Saturday, January 17, 2009

Empty Bowls

Last night I had the extreme joy to participate in throwing for an Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Larimer County Food Bank. The Guild donated the clay for us to throw bowls, which will be given to the food bank for their fundraiser. Guests have the opportunity to pick a bowl of their choice, and then use it to enjoy a soup dinner. The food, the bowls, and the time are all donated, making it a great fund raising event in which all proceeds go directly to the food bank.

In short, last night was a throwing party. Though it was a smaller turn-out from the potters than I expected, it was still great fun. There were about a dozen of us throwing, and five or six upstairs hand-building their bowls, while the great Joe Aiken cooked us a sweet cajun dinner. I believe I've mentioned before that sometimes I just want to go in and throw and turn my music up loud and not deal with being social, but this was a great time, and great people.

Potters at work.

I discovered something last night: I love throwing. A lot of my work is very simple, formally, with a stronger emphasis on the decorative aesthetic - something that might indicate the decorating is my favorite part. But really, I love to throw. If somebody called me up and said, "Hey, I've got a hundred pounds of clay here - will you throw it for me?" I'd probably have to say yes. Because I love it. I love the centering, I love the mess. I love the raw work, pre-trimmed, pre-finished. I love cranking them out, bowl after bowl. I love the process, I love to throw. Makes me think that going into production work might not be so painful after all.

Aside from a mix-up over whether the clay we were using was in the right firing range (It wasn't. It's a good thing we caught it, or the first 20 bowls produced would have melted in the firing. Yes, clay can melt.), it was a good night of throwing for me. I threw in the neighborhood of 20 bowls before they told me I needed to stop. So I went on to trimming them (trimming = turning them upside down and putting a nice smooth foot on them, so they don't scratch your dining room table. a good trimmed foot is also aesthetically pleasing) until it was time to go home. I still have lots more trimming to do.

My contribution.

In any event, it was a good evening spent with good people for a good cause. Our "quota" was to produce 40 bowls for the food bank. Somebody counted that we were closer to 70. Good work, Northern Colorado Potters Guild.

Now we just need to trim, bisque, glaze, and fire them again.

Special thanks to my lovely wife, Krystal, for sharing me with the Guild on a Friday night. After I finished, we went to Perkins for a slice of pie and some conversation. It was great. The pie, that is. And the conversation.

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