Fill­ing a need

Empty Bowls event raises $5700 for Way­farer’s House

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— Carol Berth stud­ied the ar­ray of ce­ramic bowls cov­er­ing ta­bles in­side Art Space on Main in down­town Elk­ton for quite a while Fri­day night be­fore one of those hand­crafted con­tain­ers caught her eye.

ELK­TON

“All of the bowls are beau­ti­ful,” qual­i­fied Berth, an Elk­ton-area res­i­dent, be­fore ex­plain­ing, “But I just like the color of this one. It’s just a real mel­low color. There’s just some­thing about it that I re­ally like.”

Berth pur­chased that stand­out ce­ramic bowl, a blueish num­ber that sort of matched the shirt she was wear­ing.

Ev­i­dently, the ce­ramic bowls cre­ated by Art Space

on Main pot­ter­ers are a hot item.

That ex­plains why al­most all of the 504 hand­crafted pot­tery bowls dis­played Fri­day night dur­ing the 7th an­nual Empty Bowls fundraiser were pur­chased for $10 to $30 – gen­er­at­ing $5,700 for the Way­farer’s House, a shel­ter for women and chil­dren in Elk­ton, ac­cord­ing to Pat Marks, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Meet­ing Ground, which over­sees the Way­farer’s House, the Mary Ran­dall Cen­ter and the emer­gency ro­tat­ing shel­ter.

For those who missed their chance to buy ce­ramic bowls on Fri­day, the ones that were not pur­chased will re­main on sale at Art Space on Main at 138 W. Main Street in Elk­ton un­til Fri­day, she noted.

The place was packed through­out most of the fourhour-long event. Ev­ery per­son who bought a bowl or bowls could help him­self or her­self to a soup meal that in­cluded but­tered bread and desserts. They could slurp the soup from their new bowls or use sup­plied paper bowls.

Art Space on Main mem­bers la­dled the soups, which were do­nated by Elk­ton restau­rants Pat’s Select, Olive Gar­den, Chili’s Bar & Grill, Spork, Ruby Tues­day and Tri­ton Bar & Grill. The list of soups in­cluded crab bisque and chicken en­chi­lada.

Se­lect­ing a bowl or bowls for pur­chase was a fun chal­lenge, given the sheer num­ber of choices.

“We both have taken ce­ram­ics (classes) be­fore. I can check out to see if the bowl is cen­tered,” said Julie Petty of North East, who shopped with her friend, Elk­ton-area Ba­tel.

For Ba­tel and Petty, how­ever, as well as most of the peo­ple who turned out Fri­day, it ul­ti­mately came down to aes­thet­ics when choos­ing a bowl to buy.

“Mainly, I fo­cus on what it looks like,” Petty said.

Ba­tel, Petty and others also were mind­ful of the cause – rais­ing money for the Way­farer’s House – when pur­chas­ing a bowl or, in the case of Philadel­phia res­i­dent Mark Lowe, sim­ply mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion.

“I have more of a col­lec­tion than an ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ce­ram­ics, and I prob­a­bly shouldn’t add to it be­cause I have so many. But I’m look­ing, drool­ing and cov­et­ing right now. I’m def­i­nitely tempted,” Lowe said, as he walked slowly around the ta­bles and, at times, picked up a bowl to ex­am­ine it more closely. “I’m not buy­ing any­thing, but I did make a do­na­tion be­cause it is a very wor­thy cause.”

Ca­role Huber, an Art Space on Main mem­ber, said she and her fel­low artists worked to­gether as they crafted the ce­ramic bowls dur­ing the months res­i­dent Kati lead­ing up to the event.

That’s why it was com­mon for an artist to mold a bowl on the pot­tery wheel, for ex­am­ple, only to have some­one else later usher it through the next phase or phases of pro­duc­tion, such as wax­ing the bot­tom of the bowl and putting it in the “bisque” fire and the “glaze” fire, she ex­plained.

“The com­mu­nity takes own­er­ship of each and ev­ery bowl,” Huber com­mented, not­ing that she, as a be­gin­ner, can cre­ate 10 to 12 bowls a day while a sea­soned pot­terer can pro­duce ap­prox­i­mately 20 in that time.

Along those lines, the bot­tom of each bowl bears only Art Space on Main ini­tials or some sim­i­lar ref­er­ence, ac­cord­ing to Marks.

“Nor­mally, an artist would sign his or her work. But these are signed Art Space on Main be­cause every­one works to­gether,” she said.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

Hand­crafted ce­ramic bowls for sale cover ta­bles in­side Art Space on Main in Elk­ton dur­ing Fri­day’s fundraiser.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

Shirley DuPell, an Art Space on Main mem­ber, smiles while tak­ing a break from ladling soup dur­ing the fundraiser.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

Pat Marks, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Meet­ing Ground, holds news­pa­per-wrapped ce­ramic bowls that she pur­chased as Christ­mas gifts for rel­a­tives.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

Each ce­ramic bowl hand­crafted for the fundraiser bears an Art Space on Main iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, in­stead of the in­di­vid­ual artist’s sig­na­ture.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

Elk­ton-area res­i­dent Reese Le­Pore, 4, sa­vors a spoon­ful of soup.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CARL HAMIL­TON

Art Space on Main mem­bers stand ready to la­dle free soup to peo­ple who bought a ce­ramic bowl or bowls.

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