What many see as nothing more than a hybrid version of Play Doh,’ Rachael Bates sees as beauty in its rawest form.
For almost two decades, the 55-year-old Parker County(ite) has dabbled in a variety of artistic mediums but seems to have found her niche when it comes to earthenware or clay.
An extraordinary painter and fiddle enthusiast, Bates fell in love with working with clay shortly after taking classes at the Lockheed Martin Recreational Association under the guidance of Ron Durham, the instructor. Upon completion, and hearing the news that Durham was going to be teaching a class at Tarrant County College, Bates signed up for additional training.
It was that extra training, she said, that was just what she needed to prompt her to go back to college for her bachelors of fine arts in painting.
“Once I got to the the point of choosing a major, I already had so much experience in ceramics I felt I could have been teaching it,” Bates said. “So I decided to major in something I was interested in , but didn’t know anything about, and that’s where the painting came into the picture.”
Bates received her diploma in 2002 when she earned a degree in Art from the University of Texas in Arlington, but working with clay, quite literally, was never far from her fingertips.
It wasn’t long after that she and friends Kim Norris and Carolyn Young, of Earth to Art Pottery, found themselves attending week long workshops in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
“It was how to do very focused things in clay,” Bates said. “I took a tile workshop on one visit and I fell for tile making hook line and sinker.”
Though she focuses primarily on making tile, Bates also excels in crafting bowls and will be one of the artisans presenting her custom designed “Bowls of Abundance” at the 13th annual Empty Bowls Fort Worth, benefiting Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB).
More than 1,500 other guests are expected for the annual event that benefits the TAFB and its 300-plus partner hunger-relief charities in 13 counties. Empty Bowls will be presented by Tom Thumb on Fri., Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Amon G. Carter Exhibitions Building at Will Rogers Memorial Center, 3401 W. Lancaster, Fort Worth.
Each guest at the Empty Bowls in Fort Worth will be able to select a keepsake from among 2,500 ceramic, china, glass and wood bowls handcrafted/hand-painted by Texas professional, student and recreational artisans. There will also be many higher end bowls in the silent auction, one of which is a sink made by Bates.
In addition, Celebrity Bowls representative of, and signed by, stars of stage, screen and sports are presented in an auction. Famous signatures include those of, among others, Broadway musical stars Betty Buckley and Tommy Tune, acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, country music star Travis Tritt, TV stars Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family and Henry Winkler "The Fonz," golfer Arnold Palmer, Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn and TCU head football coach Gary Patterson.
Guest also sample soups and desserts from 30-plus Fort Worth area high-end and casual dining restaurants, caterers and culinary schools. Restaurants new to Empty Bowls in 2015 include, so far, are American Food and Beverage (AF&B), Juice Junkies, LightCatcher Winery and Winslow's Wine Cafe. Soup and dessert from returning favorites range from high-end Italian, Mediterranean and Cowboy cuisine to down-home barbecue, Tex-Mex and fruit pies.
A silent auction of art, fine jewelry and entertainment features, among numerous other items, a Michael Bane painting, a freshwater pearl necklace, Fort Worth Opera tickets and Texas Motor Speedway tickets for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Raffle prizes include: Dallas Mavericks tickets; 42-inch Flatscreen LG LCD HD TV 1080P and; a Jason Aldean Concert Experience (tickets, backstage access and signed guitar). Raffle tickets are $10 each or three for $25.
Each dollar spent will help TAFB provide food for five meals to children and families in the greater Fort Worth region.
To purchase admission and raffle tickets, and for more information, visit tafb.org or call 817-332-9177, ext. 137. Individual admission tickets are $50 each; an individual V.I.P. ticket is $130 and provides early admission at 10:30 a.m. with corporate sponsors. Raffle tickets will also be on sale during the event.
For more information on Rachel Bates go to: www.tilesmile.etxy.com
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102