Making the bowls for Empty Bowls takes over a month. The bowls have to go through several steps including making the clay & glazes, making and trimming the bowls, and then glazing and firing the works. The students are learning how to do all of these processes, many for the first time. The students are encouraged to experiment with the glazes as they learn how to apply and experiment with various combinations of colors and textures. All of these processes take repetitive practice, and this project becomes a win-win for all as the students learn the processes involved in working with clay.
The students are always excited about helping those in need. Often a few of my advanced students will come in on their own time and contribute upwards of 50 bowls as they enjoy being involved with helping those in need in our community. A few students volunteer their time as a “Service Learning” Project.
In the field of ceramics, the craft is one that is mastered by repetition and practice. As a faculty member, this community effort is a win-win for all. While the students are practicing the ceramic process, the community benefits from the outcome of their learning. I think it is also a humbling exercise and becomes an important life lesson of giving back to the community.