Kevin Bass, who co-owns The Ceramic Store of Houston at 1002 W. 11th St. along with Pamela Owens, said the shop has offered take-home kits for more than a year so artists can paint a ceramic piece and have it fired at the shop. With the postponement of the annual Empty Bowls Houston fundraiser, in which bowls are crafted and bought to benefit the Houston Food Bank, Bass and Owens – longtime sponsors of the event – thought of a new way to glaze two birds with one stone.
If customers buy a project box containing a bisque, which is a ready-for-painting ceramic piece in a variety of shapes, along with the necessary supplies to decorate it at home, they have the option of adding a free soup bowl to decorate. The store does not have the space for painting the bowls in-house. Artists decorate them at home.
When they bring their bisque piece back to the store for firing, customers can also return the decorated bowl. The Ceramic Store will then fire the bowl, sending the customer a picture of their creation, and offer it as a donation to Empty Bowls Houston.
It will either be offered up for “purchase” with a $25 donation to Houston Food Bank – or the original artist can opt to give the donation and keep it for themselves. Each bowl is stamped on the base with “16th annual” and the Empty Bowls Houston logo, so they are commemorative pieces.
The take-home kits range in price from $25-$35.
Owens said the mission of the Houston Food Bank is close to her heart.
“Years ago, we were going through very lean times. I received a phone call requesting a holiday donation to the Houston Food Bank,” Owens said. “I hated to refuse but explained that things were just too tight. That volunteer on the phone immediately turned the conversation around, asking if my family needed their help. That reaching out is the mark of a charity I want to support.”
She said Empty Bowls Houston provides a way for potters and the public to join together to help those who are hungry and to celebrate their community.
“So many people are struggling right now,” she said.
The hope is that the project will appeal to parents who are at home with their children and looking for something fun to do.
“(It’s) something creative that doesn’t cost a lot and benefits the Houston Food Bank,” Owens said.
In previous years, Bass said the store donated the clay for bowl-a-thons in which groups get together to make bowls for the fundraiser. One of the store’s employees, Michelle Heinesen, participated in the 100 Bowl Challenge last year.
All proceeds from Empty Bowls Houston benefit the Houston Food Bank. For every $1 donated to the food bank, it can provide three meals to those in need. So, each bowl sold provides 75 meals.
And these meals are more important than ever. Houston Food Bank is distributing more than 1 million pounds of food per day to keep up with the staggering demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The beauty of Empty Bowls Houston is the tangible nature of actual empty bowls, created and donated by artists, to remind us that there are those around us who might be lacking enough food,” said Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank, the nation’s largest food bank. “It’s a simple-yet-powerful message, especially now as COVID-19 has caused immense job loss, school closures and uncertainty for so many. We are so thankful to The Ceramic Store of Houston and their customers for, once again, thinking of their neighbors in need and helping us to provide food for better lives.”
The 16th annual Empty Bowls Houston fundraiser is being rescheduled for a new date this year and will be announced soon. The website is www.emptybowlshouston.org.
To learn more about the take-home kits or to fulfill other pottery supply needs, visit The Ceramic Store of Houston at https://store.ceramicstoreinc.com/.