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Empty Bowls set to stir Oct. 1

Observer file photo

Don’t miss out on the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser in Fredonia presented by the Chautauqua Area Potters. Empty Bowls raises awareness of the issue of hunger while supporting local food pantries for over 30 years worldwide. In its 20th year of engaging the local community in this effort, Chautauqua Area Potters celebrate the generosity and enthusiasm of this community.

Talented artisans create beautiful, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted bowls donating their skills and time to make hundreds of bowls. Although anonymous, potters still take great satisfaction in their work. This satisfaction is shared by all involved, while benefiting those in need.

Empty Bowls gets support from our sponsors. Lake Shore Savings Bank provides funds to cover overhead costs related to the cost of clay and firing. Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation provides logistical support. The Village of Fredonia secures the location and the OBSERVER spreads the word.

This event had been spearheaded by Ron Nasca of Mudslingers and Marvin Bjurlin for many years.

One hundred or more of the 2,000 bowls available will be made from Dunkirk Clay. Did you know that lovely shale down by the Lake Erie beach is Dunkirk Clay in compressed form?

The clay used for some bowls this year was acquired from a construction site in Dunkirk.

To be used for pottery this “wild” clay has to be cleaned of debris. It is first dried completely and pulverized, then wetted thoroughly and sieved to remove sticks and stones. Then it is blended with coarser clays to make it less fluid. Unlike commercially available pottery clay blends, by itself, our local clay melts into a dark greenish brown puddle of glass at the 2,200∂F of an electric kiln.

Before it can be thrown on a wheel, the processing and preparation of wild clay is a labor of love. This demanding challenge has been taken on by local potter, Nasca, proprietor of Mudslingers in Fredonia. Nasca’s almost obsessive curiosity about the technology of ceramics has met with success using the local “wild” clay.

At Empty Bowls you can spot the special bowls he made easily by looking for a bright identifying label.

Given the populations of Dunkirk and Fredonia, the amount of money raised annually by the Empty Bowls fundraiser is significant to the region. The Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation will manage the funds collected by cash, check or credit card.

The foundation takes the funds and then writes a check to the FeedMore WNY with the funds dedicated to 24 or so food pantries in Chautauqua County.

The fundraiser be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 located in the east parking lot adjacent to Mudslingers Studios in downtown Fredonia.

The event will take place rain or shine. Please bring you own bags to carry your treasures.

The bowls come in sizes signed to acknowledge contributions of $10, $20, and $30.

Questions regarding the Empty Bowls fundraiser can be directed to Bjurlin at 716-672-9151, or Nasca at 716-672-6833.

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