Friday, February 26, 2010

Empty Bowls Fill Stomachs and Satisfy Souls

There is a concept in the Tao (if I recall correctly) in which it is the void which gives a thing its usefulness. In other words, a garage that is solid would have no space to park your car, but the emptiness is what makes it useful. (I have known people with garages too full to be useful for parking their cars, but that is a another matter.)

In the same way, a bowl is useful as a bowl by having a void. The hollowed out portion makes it possible to use it for sharing soup, and that is exactly what the Duluth Art Institute has again planned for Tuesday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. as a way to raise money for the Northern Lakes Food Bank

The Empty Bowl event is especially interesting because it really gets the total community involved. Artisans and amateurs alike spend months making the bowls. Then, everyone in the area is invited to come buy a bowl of soup. The bowl goes home with you, the money goes to the needy. You end up with your tummy full, and so do those whose stomachs need filling.

While travelling I discovered that the Empty Bowl is not unique to Duluth, and is practiced in a number of other cities, each with its own history. Ours began in 1994. Local artist Dave Lynas, well known local potter and famous for his creative "gnomenclature", suggested the idea of Empty Bowl to the Duluth Art Institute. At the same time, and only miles apart, Moira Johnson brought the idea to the Duluth Public Schools. Collaboratively, the project came to life raising $9,400 in its first year as the region’s only combined arts and hunger event. It's only grown since.

Last night a group of folks from New Life Covenant, our local church, assembled in my wife Susie's garage/pottery studio to share the experience of making bowls for this good cause. It's amazing how many different kinds of bowls there can be.

According to an article in the Duluth News Tribune community members who was to make handcrafted bowls are invited to Duluth Art Institute’s Lincoln Park Studio, 2229 W. 2nd Street, Duluth, to create bowls with an art instructor. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (218) 723-1310 or emailing Shannon Cousino A maximum of 10 people will be accepted for each nightly lesson and the cost to create an Empty Bowl is $20.00 and includes a ticket to Empty Bowl.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a wonderful cause.
Tell Susie to keep up the good work! I'm proud of her part, and her pottery!
Here in New Jersey I am not aware of that type of outreach. Of course, I do volunteer at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, a ministry that feeds thousands of homeless each year.

Ed Newman said...

Thanks... for the encouragement and for dropping by.
Yes, I know you have been active in a similar way, even if different. It's a good thing.
be well

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