This month’s Featured Artist is Jeff Prather. Although he is a potter, with one look at his creations you will see that he is also a sculptor. Jeff has been active in the art world in the Greater Cincinnati Area for many years. You may have come across his works at shops and shows in the Tristate area.
Jeff Prather uses a wheel to shape and create each piece. Next he spends time etching designs and working on sculpting embellishments. Each piece speaks to him and requests varying degrees of detail. In the final step Jeff selects a glaze to make each piece unique.
The ceramics created by Jeff are quite varied. They range from decorative accent pieces to functional art. He makes creative face mugs and jugs with texture and details. He has decorative ceramic churches that light from within. In addition to various vases and bowls Jeff creates other functional items such as ceramic holders for your kitchen sponge.
Thinking about the piece, fashioning the shape and working out all the added details for a piece is only part of the process. Loading the pottery into a kiln for firing is the next step. This stage is what binds the clay particles together making it stronger and more permanent. Nest is choosing a glaze, mixing it and applying it to the ceramic piece. When the glaze dries, the pottery is fired a second time. This firing causes the glaze to melt and form a glassy covering on the artwork.
There are four basic types of pottery – earthenware, stoneware, porcelain and ball clay. The earliest known pottery is earthenware, dating back around 9,000 years. Somewhere between 6,000 and 4,000 BC the first potter’s wheel was created. The development of ceramics was important to the evolution of human history. The creation of containers that could hold water enhanced food cooking and production methods allowing larger populations to thrive. Over the centuries the styles and uses for pottery have continually changed and its popularity has continued.
Jeff Prather embodies functionality, beauty and whimsical fun in his ceramic art. Stop in at Purple Paisley, Local Artisan Shop and view his work first hand.