When I was first introduced to ceramics in high school, I was simultaneously introduced to the Empty Bowl Project, and it has resonated with me since. It is a movement where ceramists and community members alike come together in order to fight hunger in their immediate area. Traditionally, an Empty Bowl’s event consists of a dinner, of a humble bowl of soup and bread, served in handmade, ceramic bowls an organization has made in advance. This organization will sell tickets for a price and serve those in attendance. Those in attendance take home the bowl in which their meal was served as a memento of the evening, and as reminder that there are several more empty bowls in our world, staring back at starving individuals every day. Furthermore, the proceeds raised from the ticket sales go to a soup kitchen or hunger charity in the region.
It’s a pretty neat idea – helping those in need within our home environments through ceramic art. It’s was so important to me, in fact, that this year I pitched the idea to my fellow members of Zeta Omicron, Marywood’s chapter of Kappi Pi, an international art honor society that has a pretty prevalent presence on campus. Only after a few minutes of discussion about Empty Bowls were there whispers of excitement and potential ideas rippling through the air. So my idea was well received, and we quickly began to embark on our preparations for the event.
We threw over 180 bowls in a little more than one week, and our goal of 200 was met shortly thereafter with donations from Matt Povse, Mark Chuck (our studio technician), and Skip Sensback (another awesome adjunct professor). It was difficult getting all those bowls thrown, trimmed, bisqued, and glazed before our deadline. All too often did we spend late nights in the studio and in meetings with little to no energy left in us, working out what we thought would be the last of the kinks in the process. All the faculty members were probably so tired of hearing us implore them for donations and ask incessant questions about the tradition of Empty Bowls, publicity, the loading of kilns, firing schedules, and so much more, but still in the midst of all the turmoil they were amicable and supported our efforts in getting more involved in both the studio environment and in the community.
As of this moment, the bowls are stacked in the kiln tightly, coming down from their time in the heat and will be ready to be unloaded tomorrow afternoon. We cut it close considering our Empty Bowl event is this Friday, but I’m incredibly eager to see what the kiln gods have cooked up for us.
Join us Friday, May 1st, 2015 at First Friday
So, this is the part where I implore you to come out to our Empty Bowl event, but we are running things a little differently this time around. As I mentioned above, our event will be going on this First Friday in downtown Scranton. We want all of our participants to also be able to partake in all of the other gallery openings and events First Friday has to offer, so we won’t make you buy a ticket for a sit down dinner. We might, however, be able to interest you in some complementary ice cream as you stroll down the streets of Scranton on a (hopefully) warm, May evening. You can come to The Launchpad, 507 Linden Street, from 6 pm to 9 pm and take a gander at all of the fruits of our labor, purchase a one-of-a-kind ceramic bowl of your choosing, and get a complimentary voucher for a free scoop of ice cream from none other than Scoopz Ice Cream. You can then take this voucher, bowl in hand, to the conveniently parked Scoopz Ice Cream truck just outside our venue, surrender said voucher in exchange for a sinfully sweet scoop either in your bowl for the authentic Empty Bowls experience, or in a paper cup for, perhaps, a more sanitary one. Either way, you won’t want to miss it!
In all seriousness, the hunger problem is not just in the third world, it is a lot closer than we often recognize. Please help us help the starving in our area. All the proceeds from our Empty Bowl sale will go to Meals on Wheels of Northeastern Pennsylvania, who for so long have shown such dedication to easing the hunger pains of so many of our neighbors. It is for the hungry we are holding this event, so please, clear your schedules, share this post, invite your friends, and treat yourself to an evening full of fun that will also help to serve others.
And thank you for the support!