Empty Bowls sets community bowl-making days

September 12, 2010 12:53:00 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


One thousand bowls. That''s the goal organizer Al (Alisa) Holen has set for the second annual Empty Bowls event in Columbus Nov. 6. "That''s double last year''s count," said the Mississippi University for Women ceramics instructor. 


Already, students and citizens area-wide are working with clay donated by Columbus Brick Co. to build that inventory. When filled with delicious soup and offered to the public for $10 each at the main event at Brickerton on Military Road, every bowl -- and every buyer -- will be supporting the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen based in Columbus, as well as Global Connections African Hunger Relief. "And you have something beautiful to keep," said Holen. 


Last autumn''s inaugural Empty Bowls sale went through its 500-plus bowls quickly and brought in about $6,000 for the two agencies. 


"We sincerely hope to have enough bowls to last more than an hour!" Holen smiled. "Last year, we literally sold out of bowls in under an hour and a half." 




Come on down 


Community Bowl Making Days at MUW are Oct. 8 from 4-9 p.m. and Oct. 9 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Anyone interested is invited to try their hand at the potter''s wheel. MUW clay students are on hand to help. 


Groups are also invited to book separate dates in the studio. "You may have an office, church, softball team or group of friends who would enjoy the opportunity to try their hands at making some wheel-thrown or hand-built bowls. If so, there are dates we can book your group," Holen encouraged. "Or, people are just welcome to come into the clay studio at MUW on Oct. 8-9 and give it a whirl!" 


Groups including the Y-Teens, Kappa Pi/Art Student League of MUW, Columbus Air Force Base, The Link and others are signed on. "There''s an MUW faculty day scheduled," noted Holen, "and the staff from Zachary''s is giving up a Sunday to make bowls, and a group from First Presbyterian has just come on board, too." 


Holen has also delivered, or will deliver, clay to students at Heritage Academy, Columbus High School, West Lowndes, East Mississippi Community College and Mooreville High School. 


"This is terrific, because the students and teachers will be making and finishing, and then delivering, finished bowls!" the instructor enthused. Many don''t realize, she explained, that once bowls are "made" at the W, they''re only about a quarter complete. MUW clay students and former students come in to trim, clean, bisque fire, glaze and glaze fire all the bowls. 




Collective effort 


In addition to the donation of clay from Columbus Brick, Empty Bowls benefits this year from the generous contribution of soup by two Columbus restaurants -- Zachary''s and Trinity CafĂ©.  


"I love how the community pulls together for this event and how it brings so many people to the city and to MUW. Nov. 6 will be a big day in Columbus, with a downtown open house, the Decorative Arts Forum at Trotter, the Kappa Pi Autumn Art Auction and Empty Bowls! If anyone stays home that Saturday, we''ll have to worry about them!" Holen laughed. 


To schedule a bowl-making excursion for your group, e-mail Holen at [email protected], or call 662-241-7814.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.