News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 14, 2013


Volunteers making clay bowls for fundraising event

TERRE HAUTE — About a dozen people got their hands dirty Wednesday night for a good cause.

The group — faculty, staff, students and community members — worked with clay and glazing at the campus of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to create unique bowls for the Fourth Soup Bowl Benefit, an annual event that aids the Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank.

 Spearheaded by Kathy Gotshall and Jill McNutt, directors for the graduate art therapy program at SMWC, the volunteers at the event made soup bowls using a variety of methods.

Some worked with slabs, while others “threw” clay on the wheel. Others glazed already heated clay, while still others used leaves and other items to come up with unique bowl designs.

“It’s such a giving back type of experience that the college, the students and Jill and I can be a part of,” said Gotshall, who led a similar event last year.  

The goal this year is to give the Soup Bowl Benefit about 25 soup bowls by February, she said.

And on Wednesday, the volunteers got to work.

Participants Andrea Beyke and Elizabeth Coley worked together as they draped the slab over a paper bowl and used it as mold.

“It’s my first time to ever hold clay,” Coley said, as she pushed the clay with her thumbs to smooth the surface.

“We’re making sure there are no holes” before the clay is put in the kiln, Beyke said.

Both participants are SMWC employees.

While it was Coley’s first time to work with clay, Beyke already had some experience from attending a pottery class at the college.

“It’s therapeutic,” Beyke said of working with clay.

It’s also using stress for something positive.

“Working with your hands, releasing stress and then creating something with it,” Beyke, who created three bowls at the event, said.

And, in the case of the soup bowl-making event, it’s also for a good cause.

“As a campus minister, it’s always nice to be able to do something to help the community.”

Others from the community joined the fun.

Indiana State University student Emily Calvin tried her hand at “throwing” clay onto a wheel, which, she said is challenging.

“I have no idea what I’m doing,” she joked as she used both hands to work toward centering the clay on the wheel. “I’ve never done it before so I wanted to give it a chance,” the public health major said.  

Alexis Rusch, an ISU graduate assistant and SMWC alumna, invited Calvin and two other students to the event and instructed them on what to do.

“You’re going to get dirty,” Rusch told Calvin before she began.

“That’s why I got two aprons,” Calvin responded.

Rusch taught Calvin on how to use the pedal and how to center the clay. Later, she told her to put her thumbs on top of the clay, push it down and slowly “open it up” to the shape of a bowl.

“This takes a lot of muscle,” Calvin later said of the activity.

Rusch likes working with clay and wanted to share the fun.

“I just wanted to give some of my students a chance to try it,” she said.

And to give back.

“I just hope that we can make enough bowls [for the benefit] and bring in the money to feed the hungry,” Rusch said.

She noted that many people in the community are struggling so “the more we can do, the better.”

A community member, Becky Ramp, also came to help.

Her first task was to glaze a bowl with brown tan burst.

“I like earth tones,” Ramp said as she brushed the bowl with the glaze.

She also participated at last year’s bowl-making event, where she tried her hand at spinning. “I found that it’s an art work and I need more practice,” Ramp said, smiling.

But she came back this year.

“It just sounds like a fun thing,” she said adding that it was an activity that she doesn’t get to do everyday.

Ramp also enjoyed “... creating something new and contributing toward a good cause.”

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