Sessions are over. Soup Day is nigh!

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

Next Bowl-Making Session this Saturday

Time to get your hands messy again… we’re back at Chapman Cultural Center this Saturday, Aug. 16 in Spartanburg Art Museum’s Art School studios. Bring your friends. Bring your family. Bring your co-workers. Heck, invited complete strangers to make a bowl! You can’t go wrong with Empty Bowls.

This will be the 4th of 5 bowl-making sessions, so Saturday will be one of the last opportunities to get creative. Be sure to share pictures of your bowls with the HCEB Facebook page, too.

Read more!

HCEB empty bowl

Spartanburg Native, New to Empty Bowls

Some Spartanburg citizens have made enough clay bowls since Hub City Empty Bowls started to open their own china shop. Others have only just begun. Below is a short blog post by a guest blogger Adelaide Hulbert, a recent intern at Chapman Cultural Center who just discovered what we’re all about this year.


Growing up in Spartanburg, I have been exposed to and influenced by many community service programs and nonprofit organizations. We are extremely lucky that there are so many things going on in Spartanburg right now that are focused on enriching and enhancing the community. Unfortunately, that can make it hard to decide where to spend your time and sometimes more importantly, where to spend your money. If you’ve been involved in any type of community service, I’m sure you know that most organizations revolve around getting donations. But for me, as a college student without a full time job, giving donations to every organization simply isn’t feasible. I’ve given what I could to bake sales, “Guess the number” jelly bean jars, registering for 5ks, and giving spare change to the Salvation Army Santa Clause, but it seems like there are very few ways to help out without spending too much money.

For me, this is what makes Hub City Empty Bowls unique. This organization offers a fun, easy, and completely free way for everyone to help out the community, by making clay bowls! Throughout the year they offer several bowl-making events where you can just show up and make a bowl, no strings attached. How easy is that? These bowls are later sold to raise money for organizations in our local community that are helping the needy. But right now, all they are asking for is a little bit of your time and creativity to help make Spartanburg a better place. There are only three more bowl-making events before what it is all leading up to… Soup Day! (more on that later), so be sure to try to stop by one, two or all of them!

~ Adelaide Hulbert

Join us in making bowls. Get your hands dirty!

This year, all of the public bowl-making events will be held at either Spartanburg Art Museum School, located at Chapman Cultural Center or West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg. At these events, the public is invited to make handmade pottery bowls. No experience is necessary, and all materials, including instruction by Carolina Clay Artists, are free. The bowls are left to be glazed and fired, and eventually used on Soup Day. Organizers hope to have 1,400 bowls made this year. Please join us on the following dates:

• June 14
Spartanburg Art Museum School, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. / 1-3 p.m.

• June 19
West Main Co-op, 6-8:30 p.m. (during ArtWalk)

• July 19
Spartanburg Art Museum School, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. / 1-3 p.m.

• Aug. 16
Spartanburg Art Museum School, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. / 1-3 p.m.

• Aug. 21
West Main Co-op, 6-8:30 p.m. (during ArtWalk)


Hub City Empty Bowls 2014 announced!

For the past five years, Hub City Empty Bowls has raised tens of thousands of dollars to feed local citizens by having the general public make clay bowls that were later filled with soup and sold to raise money for established charities that feed local and needy citizens.

Please make plans to join us at Hub City Empty Bowls 2014 on September 27th. Hundreds of colorful and handmade bowls will be on display during Soup Day, and for a $15 donation per bowl, patrons may enjoy unlimited gourmet soup donated by local restaurants. The community event also features live music, and a silent auction. Have fun, and enjoy great soup, all while knowing that you’re helping others. Oh yes, and you can keep the bowl!


Hub City Empty Bowls 2013 set for November 9th.

Hub City Empty Bowls 2013 will take place Saturday, November 9th, 2013 at The Chapman Cultural Center in the lobby of the David W. Reid Theater from 11:00 am to 7:30 pm.

Many thanks to the Carolina Clay Artists for taking the lead role for this event. Co-sponsors are the Spartanburg Art Museum, Chapman Cultural Center, the West Main Artists Co-op and

Soup Bowls, handmade by the Spartanburg Community, will be available for a $15 donation. You can fill the bowl with delicious soup provided by any of the many restaurants participating. Sit back and listen to the music throughout the day. Eat the Soup. Enjoy the Music. Keep the Bowl. Feed the Hungry.

There will also be a Silent Auction for other handmade pottery pieces. Get you bid in and cross your fingers. Someone will take home a beautiful piece of local pottery!

Please check back here for details on bowl-making sessions, participating restaurants, entertainment listing and more!