ceramic Center, Kecskemet, Hungary

Lubbock Municipal Art Center, Lubbock, Texas

Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington

Phoenix Airport Collection, Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

Ross C. Purdy Museum of Ceramics, Westerville, Ohio

Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut

Southland Museum, Invercargill, New Zealand

University of Wales, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

Utah State University, Logan, Utah

Western Washington State University, Bellingham, Washington

Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas

Won-Kwang University, Won Kwang, Korea

Yuma Fine Arts Association, Yuma, Arizona


Bibliography to Display: 

“Acquisitions.” American Craft (April/May 1993).

“Affairs of the Heart.” San Diego Home/Garden Magazine (October 1987).

“A Helping Hand.” The Californian, November 30, 1988.

Burkett, Richard. Masters of Porcelain. Asheville, NC: Lark Books, 2008.

“Clay Conquers San Diego.” San Diego Arts Monthly (March 1993).

Conrad, John W.  Contemporary Ceramic Techniques. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979.

“Crafts Artist at Museum.” San Diego Union, February 20, 1993.

Delaney, Susan J.  “Les Lawrence’s New Visions.” Ceramic Arts and Perception, no. 9 (1992).

Fina, Angela and Jonathan Fairbanks. The Best of Pottery. Rockport, MA: Quarry Books, 1996.

Flint Institute of Arts. Function, Form, & Fantasy: the Collection of Dr. Robert and Deanna Harris Burger. Flint, MI: Flint Institute of Arts, 2016.

Kent, Wade. Alternative Photographic Processes: A Resource Manuel for the Artist, Photographer, Craftsperson. Morgan and Morgan, 1978.

Grupe, Art. “Luster Glazes Using a Torch.” Ceramics Monthly 21 (June 1973).

Hopper, Robin. The Ceramic Spectrum. Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Co., 1984.

Hunt, Bill. 21st Century Ceramics in the United States and Canada.  American Ceramics Society, 2003.

Joiner, Dorothy. “The Body in Clay.” Ceramics Monthly 50, no.10 (December 2002).

Koopman, Debra. “Jaye Lawrence and Les Lawrence.” Artweek 36, no. 2 (April 1993).

Kriwanek, Franz F. Keramos.  Dubuque, IA: Kendall, Hunt Publishing, 1970.

Lark Books. 500 Figures in Clay: Ceramic Artists Celebrate the Human Form. Asheville, NC: Lark Books, 2004.

Lauria, Jo. California Design: The Legacy of West Coast Craft and Style. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 1976.

Lawrence, Les and Paul Andrew Wandless. “Les Lawrence Borders in Flux = Las Fronteras en Fusion.” San Diego, CA: National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, 2003. DVD.

Les Lawrence. “Freedom to Experiment, in Les Lawrence: a Ceramics Monthly Portfolio.” Ceramics Monthly 41 (April 1993).

“Les Lawrence Artist of the Month.” Phoenix Magazine, October 2013.

"Master of Their Crafts."  The San Diego Union, November 19, 1986.

Nelson, Glen C. and Richard Burkett. Ceramics: A Potter’s Handbook. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 1998.

Nigrosh, Leon. Claywork: Form and Idea in Ceramic Design. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 1975.

____________ . Clayworks II: Form and Idea in Ceramic Design. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 1986.

_____________.Clayworks III: Form and Idea in Ceramic Design. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 1989.

Nigrosh, Leon. Sculpting Clay. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 1991.

“People and Places.” American Craft (June/July 1993).

Peterson, Susan. The Craft and Art of Clay. London, England: Calmann & King LTD, 2000.

Rhodes, Daniel. Clay and Glazes for the Potter. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2001.

“San Diego Craftsman.” Ceramics Monthly (February 1991).

Schwartz, Judith.  Confrontational Ceramics. New York, NY: Rizzoli, 2008.

Scott, Paul. Ceramics and Print. London, England: A & C Black Publisher, 1995.

_________. Painted Clay: Graphic Arts and the Ceramic Surface. New York, NY: Watson Guptill, 2000.

_________and Terry Bennet. Hot Off the Press. London, England: Bellew Publishers, 1996.

Shafer, Thomas. Pottery Decoration. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill, 1976.

Speight, Charlotte F.  Hands in Clay. Pleasant Grove, UT: Mayfield Publications, 1994.

Tarateta, Maja. “Functional Art Takes Form in Art Galleries Across America.” Art Business News 28, no, 6 (June 2001).

“The Evocative Object.” Ceramics: Art and Perception, no. 31 (1998).

Timmins, Christine. “Creativity is Their Cup of Tea.” The Boston Globe, December 6, 2000.

“Viewpoint: Ceramics.” Ceramics Monthly (February 1979).

Wechsler, Susan. Low-Fire Ceramics. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill, 1981.

Wilson, Lana. Firing Metal with Clay.” Clay Times (July/August 1999).







CV or Resume: Click Here to Download
Source: Elaine Levin Archive, University of Southern California




Center for CraftCenter For Craft



AMOCA American Museum of Ceramic ArtAMOCA American Museum of Ceramic Art


Typical Marks
ca 2015
Dollar Bill Cup with Mona Lisa
Date: 1990
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Transfer or Decal Decorated
Scripps College Collection, 2016.7.14
Photo: TMP
Scripps College Collection, 2016.7.14
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Dollar Cup
Date: ca 1990
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Transfer or Decal Decorated
Scripps College Collection, 2016.7.13
Photo: TMP
Scripps College Collection, 2016.7.13
Photo: TMP
Dollar Teapot
Date: 1991
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Transfer or Decal Decorated
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Date: 1994
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab Built, Hand Built
Dimensions: 13.2 x 0.9 x 7 inches
Surface Technique: Glaze, Transfer or Decal Decorated
American Museum of Ceramic Art 2004.2.33, gift of American Ceramic Society
Photo: TMP
American Museum of Ceramic Art 2004.2.33, gift of American Ceramic Society
Photo: TMP
New Vision Teapot
Date: ca 2000
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Stain, Transfer or Decal Decorated
Judith and Martin Schwartz Collection
Photo: John Polak
Judith and Martin Schwartz Collection
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab Built, Hand Built
Surface Technique: Transfer or Decal Decorated
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified August 22, 2022.