The Hub City Empty Bowls staff sees new faces at every bowl-making session. Regulars bring co-workers and friends, some people with an itch to create read about us in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, and others show up simply based on a Facebook status or poster downtown. At any rate, there are always eager first-timers.
But there are also always the every-timers. And where would Empty Bowls be without them? Familiar face Cody H. Owens seems to have his hands in the clay every session, and he’s written a blog post about his 2014 experience.
Last year, I was able to attend about 3 of the Empty Bowls sessions. My introduction to the project occurred shortly after I began my employment at Chapman Cultural Center in mid-2013, and I was hooked early on. I consider myself an artsy type, so it was right up my alley. I even had a compelling interest in sculpting as an elementary and middle school student. However, that interest took the path of the typical pre-teen hobby, and I replaced it with other things. Now, Hub City Empty Bowls has reinvigorated my creative energy. That’s why I didn’t miss a single bowl-making session this year. Not. A single. One.
My partner Ada and I could probably even volunteer to facilitate the sessions we’ve been so many times. We know not to use too much water, not to make patterns too deep, how to score the clay when necessary, and how to smooth the edges with the sheet of plastic. Well, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves, but we definitely agree that our artistic skills are better now than before Empty Bowls. We’re always learning. And after a long day, whether we’re professional status or not, molding clay is just the therapy we need.
Instruction and materials are provided for free at the sessions. That fact alone makes the session worth the while. Clay can cost around a dollar per pound, and the Empty Bowls instructors are professionals. Really, where else can you get professional instruction with free materials? Oh, or that feel-good sensation of knowing it’s done with a philanthropic spirit?
Don’t get me wrong, bowl-making isn’t always a happy-go-lucky process. There has been a session or two where I’ve walked away frustrated because I couldn’t bring my vision to fruition. It’s the perfectionist in me. But somehow, it’s always okay. I connected with my inner creator and gave back to my community. Working with the clay is so therapeutic, no matter how frustrated I get with my amateur skill, I always leave my negative energy in the bowl. It’s a win-win.
Now that all 5 sessions of 2014 are over, we wait. Soup Day is less than a month away, and–honestly–it’s one of my favorite events Spartanburg has to offer. The happiness in the room is so thick, you can cut it with a knife (or fishing line for a more even cut, another trick we Empty Bowls regulars have picked up on). The anticipation of Soup Day almost makes me forget that I won’t be able to make another bowl until summer of next year.
~ Cody H. Owens