Our bowls are empty for you to fill

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2009

After eating a delicious meal of homemade soup and bread, many students and teachers looked down at the bottom of their empty bowls and exclaimed, “I’m so full!”

A moment of stunned silence fell over the cafeteria. Every teacher dreams of this moment, imaginary light bulbs shining brightly on top of all students’ heads at the same time!

They got it!

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The concept of helping others who are hungry and in need was the brainchild of married educators John Hartom and Lisa Blackburn, in 1990. All of their bowls in their community were not full; many were empty on a regular basis.

After talking to the students about needy and hungry citizens in the area, this team of educators set out to make something happen, locally.

The students made ceramic bowls, made soup and sold tickets at their school. When the soup was eaten, the handmade bowl was theirs to keep. All proceeds went directly to the local community to fight hunger. The fundraising effort was such a success that the next year the event was bigger and better. Now, 19 years later, the Empty Bowls project has spread internationally.

Our small corner of the world in Natchez works diligently to do our part in this worthwhile endeavor. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8, Natchez Clay and other local potters will unveil their empty bowls.

Working since the first of the summer, potters have been throwing, trimming, carving and glazing 300 bowls for our Empty Bowls event. One hundred percent of the proceeds from each ticket will go directly to The Stewpot.

The homemade gumbo and corn bread will be delicious.

The empty bowl that you pick out to be served in will be one-of-a-kind.

If you choose to eat on the grounds of Natchez Clay, the view of the Mississippi River is like no other.

If you would like, takeout is readily available, your chosen bowl included.

This year our organizers have added a few new ideas. When you drop your Empty Bowl ticket in the hat as you enter, your name will be written on the back.

One lucky winner will receive a free pinch pot party for up to 10 guests at Natchez Clay.

These parties are favorites for birthdays, graduations, bridesmaids’ events and other special occasions.

Also, there will be several collaborative clay projects made by Natchez Clay potters.

This will be a silent auction event.

Since working together for the greater good is what Empty Bowls is all about, this seems to be a wonderful addition for us.

Tickets for the event are $25 each. They may be purchased at Natchez Coffee Company at 509 Franklin St. And on Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. they may be purchased at Natchez Clay at 101 Clifton Ave.

For more information visit www.NatchezClay.com.

Nathalie Harris is a studio member and instructor at Natchez Clay.