KANSAS CITY, Mo. — World-renowned potter Irma Starr spends hundreds of hours in her Kansas City studio designing Christmas creations that delight her fans every year.
She is holding her annual open house inside her studio at 610 West 51st Street in Kansas City until 6:00 Sunday.
Starr began her journey as a potter nearly 60 years ago when she was a student at the Kansas City Art Institute and a young mother of two. Her home-based studio is laden with handmade Christmas ornaments, bowls, plates, and figurines.
Starr’s pottery is on display at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institute, and museums around the world. Starr was commissioned by the White House to create a special plate for Bill and Hillary Clinton’s 25th wedding anniversary in 2002.
Starr collects pottery shards from the 17th century and recreates their design using ancient techniques.
“This moose has all the lost techniques of the 17th century. I have to use a white goose feather cause that’s what they use in the 17th century,” explains Starr as she holds up one of her latest Christmas ornaments.
“It hasn’t been easy because I couldn’t ask anyone how you do it.”
Currently, Irma Starr is working on commemorative plates for the 50th anniversary of Kansas City’s designation as the City of Fountains, which is next April.
She is also working with Dr. Charlie Porter, who is the heart doctor from KU Medical Center she credits with saving her life during the pandemic.
Starr was diagnosed with Covid-19 hours before a difficult heart procedure and was hospitalized for weeks. During that time, nurses had to suit up in full protective equipment each time they entered her room. Starr created a figurine based on a picture she took of one of her nurses. That piece is expected to be ready by National Nurses Day in May.
If you can’t make it to the studio Sunday, you can see some of Irma Starr’s creations and order directly from her at the Irmastarr website.