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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Creative (and Empty) Bowls

Deal-makers aim for "win-win" as they believe
that means both parties get a benefit.
Sometimes, the stars align and a particular project
turns out to be a "win-win-win-win..."
Such was this year's fundraiser for "Feeding Avery Families."

Our quasi-official clay group (from 3 different states) scheduled our second annual Mudfest to coincide with our leader's (Mother Mud's) favorite community project: Empty Bowls.  Since the indefatigable Patti Conner-Greene spearheads the construction of clay bowls in the Avery County High School art classes she had also challenged us to each make one or more bowls to donate to the fundraiser.

The Mudpuppies
pottery support group and creative muses

Opening business included lunch, catching up and a birthday celebration.  While we were prepared to spend some time experimenting with "pinch pots," we first wanted to present our wares to the "Head of Pottery," Ms. Conner-Greene, the bowl collector.


I show you first my humble piece as I don't consider myself a potter and was really flummoxed by the task at hand.  It would not have taken too much for me to hide it and not "go public".  Live and learn.


Amy bravely unwrapped her efforts and began discussing techniques used and what she learned.  She talked about certain pieces that did not meet her "standards" and might be held from donation.


Lisa began sharing her work and soon we were all laughing and oohing and ahhing and trading "secrets" for how to get certain results.  We giggled over how much better the potential rejects looked out of their home studios....


Patti convinced us that despite our initial reaction to appearance she really loved, but even more, wanted, needed each and every bowl.  There was little time to hem and haw so back into the boxes and the bowls were off to the next day's event.

I'll save our pinching experience as well as our field trips for another time.  Fast forward to the day of the event and we see three (non-professional) potters arriving to volunteer for the event.  



 Barbara assisting a donor select a bowl


a view of the many bowls donated and Amy answering questions

Attendees make a donation to the organization in exchange for selecting a handmade bowl and then they sit down to enjoy a range of soups, breads and desserts.  Craft it and they will come: donors poured in to support the cause.  

Are they aware of what else they did?  

They gave a handful of fledging crafters the greatest high a maker can receive: they valued the product.  Professional pots mingled with first-ever pots, wondrous bowls cohabited with the humble, earth tones sat in harmony with wild colors.  But each one was lovingly picked up and handled with respect.  Our Puppies gave up guessing which one a donor would finally choose; each and every bowl seemed to ring the chimes of someone.  It is an understatement to say that the newbie potters saw their own work in an entirely new light.  The love of a stranger made a huge impact.  The adoption of one's potential reject changed its status forever.  Watching someone willingly select something you made provided a rush of adrenaline that is rare and wonderful.


Lisa rearranging the display as inventory diminishes

Long before the event was to serve its last bowl of soup the available "empty bowls" dwindled.  For the first time there was not a single hand-made, donated pottery bowl to pack up and store: they were all in new homes.  And, before even adding in anticipated funds from a silent auction, the event organizers were counting over $10,000 raised towards helping feed needy families in Avery County this winter.  Certainly a huge benefit for the organization and the citizens its serves.

Patti has often shared the generosity of high school students donating their first bowl as opposed to keeping it, and she told stories of the classes at the senior center making and giving a generous amount.  But she could not have predicted the numerous benefits participating in such a project would hold for each of us.  I'm not sure any of the Mud Pups have touched ground yet.

Take away on paper?  #1- When you compliment someone's art you are giving them a priceless, precious gift and encouragement to continue. #2- Never, ever underestimate the ability of your work to please, get it out there, let it breathe....it will find a friend.

win-win-win-win-win....such a deal!

MUDDY FINGERS,
Cindy

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