Words of encouragement collected as precursor for Empty Bowl project
The public is invited to participate in the Make Your Mark, Thursday, Feb. 25, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Akron Art Museum.
Visitors may help decorate a select number of bowls that will be used at the Empty Bowl Project on Sunday, March 13 to benefit the Good Samaritan Hunger Center.
Over 200 bowls will be created by Zeber-Martell Studio and even though the event on March 13 is sold out, the Make Your Mark activity reaches out and connects the community with the event as visitors stamp words of encouragement and hope around the rim of the bowls.
Each bowl will be glazed and fired by Zeber-Martell Studio and be available for the Empty Bowl attendees to select their favorite the day of the event.
“Last year at the event, the hand-stamped bowls were the first to be selected by the guests…they were very popular,” said Michael Martell. “We have always believed that things made by hand offer a shared experience between the maker and the user. Simple objects can forge a connection.”
There will be about 30 freshly made bowls available for visitors to stamp at the Make Your Mark activity and potters Martell and Claudia Zeber-Martell will be on hand to assist visitors with the stamping. The event is free and open to the public.
The concept of the Empty Bowls Project is certainly not a new one but it is close to the hearts of the Zeber-Martell owners. “It really helps keep us grounded and reminds us of why we chose to be functional potters, plus it gives craft a purpose in the community,” he added. “The idea of making handmade pottery for everyday use is something basic to a potter’s nature.”
This is the fifth year that the museum has hosted the event that benefits the Good Samaritan Hunger Center.
The 2016 restaurants providing signature soups and services are: Bricco, Diamond Deli, Fleming’s, Innovative Elegance and Design, Moe’s, Mustard Seed Market & Cafe, One Eleven Bistro, Stew Pot Kitchen, DelCelio’s Italian Restaurant, A Taste of Elegance, Breads of Fairlawn and Summit Croissants.
These local restaurants serve a simple meal of soup and bread. Guests choose a bowl to use that day and keep it as a reminder of all the Empty Bowls in the community. In exchange for the meal and the bowl, the guests offer a suggested donation and keep the bowl.
Using craft to effect change, The Empty Bowl Project answers the question “What purpose can craft serve in our community?” The act of coming together in a central location, participating in the communal activity of sitting down together, eating and sharing the experience with a desire to do good by helping alleviate hunger becomes an uplifting experience for all of the individuals involved.
By reaching out to the community, the project in turn, builds community, and through this event participants feel connected to all the others who shared this same common experience. Craft becomes an effective tool to connect the community. This is a moment when craft transcends its conventional definition and becomes a symbol of community and sustenance. In this way, the cultural and social implications of craft are fully realized.
Unlike most outreach projects by non-rofit arts organizations, this effort was an artist-led, grassroots initiative by private individuals.
Zeber-Martell Studio reached out to a social service agency to demonstrate that “the arts” have a sense of responsibility to the broader community. The project also demonstrates how artist themselves can use their talents to better the community during a time of great need and connect craft with community and community to craft.
For more information contact Michael Martell at (330) 253-3808 or visit zeber-martell.com.