Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Small clay bowls made for United Food Bank cause; you can get in on the action

Adrianna Sanchez, 7, tries to create a perfect clay bowl, one of up to 1,000 to be made for the annual United Food Bank luncheon.


Adrianna Sanchez, 7, tries to create a perfect clay bowl, one of up to 1,000 to be made for the annual United Food Bank luncheon.

Adrianna Sanchez wasn't sure about the design, but she knew she didn't want any cracks.

She tugged and pounded the blob of gray potter's clay, looking for inspiration, but the more the 7-year-old handled the clay, the drier it became.

Finally, she gathered the material into a ball, made an indentation with her right thumb and worked the edges. It started to take shape, and this time Adrianna seemed happy with the progress.

Then she noticed several hairline cracks criss-crossing the surface.

"It's hard," she said, trying to smooth them over with her thumb.

Too hard — and too frustrating. A minute later, she collapsed the sides, signifying the end of one bowl and the impending start of another.

"It just got cracked," she explained.

No one said art was easy.

At least for Adrianna and 34 other school-age children at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center last week, making bowls proved an entertaining diversion on a rainy afternoon.

The children, ages 5 to 14, were participants in Project Empty Bowls, an annual fundraiser that matches local children with the United Food Bank.

Throughout the summer and fall, the children will work in groups at rec centers, schools and some local churches to fashion hundreds of tiny clay bowls that will be glazed and fired at 1,500 degrees in a kiln. In November, the bowls will be given to donors at the food bank's annual soup-and-bread charity luncheon. Organizers hope to have 1,000 bowls for the event.

"We now have about 250. Come September, we're going to be hustling," United Food Bank board member Silvia Dodson said.

East of downtown at the MLK rec center, the biggest challenge facing pottery instructor Shawna Everidge seemed to be getting the children focused. Next hardest, getting them to stop fiddling with their creations.

Everidge, 29, who operates a pottery studio at her Plant City home, brought some scallop shells and artist's tools to make imprints and other designs in the clay.

She is one of two pottery artists who volunteered to help Project Empty Bowls. David Dye, a retired art professor at Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus, is helping as well. This fall, the duo will visit public schools to teach kids how to make the bowls. Up to 23 public schools will participate in Project Empty Bowls, Dodson said.

At the MLK center, some children wrote inspirational messages — "Hope," "Love" and "Peace" — inside the bowls. Everidge helped them sign their names on the underside. She floated from one table to the next to check their progress.

"I thought the hardest thing was going to be getting them to understand they can't take the bowls home when they're finished, but once we explained it's for a greater cause, they understood it," she said.

It turned out the more difficult trick was getting the children to stop at less than perfect. They seemed intent on making unfailingly symmetrical, crack-free bowls.

Everidge told them to go easy on the clay, but she steered clear of being overly instructive.

"I don't like to intervene. I want the bowls to be a representation of their artwork, not my artwork," she said.

She stopped at Adrianna's table. The girl with thick black glasses craned her neck upward.

"I messed up," she told Everidge.

"I told you, if you overwork the clay, you're going to get a lot of cracks," the teacher replied.

At the end of the session sat 35 bowls. Everidge said they'll spend about two weeks drying before they're fired in her kiln.

Last year's fundraiser generated about $6,000 in donations. The money goes toward general operations at the food bank, food purchases, and help for a breakfast and lunch program for poor children, said the Rev. Dean Pfeffer, a United Food Bank board member and the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Plant City.

This year's event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10. Tickets will be $10.

Everidge plans a bowl-making session for parents and children at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at 705 N Alexander St. Register for Empty Bowls Community Craft Night and enjoy soup and bread donated by the Corner Store while making a bowl for the cause. Call (813) 659-4298, ext. 4904.

Rich Shopes can be reached at or (813) 661-2454.

Small clay bowls made for United Food Bank cause; you can get in on the action 08/09/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 9, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. AP: Scott to name Jimmy Patronis CFO on Monday


    From the AP's Gary Fineout:

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott is turning to a political ally and former legislator to take over one of the top jobs in state government. 

    Then state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City Beach, left, and Gov. Rick Scott, tour downtown Panama City, Fla. on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Scott will name Patronis CFO on Monday.
  2. Despite Pride success, Grand Central business owners upset over losing parade


    The Grand Central District was packed with people Sunday, there to enjoy the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    Patrons eat lunch and cool off inside of the Community Cafe during the St. Pete Pride Street Festival along Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times

  3. Rays blow another lead, lose rubber match to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles rallied past the Rays on Sunday, winning the rubber match of the three-game series 8-5.

    Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) scores in the eighth in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  4. Tim Tebow heads back to Sunshine State with promotion to St. Lucie


    Tim Tebow is coming back to the Sunshine State.

    Columbia Fireflies outfielder Tim Tebow looks out from the dugout before the team's game against the Augusta GreenJackets on April 6 in Columbia, S.C. Columbia defeated Augusta 14-7.
  5. 'Sharknado' coming to Tampa Theatre with director Q&A


    A movie about a tornado filled with man-eating sharks has to be better on the big screen, right? You'll have a chance to find out for yourself when the Syfy network's original Sharknado screens at Tampa Theatre.

    The original 'Sharknado,' which premiered in 2013, will screen at Tampa Theatre.