DIY Clay Tools Video Contest Winner!

Mandala Bowl, stoneware, 19 inches, by Craig Rhodes

The votes are in and I’m pleased to announce that Craig Rhodes is the grand prize winner of our DIY Clay Tools Video Contest! In today’s post, Craig will tell us a bit more about himself and how he plans to use his gift card. Plus we’ll share some images of his work, like the beautiful bowl to the left. Congratulations to Craig, and to and runners up Murry Gans and Joe Dillett.

We’d also like to thank everyone who entered, commented and voted. There were so many good entries that we will probably feature some honorable mentions on CAD from time to time. Stay tuned!

And if you have any ideas for future contests, drop us a line at – Jennifer Harnetty, editor


Thoughts From Craig:

Detail of overglaze decoration on pottery by Craig Rhodes.

I’m both delighted and surprised to have won the DIY Clay Tools Video Contest – surprised because of the excellent videos by both Murry Gans and Joe Dillett. I consider them kindred spirits and admire their ingenuity.I used my submission to the contest basically as an opportunity to learn how to make and edit a video. The prize is icing on the cake, as well as a godsend. After forty plus years of working in clay, this is a first. I fell in love with clay in 1966 after taking a course with Fred Shepherd at Murray State University and have never looked back. Much of what I know about clay is from the kindness of others like Fred Shepherd, Wayne Bates, Harris Dellar and now the folks at Ceramic Arts Daily. The prize is important but validation by one’s peers is priceless.

The $500 gift certificate will be put to good use. It’s nice to be in the position of being able to afford a tool that might be considered a luxury at any other time. For instance, sieving 5 gallons of glaze with a brush and screen has always been one of the more tedious aspects of glaze making. Now I can justify buying a Talisman Rotary Sieve rather than defer it in the interest of frugality. I’m sure most potters will agree that new tools tend to both motivate and inspire. In that regard, I’m sure my work will improve as a result of Euclid’s and Ceramic Arts Daily’s generosity.”

About Craig’s Mandala Bowls

Mandala Bowl and detail, by Craig Rhodes.

The Mandala bowls measure about 18 to 20 inches in diameter. Their uniform size and shape serve as a template. The base glaze is a cone 6 gun metal black with multi layers of overglaze using a motif based on an exploration of the mandala, iris, or anything in the round. While functional they are designed and wired to be hung.

About Craig Rhodes

Craig Rhodes in his Brookport, Illinois, studio.

Working primarily with functional forms in various clay bodies, Craig brings a rich color palette to his ware with a wide variety of glazes and glazing techniques. With a masters’ degree in ceramics, Craig has been working at his craft for more than 40 years. The work employs a variety of forms, textures, glazes, glazing techniques fired in both electric and gas kilns. Craig’s work is shown in his studio located in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois and regionally at the Southern Illinois Artisans Gallery.

To learn more about Craig Rhodes or to see more images of his work, visit

Watch Craig’s winning video here!


  • Joan M.

    All three ideas were good, but yours seemed to be the one that most of us either could make (or con somebody else to do it for us).

    I belong to a little pottery cooperative, and we have at least three of our members who would benefit from your innovative design.

    Thanks to Ceramics Arts Daily for giving us the opportunity to share your inventiveness.

  • Kenny, thanks for the common sense. I feel like an idiot for not having thought of that. However, I had hoped that others would come up with modifications etc. of my original plan in order to make it better or to suit their needs. Thanks again.

  • Doris P.

    I just went to that site and all I can say is, “Wow!” Your work is amazing! Congratulations on your contest win.

  • Sylvia T.

    Congratulations an amazing diy solution. Your work is beautiful and inspiring.

  • Kenny W.

    Congrats! Cool beans, Craig. Made something “ditto” but it is square with rolled edges on top for my ‘ol Shimpo. Used garden hose for handles on the Shimpo as well. On your splash, for staters, you can cut on the inside of the plastic bucket with the electric “sabre saw” and you will not have to have an additional man-powered one All else is a go!

  • Subscriber T.

    Parabéns, Graig. Obrigada pela dica, seu vídeo irá me ajudar muito.

  • Thank you Murry. I love your sense of humor both in your excellent video as well as here.

  • Marie-elena O.


    Loved your platters, but how are you making it work so that they hang? Are you adding holes to the foot? Any advice would be appreciated…I also love making platters but keep having issues with the hanging mechanics….thanks and again, congratulations!! marie-elena

  • Subscriber T.


    I had seen your work through the overglaze link on the Axner site previously. Your work has inspired me. I am new at pottery but realized right away, that as much as I love throwing clay, it is really just a medium for me to paint on.


  • Craig.

    Your work is amazing and I am delighted that you won the contest. It was a lot of fun being a finalist and seeing my name on the Ceramics Arts Daily site. Best wishes to you and congratulations.

    (Do you think this counts against our 15 minutes of fame??)


  • Christine P.

    Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing more!! Thank you for sharing.

  • Thanks all for the flattery! Jennifer at Ceramic Arts has asked me to do a video of how the bowls are made and glazed which I’ve agreed to do sometime in the future.

    Until then, you can go to this site for info on what materials I’m using as well as some of the techniques. There is some math involved in the designs that took awhile to work out.


    I’m sure you can do something similar at cone 10, although I’ve quit firing cone 10 anymore. I’ve discovered that I can do everything at cone 6 that I used to do at cone 10 but at half the firing time and with less fuel. That includes copper reds, celadons, and all the other wonderful cone 10 glazes I grew up on.

  • Subscriber T.

    fabulous use of glazes. I am experimenting with cone 6 and would love to have more detail on how you glaze, what they are and how they are applied. Thanks and your splash pan was a great idea!

  • Wendy W.

    I agree with Loretta – love your designs. Very curious how you do that and could the same technique be used with higher firings ie cone 10 – 12? Congratulations!

  • Jana G.

    Thanks, Craig. I’ve been needing a large splash pan like this and will make one soon! You make it look so easy! Your work is lovely.

  • John L.

    Your video fulfilled a need that there are few, if any, commercial products offered. For me, this made your submission the best offering. Great video, deserved win.

    The detail of the overglaze decoration looks like candy on a dish, visually striking.

  • Joseph T.

    Craig thanks for showing us your work. What can I say BEAUTIFUL

  • Loretta B.

    What beautiful bowls. How about an article or video on how he does the multicolored glazing – particularly the black with the red and white geometrics.

  • Kathleen R.

    Congratulations Craig, and thanks for creating a great video for us!

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