Good Shepherd Caregivers’ Empty Bowls: Friday, March 13

The 15th annual Potters Bowl held at Shepherdstown Fire Hall (Barron Hall) is this Friday, March 13. Doors open at 5:30.

Sycmore Pottery bowls
Pam Parziale, of Sycamore Pottery, long time empty bowl maker and local beloved potter says: “We just delivered a potter’s dozen to Good Shepherd Caregivers for their Empty Bowls dinner. We made soup bowls designed to make you happy to donate $30; you take a bowl home after a delicious meal of soup and bread. All proceeds benefit community members that need Good Shepherd Caregivers free service to remain independent and healthy!!  Thanks in advance for helping!  Quiz: What’s a potter’s dozen?”

For tickets, call (304)876-3325.

For the answer to Pam ‘s question about what is a potter’s dozen, visit Sycamore Pottery on facebook…


Order Supplies through Frederick Potter’s Guild: this week

Want to order clay, supplies, tools, anything from Clayworks Supplies in Baltimore, but don’t want to drive that far to pick it up?  You’re in luck!  The Potter’s Guild of Frederick is placing a bulk order this week, and you can be part of it.

Go to Clayworks Supplies and make a list of what you would like, and what it will cost.  Forward that list to Esther Murphy:

Orders will be placed after the PGoF meeting this monday 3/2/15, so act fast!  Pick-up will be at a guild member’s house in Frederick, TBA, about one week later.

How it works:  PGoF is a non-profit, so no tax is charged on the order.  The delivery fee of $60 is divided between everyone who orders, so your charge will be a little more than what you order (but much less than driving to Baltimore).  Any bulk discounts are returned to PGoF to fund future guild events.

Potter's Guild of Frederick

And if you haven’t checked out the Potter’s Guild of Frederick, they have a gallery storefront in downtown Frederick, an active guild, and have meetings with activities monthly. Their annual Brain Freeze each August is an Empty Bowls Meets Ice Cream fundraiser for the Frederick Rescue Mission, and a great opportunity to be part of the larger ceramics community.  Next meeting: Monday (3/2/15) at Common Market in Frederick.

Hagerstown Community Free Clinic: Soup Bowl this Sunday

This sunday, February 22, the 24th Annual Soup Bowl takes place at the Hagerstown Elks Club, with all proceeds benefiting the Community Free Clinic.  Tickets are $50, dinner starts at 5pm, and lines usually form early to get the best bowls.  (smile) How about that!

Bowls by many local potters will be available to choose from, including these by Julia Wright Truby.

Bowls by many local potters will be available to choose from, including these by Julia Wright Truby.

This is my first year participating in this Soup Bowl, but I can definitely get behind a free clinic, and a long-standing 24 year tradition of handmade pottery, good soup and camaraderie.  I sent along a box of bowls, and hope to see you waiting in line…

Call 301-733-5039 or 301-733-9234 to reserve your ticket.

Here’s a Herald-Mail article with more info and the story of Julia Wright Truby, the potter who made the bowls in the image above.

Empty Bowls: Made In China for Corporate Engagement

Strange headline?  Well, yes, I agree.  Many potters donate bowls to Empty Bowls programs, which tend to be benefits where potters donate bowls, restaurants/chefs donate soup and bread, and people make a donation to eat soup out of a bowl that they then keep.  Empty Bowls programs traditionally benefit food banks and other hunger-related programs.

The Capitol Area Food Bank has been a recipient of my bowls for many years, since my time living in DC.  A few weeks ago, I received an email from the CAFB, and this is what it said:

“Hi Joy,

The Capital Area Food Bank is starting an exciting new corporate engagement effort that will expose the work of one lucky artist to thousands across the Washington metro area.

As a way to expand the much loved Empty Bowls concept, we are inviting our top local artisans that we have worked with in the past to submit a design for a bowl that will be entered into the Empty Bowls Challenge.  We will select a winner, which will be mass-produced and then sold to our partners in the corporate community.  Companies will give their employees the chance to purchase a replica of the winning bowl, and the proceeds will go to the food bank.

Would you be interested in submitting a design? Please let me know if this sounds like an opportunity you’d like to get involved with.

Many thanks,

Now, I couldn’t resist responding for clarification, which came back as:

“Thanks for your feedback.  The bowls would be mass produced in China, and the artist would not be paid for their design.

 Let me know if this is helpful information.  I understand your reservations, and I hope to work with you for future Empty Bowls events!



To be clear, CAFB will continue to have artisan-made bowls for their Empty Bowls.  Always have, and hopefully always will.  This is a new initiative, focusing on reaching out to coprorate entities.  (thanks for the clarification by phone, CAFB!)

As for this new initiative, I realize that there are probably ceramic artists who would love to have their work reproduced in China, but I am not one of them. I love to ‘re’-produce my own work.  In my mind, a production potter designs their own form, produces it in large or small runs, and is often paid a ‘wholesale’ price for their work, which then sold retail, whether for a business or for a non-profit.   As an artist potter, I make work in smaller series, but have, on occasion, made larger runs for good reasons.

My work, mass produced in China? No way.  Is my strong reaction old-fashioned?  Am I missing something?  Is there really a benefit here that I am not seeing?  What’s the story here?