Monday, February 25, 2013

Bowl-A-Thon 2: Wherein We Colorize

I've written the prelude here.
We had so much fun creating, we decided to return to decorate.
We didn't know how complicated that would turn out to be.

It was cold outside
but the activity was inside the gym
 and GRIN was there to help.
 The bowls we'd created two weeks ago had been fired.
They were waiting for us .
One of those is mine.  
Rest assured, it is not one of the ones to which your eye was immediately attracted.
I am many things; an artiste is not one of them.

 Our first task was to sand the pointy spots.
There were to be "no little pieces which might break off in the kiln".
There were a lot of "No" and "Don't" instructions.
On some level, it was quite intimidating.

 Some sanded quickly.
 Some were quite precise.
 Some stood and some sat
Some protected their lungs with masks.
 There was a lot of dust accumulating on the tables.
This picture was taken only an hour into the all day event.
I probably should have worn one; I found ceramic dust in unusual places all day long.

 After the sanding, came the washing.
Small sponges, not too much water,
 always smiling.
 Then came waxing.  
Wax repels glaze.
Where the wax is, the color won't be.
This process was a lot more complex than you can imagine.
 We needed a supervisor to talk us through it.
 It required concentration.
 And, though it doesn't look like much here,
this waxer was justifiably proud of her achievement.
After all that, the actual glazing was almost anti-climactic.
Wielding tongs as a dipping tool,
or a toilet bowl brush as a stirrer,
 our guide led us through the intricacies of dipping.
 Notice how the hearts on the left and the entire bottom on the right are free of glaze.
Taking time while waxing was rewarded with a "Good Job!"
One is never too old to hear that.
 The objects could be dipped on the bias.
 They could be dipped once in grey
and then a second time,
after it was totally dry,
 in darker blue.
Chicago Gal and her grandson were seriously paying attention.
There are so many ways to involved kids in your life.
I love it when GRIN and church and kids and fun overlap.
Tipping the edges of the bowls required a steady hand.
That white glaze kept trying to increase the size of its footprint.
 Neither Miss Vicki nor the glazing supervisor knew why the glaze changed color on the bottom,
but neither was complaining.
Of course, Miss Vicki was pretty giddy from the beginning.
 After the dipping was done, the finished products were set on a table to dry.

Some of the participants couldn't get enough.
For a small fee, containers of glaze could be purchased
 and designs could be painted on the unglazed bowls.
Some artists were painting atop designs the creator had carved into the original design of the bowl.

while others created their own pictures.
Some took short breaks to enjoy the tools in new and wonderful ways.

 But mostly, there was love.
And now, a shameless plug for a worthy cause:

The bowls were made for Tucson's Interfaith Community Services Food Bank fundraiser.
Called Empty Bowls, a $15 ticket buys you lunch and a bowl of your choice.
Food is donated by local restaurants.
The bowl is not food-friendly; it's a reminder that someone, somewhere has an empty bowl,
and an on-going Thank You from ICS and the families it serves.

It's happening at the Chinese Cultural Center on Saturday March 16th from 11am-1:30pm.
Click here to purchase a ticket on-line.


  1. So awesome! I love all of them. Wish I could be there. Sounds like such a great cause. I love doing things like this. So much love put into the craft and then a great reward at the end--a great cause.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Hope your weekend was lovely.

    Megan xxx

  2. Our Food Bank does this too, but with art students from local high school providing the bowls. It is a huge fund raiser. I had never seen all the steps before. It is quite the process. Loved your explanation of all the details.

    1. Art By Heart liked the first step-by-step pictures, and I was happy to provide the second set as well. Glad you weren't bored :)

  3. What great photos and descriptions! Thanks for taking part in the bowl-a-thon and for helping us get the word out about Empty Bowls. The event is truly a community effort--we couldn't do it without all of the volunteers and artists who are making bowls. We're looking forward to seeing all of the different pieces that have been created to support the ICS Food Bank and help fight hunger in Pima County.

    Alison Betts, Interfaith Community Services


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