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Thomas Worthington High School Empty Bowls Fundraiser

Empty Bowls

Students form fundraiser, shape reminders of hunger

By PAMELA WILLIS Wednesday February 4, 2015 3:52 PM

Thomas Worthington High School art students have been elbow-deep in clay for the past month, making more than 100 colorful bowls for the annual Empty Bowls project.

The project includes a $10 soup supper from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, in the high school cafeteria, 300 W. Dublin Granville Road, that includes taking home a handcrafted bowl.

All proceeds will go to the Worthington Food Pantry.

Art teacher Alan Spencer said Ruth Norris' food- and consumer-science classes make two types of chili for the supper, with meat and veggie options.

"I usually bring some loaves of bread and butter to serve with the chili, and we have just water to drink," Spencer said. "This meal is kept simple to remind people that it is to help raise funds for those who are hungry."

The dinner has raised as much as $1,500 in a single night for local charities that fight hunger.

"Last year, it was around $700, due to weather and less advertising," Spencer said.

Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort that was started by the Imagine Render Group. Potters, students and educators create handcrafted bowls, and guests are invited to a simple meal of soup and bread, for a donation to a local charity that fights hunger. Guests are asked to keep the bowl as a reminder of all of the empty bowls in the world, Spencer said.

Educational grants paid for the food and supplies for this year's dinner so that 100 percent of the dinner proceeds could be given to the food pantry.

Spencer said students not only improve their pottery skills during the project, but they also help the community.

"The most important benefit that the students can get out of helping with making and glazing the bowls is that they realize they can utilize the skills they learn in the classroom for a project that helps families in need," Spencer said.

Junior Andrea Bauer said throwing the clay on the potter's wheel can be challenging.

"You have to make sure the clay is not too wet or too dry," she said. "Fresh clay is kneaded like bread on wedging tables to make sure there are no air bubbles. Then you go to the wheel."

At the wheel, the clay is centered on the bat plate attached to the wheel.

"Then you use your hands on the sides of the clay to center it and keep it evenly shaped so it doesn't wobble when you spin the wheel," Bauer said. "After that, you put your fingers in the middle to push down and make a hole. Once you have the hole, you then pull out toward you to get the bowl size you want; then pull up on the sides to make the bowl as tall as you want."

She said the clay has to be kept wet during the process.

"You have to have steady hands and lots of patience," she said. "You will mess up a lot, but it's OK. Practice makes perfect."

Bauer said she glazed five of the bowls in simple designs and colors -- cool blues and some greens.

"I like trying different combinations of colors," she said. "It's a cool testing opportunity to see what I would use on my own projects."

Earlier Event: February 14
Pantry Focus Group
Later Event: February 28
Easy Crock Pot Cooking