Happy Potters ‘Bowl Over’ Goal

Lynne Kelsey

Empty Bowls of Denton is a fundraising event where ticket holders select a handmade bowl and then enjoy a luncheon of soup and bread. Happy Potters have chosen this effort as their annual project to give back to the community. Potter Pat Bender gathered a willing group of her fellow potters for a bowl-making workshop back in June, with a goal of making 75 pieces to donate. Our generous and creative members far surpassed that goal, donating 121 bowls. These represent $3,630 in ticket sales at $30 each, but because the food banks can effectively triple that amount due to their ability to buy goods in bulk, the value of the tableful of pottery is nearly $11,000!

The Empty Bowl luncheon will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Harvest House in Denton. Tickets can be purchased online starting Oct. 1 at ctsdenton.org/empty-bowls or at the door the day of the event. If you cannot attend, you can go online starting Oct. 8 to select a bowl or make a donation. Those bowls can be picked up Oct. 29. All proceeds benefit Denton Community Food Center and Our Daily Bread, together with Monsignor King Outreach Center.

The beautiful bowls were created using one of two methods: throwing or slab-building. Throwing, so called because the potter “throws” the initial body of clay onto the wheel to get it to stick, involves careful application of hand and finger pressure to center the clay so that the product will be symmetrical. Then, with the use of thumbs, palms, and tools, the bowl is shaped to the potter’s satisfaction.

Slab-building, as the name implies, starts with a slab of clay, but prior to that, the clay must be “wedged” to condition it and remove any air bubbles. This involves a method of pushing and rolling the clay against the work surface, after which it can be rolled out to the desired thickness. A template is used to cut an arc shape, which is then joined at the short edges. A round bottom is added, and the shape of the bowl can then be carefully refined.

Even though these bowls were all made using these two methods, no two of them are alike. Each bears the artistic stamp of its creator, as a wide variety of decorating techniques have been used. Some are hand-painted with motifs, some have different glazes layered on them, and some even have accessories like chopsticks, but all of them are lovely and were made in the spirit of generosity and goodwill.

If you would like to purchase similar examples of our members’ beautiful craftsmanship for yourself or for gifts, don’t forget to visit the Happy Potters at the Holiday Market on Oct. 8! We will have household items, holiday decorations, whimsical critters, and much more. We are sure you’ll find a piece you will just have to take home with you!