BUTTE — If you’re eager to get your hands on a cool, new, hand-crafted bowl at Butte’s Empty Bowls event in April, it’s probably one of the bowls being handcrafted right now by artists in Butte.
“It’s actually one of my favorite hobbies and I’m so glad I get to work with Mr. Kujawa and just kind of be part of the community and do something I really enjoy,” said artist Ashley Malyevac.
Artists have been gathering at the Hungry Hill Art Center in Butte to make more than 1,000 ceramic bowls that will be sold at the April Empty Bowls event that raises money for the Butte Emergency Food Bank’s backpack program that provides weekend lunches for local school kids.
The artists enjoy getting their hands dirty.
“It’s addicting because you never perfect it, there’s always something better. I can get thinner, I can get taller, I can get wider,” said Heather Wood.
Working with soft clay takes a certain touch and even experienced potters can have a blowout.
“You know, it happens. It’s the first one I’ve thrown in eight years, so I didn’t expect to get this far,” said Amanda Rossi.
The artists first mold the soft clay into a bowl, known as throwing a bowl, then trim it and fire it at very high heat in a kiln.
“The cool thing about this is you can do art and it’s functional. You can do your whole kitchen set and it’s not like you’re making an art piece for a wall,” said Sean Keuch.
I got my hands dirty and found it certainly takes practice.
“We’re going to get this edge kind of off,” said Wood.
We’re going to take the edge off.
“Right, we’re going to make it nice and smooth,” said Wood.
You know what would help me here? Could you sing Unchained Melody from Ghost?
“No,” she said.
Instructor Mike Kujawa said, “Our potters loved to make them. We’ll probably make more than we need this year, that’s the goal, so we can continue on next year and it’s a good warm feeling know we’re feeding the kids.”
Empty Bowls is April 5 at the Butte Civic Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets on sale at the civic center are $20 for a regular bowl and $100 for large bowls.