Potters use skills for fund-raising

Bowls will be sold to benefit LIFT-UP

— A unique plan to support a local relief organization kept more than two dozen pottery wheels spinning this weekend.

Professional potters and people who make the art their hobby tested 28 new wheels at the Ceramic Design Group on Moffat Avenue.

Potters used the opportunity to make bowls that will be used in a fund-raiser for LIFT-UP of Routt County.

The fall event will feature about 250 ceramic soup bowls and larger bowls that can hold bread and bigger portions.

People who attend the fund-raiser at the Depot can purchase a soup dinner for $15 that includes the ceramic bowl.

An auction will be held during the dinner to sell the larger bowls that hold breads and soups.

All proceeds go to LIFT-UP.

The price is right for a hearty meal that allows attendees to keep a beautifully handcrafted bowl, said Gail Holthausen, a local professional potter who also teaches ceramics at Colorado Mountain College.

Holthausen and a former student, Elisabeth Simeri, heard about similar soup bowl fund-raisers occurring nationwide and decided to pursue the concept in Steamboat Springs.

"Potters throughout the country have been doing this as a sort of gift back to the community," Holthausen said.

She saw an opportunity in a pottery wheel test to produce the volume of bowls needed for a soup bowl fund-raiser.

Holthausen knew there would be plenty of hands to make dozens of bowls for the fund-raisers if she could get a large number to potters to attend the wheel testing.

Different manufacturers sent pottery wheels to the Ceramic Design Group for potters of different skill levels to try out.

They recorded their observations about each wheel for publication in a pottery making magazine.

In the process of testing, they contributed to the fund-raising effort with bowls of different shapes and sizes.

Simeri, who runs a personal chef service, is helping to organize the dinner and hopes to get food donations from local restaurants.

Holthausen envisions offering two dinner shifts at the Depot, such as 5:30 to 7 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m., to handle the crowd.

People who take home the soup bowls can expect a quality product at a bargain price, she said.

"In essence, each bowl is really one of a kind," she said.

The completed bowls will now be fired and glazed.

Many details on the soup bowl fund-raiser must still be worked out, but the potters who came Saturday and Sunday to donate their time thought the end result was well worth their time and artistry.

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