Arkansas potters create beauty from humble materials
1. Mudpuppy Studios
1400 N. 50th St., 470-785-2169
MudPuppy is the home studio for potter and 2010 Arkansas Living Treasure Peter Lippincott and visual artist, writer and photographer Marget Lippincott. Peter’s work is known for how thin he throws it, as well as his amazing glaze work.
Hungry? Ed Walker’s Drive-in (2) is one of the most famous spots to eat in Arkansas, not least because it is the only place in the state where a friendly person will deliver a beer right to a diner’s car. The French Dip is a popular favorite, and the menu also boasts a delicious, five-pound (yes, five pounds!) hamburger.
Don’t miss: The history. Fort Smith was once the edge of America and a gateway to the West. The Fort Smith National Historic Site (3) is open almost year around, and features the famed gallows of Hangin’ Judge Isaac C. Parker. Visit nps.gov/fosm for more information.
4. Little Mulberry Gallery
917 CR 5099, 479-292-1319
Little Mulberry is the base of operations for potter Stephen Driver and fiber artist Louise Halsey. Expect a wide selection of ceramics along with colorful woven tapestries—a unique combination of artistic talent in one place.
5. Fox Mountain Pottery
3253 Red River Rd. 870-363-4264
Joe Bruhin’s home studio for his wood-fired pottery is nestled in the Ozark Mountains and was built by the artist himself. In addition to his pottery work, Bruhin also offers apprenticeships.
6. Fletcher Larkin Pottery
1818 N. McKinley St., 501-529-4761
Fletcher Larkin is a second-generation potter whose natural lines and curves shine with simple elegance. His pottery studio in Little Rock is a warm, earthy space full of lovely work.
7. Boswell Mourot Fine Art
5815 Kavanaugh Blvd. 501-664-0030
This fine art gallery is home to many Little Rock-area artists. Of particular note is the work of Kyle Boswell, whose use of blown glass and other media takes modern art to a fresh and exciting place.
8. Hayes Art Glass
2900 Ridgway Rd., 870-540-9080
The home studio of glass artisan James Hayes, Hayes Art Glass is a whimsical wonderland of blown-glass creations from a master. Bowls and vases are lovely of course, but it’s the gorgeous chandeliers that are worth a detour from anywhere in the state to go see. Don’t miss: The Japanese Garden (9), 200 E. 8th Street (Pine Bluff Civic Center). A gift from Pine Bluff’s sister city Iwai City, Japan, this peaceful garden is a one-of-a-kind experience in Arkansas.
10. Fox Pass Pottery
379 Fox Pass, 501-623-9906
This Spa City studio is home to pottery by Jim and Barbara Larkin. Most recently, the Larkins added a two-chambered wood-fired salt kiln that reaches temperatures of 2,350 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing them to make unglazed pottery with unique markings.
Hungry? Right on the shores of Lake Hamilton (11) is one of Arkansas’ best kept culinary secrets, Luna Bella (12). From calamari tossed with heirloom tomatoes to pasta and seafood dishes, some of the most excellent food being served in the state is being made right in the Spa City.
Thirsty? Take a tour of the Mountain Valley Spring Water (13) headquarters just off Bathhouse Row downtown. See the source of Arkansas’ popular mineral water in the distinctive green bottle—and hear all about the history of spring water in the town named for the stuff. Call 800-828-0836 for information, or visit mountainvalleyspring.com.