Ceramicist Craig Rhodes is exhibiting his improvisational work at the Ruth Baggett Gallery in Paducah, on display through December 24. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross speaks with Rhodes about his work, his process in designing and creating them and some of his local influences.
His work is inspired by the irregular patterns in nature similar to those you'd see in the Sahara sand dunes or in musical rhythm. In creating gestural drawings on the carved surface of the unglazed sides of the bowls and then stretching out the patterns the effect is essentially a 2D work on a 3D surface, Rhodes says.
Ceramics is a laborious medium in terms of preparation, he says, and ended up losing more pots in the process than he initially got in working on this technique. Mix the clay, make the pot on the wheel - making a cylinder approximately 14 to 15 inches, let it sit for an hour, put a thick coating of slip on it, then a pattern instrument for cake decorating to make the pattern, throw the pot, balloon it out from the inside, let it dry, put it in bisque, glaze it in a high-fire glaze in a gas kiln under reduction, then the painting on top is done in a low-fire glaze.
Rhodes says some of his influences are former ceramic art teacher at Murray State Fred Shepard, Wayne Bates of Murray, Harris Deller at SIU Carbondale and John Hasegawa at Paducah School of Art and Design.