Buy a ceramic bowl, fill it with soup, and help feed Bethel’s needy. That’s the idea behind the Bethel Empty Bowls event happening this weekend. Over 150 hand made ceramic bowls will be sold and the proceeds will help fill the shelves of the local food bank.
Reyne Athanas has made pottery and taught ceramics in Bethel for decades and was involved in helping organize this year’s event. She gave me a preview of the bowls which they’ve been storing at the cultural center the last several days.
Angela: “So, to me it looks like there’s a hundred ceramic bowls here on this table.”
Reyne: “We actually made 150-155 and I have another load over at the art room to bring over so we’re hoping for about 160-175 will be over at the Lion’s Club.”
Angela: “Wow, so tell me where those numbers come from, those are actually separate people making bowls?”
Reyne: “Well, some people made two, three, four bowls at a time that came in, because we had three weekends where people could come and make stuff and then all of the ceramic students at KUC, they all did like 10 each that they donated so.”
Angela: “Looks like there’s different kind of categories for these bowls.”
Reyne: “Right and some of it has to do with size because if you are a first time person on the wheel your bowl maybe comes out a half an inch tall. So, you’re not going to get a lot of soup in that. And then some of them are hand built because I only have seven wheels that people can use so if they’re all occupied, people then did hand building and made their bowls that way. And they’re all what’s considered high-fire which means that they’re safe for stove, dishwasher, microwave.”
Angela: “Alright, so some of them are $5, $10, some $15 and then $20. Walk us through the process of the Empty Bowls.”
Reyne: “So, all the bowls will be over at the Lion’s Club and when you come in, you’ll see this display and the prices on them, and you just pick out the one you want, the one that appeals to you the most, that you like. And you’ll pay the cashier the amount that’s on the bowl. And then you’ll go in and they’re going to be serving chili, split pea soup, turkey soup. Tiffany Tony told me she’s going to make something that she’s going to make something spectacular so I know that’s going to be great. And then they’ll have some corn bread and lemonade, I think. It’s a good deal and all the money goes directly to the food bank. All of the clay, all of the firings, they were all donated by KUC. All of the ceramic students helped trim them and fire them and it’s just part of being helpful with the community and supporting the food bank.”
Angela: “And the food bank is the Lion’s Club food bank that gives food out to people in need.”
Reyne: “Right, Bethel Lion’s Club does the food bank monthly, and they’re stores are not always very full, you know, there’s not always a lot of choices for people. So, we’re hoping with this cash inflow, they can fill their shelves with items that will be good for the folks that need it.”
Diane Loiuse of Anchorage happened to be walking around the area during our interview. She was just visiting Bethel, but happens to own the Aurora Art Gallery in downtown Anchorage. I spoke with her as she checked out the bowls.
Diane: “This is wonderful and it comes from so many generous hearts.”
Angela: “Can you describe what you have in your hand there?”
Diane: (describes ceramic bowl that has blue glaze on it)
Angela: “Do you think you might buy that bowl?
The Bethel Empty Bowls runs 2 to 5 p.m. this Saturday at the Bethel Lion’s Club.