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Bowls full of care

Every time they look or eat something out of the bowl," said Simona Boler, "They'll think about what it's for."

Boler is among those taking pottery making in classes over six weeks in School District 833 Community Education.

In addition to learning how to make wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery, with clay donated by Continental Clay, each student is contributing four to five bowls for the Empty Bowls Project. Local pottery artists are also contributing pottery that can be bought at a silent auction.

About 400 bowls will be needed for the Empty Bowls dinner from 4 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the South Washington Senior Center in the District Program Center.

For $10, participants will be served soup, donated by Tinucci's Restaurant, in hand-made bowls. Bread is being donated by Great Harvest Bakery and bowls and spoons donated by Nelson's Market.

Bowls will be taken home as a reminder that many people in the world live in extreme poverty. Proceeds will go to buy food for children in a Ugandan orphanage in drought-afflicted east Africa.

"I'm already signed up to attend," Boler said.

She took her first pottery class while in the first months of pregnancy with her third child but got sick watching the pottery wheel go around. This time around, however, she is not ill and is learning what she has always wanted to do, "throw a pot."

Emily McIntyre, Lake Junior High School art teacher, is teaching one of the classes. After taking a pottery class in high school, she got hooked on ceramics. Pursuing a master's degree in fine arts, she recently completed a course in African art.

Classes were also taught by Kristina Ervin, also a district art teacher, who took part in "A Place at the Table," a sculpture exhibit through the Women's Caucus for the Arts.

Molly Engstrom, Woodbury Junior High School and Woodbury High School art teacher, is also one of the instructors. Her awareness of hunger and poverty resulted from several visits to Sunbeam Boys' Home in Jamaica.

Angelina Venturo, 11, and Brittany Moreno, 12, are not inspired to become art teachers after attending McIntyre's classes but enjoyed the experience.

While pummeling her clod of clay on the counter to remove air bubbles, Angelina said she was told she could keep some of the pieces of pottery she creates, but is choosing not to. "I thought that was kind of dumb," she said. "You should be able to give them to people."

"Making things works on your patience," said Brittany, as she tried to center a lump of clay on her wheel.

"It's a kind of therapy," said her mother, Deb. "Not that you're stressed at age 12."

Still, Brittany worked for most of the class trying to perfect one project, making a goblet.

"I took pottery class when I was young," said Jennie Reed. "Not only is this class an opportunity to make pottery again. It's seemed so worthwhile."

"I have a minor in art," said Deb Moreno. "Since I've had kids, I haven't had time to pursue it. It's so much fun to have something you know you made. The perfect gift is something you made yourself."

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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