Art, creativity behind making Empty Bowls 2020: Potters, woodworkers give glimpse | Accent

Emilee Geist

Five potters share studio space at pARTners in Clay at Wyatt Farms in Greenwood: Beverly Burton, Hannah Poe, Linda Neely, Phyllis Collins and Helen Yonts. They expect to produce more than 115 bowls solely from their studio for Empty Bowls. One day, the potters hope to be able to resume […]

Five potters share studio space at pARTners in Clay at Wyatt Farms in Greenwood: Beverly Burton, Hannah Poe, Linda Neely, Phyllis Collins and Helen Yonts.

They expect to produce more than 115 bowls solely from their studio for Empty Bowls. One day, the potters hope to be able to resume their popular clay parties where the public can learn to make bowls and other items.

Burton said she plans to have a few of her ever-popular sunflower bowls for Empty Bowls ticket-holders’ selection.

Hannah Poe is working on whimsical fish-shaped bowls, with splashes of color.

Linda Neely is employing colorful strips of clay, cut from slabs and hand-stenciled and colored, providing vertical designed, on bowls specifically shaped to load easily in an automatic dishwasher.

“We start making bowls early,” Burton said. “We’ve been working on them for a couple of months already. If I make something, it’s probably going to be functional, because I’ve looked in my cabinet and needed something. … Since we cannot dine together this year, in the Greenwood Soup Kitchen dining room, I know of several small groups of friends who are planning to gather at homes for socially-distant meals.”

Keep up with pARTners in Clay on its Facebook page.

Other contributors to the bowl count for this sell-out charity fundraiser include artisans from a local basketry guild and members of the Greenwood Woodworkers Guild.

Since 2012, woodworkers have provided more than 1,000 wooden bowls to Empty Bowls and joined with area potters and other crafters to raise money for Greenwood Soup Kitchen.

“We try to make something out of whatever wood we have on hand,” explains Tom Simpson, guild member. “We like to do things that are unusual.”

With the global pandemic, space is limited in their workshop now and virtual meetings are taking place.

Woods used for Empty Bowls include sweet gum, maple, magnolia, box elder, cedar, cherry and river birch.

“A lot of our wood comes from urban forestry, from trees that are blown down or taken down because they are damaged or diseased,” Simpson said, noting the Greenwood guild has 34 members and welcomes new people.

“We don’t just do wood-turning,” Simpson said, noting guild members share techniques with each other used in decorative wood-burning, furniture-building and even handcrafting porch rocking chairs. They often share talents with other nonprofits and charitable projects in need of their skills, including Hospice and Palliative Care of the Piedmont’s annual festival of trees, Bowers Rodgers Children’s Home, The Museum of Greenwood and the Arts Council of Greenwood’s pollinator garden projects, to name a few. No experience is necessary to join. Call Tom Simpson at 864-341-2575.

Contact St. Claire Donaghy at 864-992-8934.

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