A unique fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank is also the chance for some Heights artists to showcase their work.
The 15th Annual Empty Bowls lunch will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main St. At the event, more than 1,500-plus handmade bowls donated by Houston-area artists will be offered for a $25 donation, 100 percent of which goes to the food bank.
Attendees eat a simple lunch in the provided bowl, which will be a lasting reminder of all who go hungry in Houston and beyond.
Ceramic artist Mary Aldrich, who took up the craft in 2010, said she was introduced to the cause by fellow artist and former Empty Bowls chair Renee LeBlanc. As a student at the Glassell School, Aldrich started making bowls for the event. This year, she was asked to do a special bowl, one of about 50 pieces available through a silent auction through the end of May at Archway Gallery, 2305 Dunlavy St. Available art includes 2D and 3D creations including paintings, sculptures and bowls made of ceramic, wood, glass and fiber.
“This is the first year I’ve been asked,” said Aldrich, who shares studio space in the Heights with 10 other artists. “I was really flattered.”
Aldrich said she came to ceramics two years before she retired from a career in marketing and advertising and is grateful to have found something that resonates so strongly with her.
“I’ve always had a strong visual sense and was always doing things with my hands,” she said.
In Aldrich’s online artist statement, she said most of her work has been full, rounded, closed abstract pieces. The shape has been what was most important to her, so her pieces have rarely been glazed. Her rustic-looking bowl for the Empty Bowls auction is filled with delicate fruits.
“It’s a reminder to share what you have,” Aldrich said.
Sculptor Damon Thomas, Aldrich’s former studio mate at The Silos at Sawyer Yards, also has a decorative bowl in the silent auction. Now working from his home studio in the Heights, Thomas will have a show opening at The Jung Center in Montrose in September. He also has a sculpture on Heights Boulevard as part of the True North project, entitled “Homefire,” at 10th Street and Heights Boulevard.
A writer with a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Thomas got his start as an artist about 10 years ago after seeing an installation in Kentucky. Thomas is known for pit-firing his pieces, which means they are exposed to combustible materials such as sawdust and hay to give color and a more unique patina.
Thomas said he had never before made a bowl for the event but had always loved what Empty Bowls represented. He was going to do a bowl with wings, but the 15-inch limit sent him in another direction. His bowl features a crow on a branch over a nest of eggs.
“To me crows are symbols of the spirit,” Thomas said. “I had decided not to do any more crows unless it was for something special.”
Since its inception, Empty Bowls Houston has raised $875,000 for the Houston Food Bank, which is the equivalent of 2.63 million meals to the hungry. For more information about the event or to buy tickets to the Friday night preview party, visit www.EmptyBowlsHouston.org. To browse the bowls up for auction, visit http://www.archwaygallery.com.