Southern Arizona Clay Artists
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" Congratulations to each and everyone of you on a great job on Empty Bowls for the ICS Food Bank. Here are the figures as of now with a few things left to come in, net profit is $72,000 which is $17,000 more than last year!!!"
Jada Ahern, SACA Empty Bowls Chair
Below are excerpts form an article
published in the Marana Voice:
Empty Bowls started as an international grassroots effort
to fight hunger. The basic premise is simple: Potters work
with the community to create handcrafted bowls that are
donated to a local food bank.
The food bank then puts on an event where guests are invited to a
simple meal of soup and bread. In exchange for a cash donation,
guests are asked to keep the bowl they chose as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The money raised helps to diminish food insecurity.
Empty Bowl events take place across the United States and in at least a dozen other countries. Many millions of dollars have been raised and donated to hungerfighting organizations.
Here in Tucson, the Southern Arizona Clay Artists (SACA) has been
assisting three local food banks by donating bowls. Just this past fall,
SACA supported an Empty Bowl event in southern Tucson at the
Mulcahy YMCA / Kino Community Center to raise funds for
the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. In its ninth year,
SACA artists made 1,000 bowls for this event that helped to raise
“It is incredible what can be done,” said Lil Kinslow, who teaches clay arts at the YMCA and is a long time member of SACA. “Some 850 people came for lunch! We could not pull this off if it weren’t for all the generous donations. The YMCA gives us the space and studios around town put on mini bowl-a-thons to help us reach our goal."
In March, former SACA President Jada Ahern will donate all the
bowls from artists she has been coordinating with for
an Empty Bowls event that will benefit Interfaith Community
Services. Last year the 1,000 bowls donated helped to raise
$38,000 in donations.
"People are very generous with their time and talents,”
Steve Heib, from Marjons said his store and their store
in Phoenix have donated more than 6,000 pounds
of clay since Empty Bowl campaigns first started.
“We are very pleased to be part of
this effort,” he noted.
to read more in the
Check back from time to time and we will keep you posted on the next Empty Bowl event and how you can purchase tickets.
To contact SACA's
Empty Bowl Chair
email Jada Ahern at
Empty Bowls 2018 - Let’s get an early start!
SACA and YOU have been amazing bowl creators for two huge
Empty Bowl Events per year for many years. After a few
complications and clarifications SACA now participates in one
event per year. Having our members create 2000 bowls per year
was awesome, inspiring and imposing. Come to find out the two
food banks we were working with actually work in kind with each
other. It is better for the artists and better for the event planners
to do this once per year and ask for 1200 bowls. In coming years,
it is rumored that the event venue will move to larger
accommodations because of its popularity.
SACA is currently working with Interfaith Community Services
(ICS) to produce the bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraiser held
annually in March. It is $25 per person which includes a
sampling of soups, bread, dessert plus one of our handmade bowls. For some people coming to the event, this is the first time they have ever held or owned a handmade bowl. For others, they come every year adding to their collections and frequently searching for the same artists from years past. For even a few others, it’s artists just like you and me searching for that “one” bowl that speaks to us. This is an eye opening event for some and entertainment for others all in the name of helping the food compromised in our community.
This is where my quandary as SACA’s Empty Bowls liaison to ICS steps in. A majority of our pieces are beautiful and functional. By this I mean that they are fired properly, have no glaze pinholes or bubbles, have no sharp areas, are food safe and have a foot that has been smoothed so it won’t ruin the owner’s coffee or breakfast table. In our crush to deliver 2000+ bowls per year in the past we seemed to have moved away from our quality bowls and been focusing more on quantity. This has been wonderful for the food compromised in Southern Arizona for years but not so good for the people that come to the event late and have to pick from some of the sad bowls.
SACA and the Tucson clay community have now been given the privilege of producing just 1200 bowls per year. We want our bowls to be memorable and special in people’s homes. Last year I learned during the event that they set up a room for VIP’s with the nicest bowls that came in. I found that surprising and intimidating. We have such a wide range of quality of 1-2 lb. bowls. As one of the potter’s, I hoped that one of my bowls made it into the VIP room and, “dang!” I wish I had put my card on it. I know that some of you will take issue with this comment, because we should be humble and doing this in the spirit of giving and remain anonymous?!?! I get this, and held this belief until last year. I saw many people having their first intimate experience of falling in love with a handmade bowl. I watched the people rush in, pick a beautiful bowl, then see another and say, “Gosh I want both and I would like to know the name of the potter who made this one, and this one, and this one...”
All of the participating artists and studios are very helpful with this event. In an effort to recognize and promote both artists and the studios, I would like to up the ante and ask a few more things of the artists. If you would like to be recognized, you should not only have your signature on your bowl but you should also affix your card to the bowl. If your studio is working as a group, I would like to recognize and promote you too, so please attach a card or info sticker.
Last year someone pointed out to me that we really needed to recognize the awesome people who make these pieces. People take our bowls home to use for anything from a coin holder to their daily cereal bowl. You all make such beautiful work, let’s really show it off. As an incentive and to promote our makers we will recognize and award several categories of bowls plus silent auction those pieces at the event. Category and entry details will be available on SACA’s website November 15st.
We are a hard working group of people ranging from professional potters and artists to community studios and charitable church groups that glaze our thrown pieces. By making bowls for this event we help the food compromised that are in our very own neighborhoods. We also put local handmade pottery into the hands of more people. This helps us to enlighten people to the cultural and environmental benefits of our local handmade work. We enrich people’s lives with what we do. There is no harm in being recognized for that.
Please let us know as soon as you are ready for clay. We have Cone 5 and Cone 10 BMIX now. We will need to know how much, and what cone. If you absolutely can’t work with BMIX, let us know your preference and we will see what we can do. If you participated last year you will be getting a call from Lori Kindler (firstname.lastname@example.org 520-239-6663) to touch base and see what she can do to help you get started. If you are ready now, just call or email. Although our event is in March, we can collect from you as soon as your pieces are ready. We will also trade a bag of clay for 25 or more pots if you have them already made. If you want to just make and not glaze that is good too, as we have “glazers”! If you want to glaze and not make, let us know that too. We have a place for everyone at this table.
Please watch for more information mid-November. Thanks so much for your past support and your future support.
(If you are no longer the Empty Bowls connection for your group, please let us know who to contact.)