When eating out, diners typically only have to choose the food that goes on their plate, not the plate itself.
Not so at the Potters’ Bowl, the annual Featherstone fundraising event held last Sunday evening. Now in its third summer, the Bowl is based on a simple concept: buy a unique, locally crafted bowl (or two), and get free soup. All proceeds in turn go to support Featherstone’s clay studio.
“People were lined up at a quarter to four,” committee chair Debbie Hale said. “We’re bringing out every bowl.”
Mrs. Hale and the all-volunteer committee of Blue Cullen, Laurie Schreiber and Nancy Nash coordinated the efforts of eighteen artists, who combined to contribute over 300 bowls.
“I had never thrown until I came to Featherstone,” Mrs. Hale said. “It’s nice to give back.”
Each piece of pottery sold for $25. The Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company donated seven gallons of award-winning clam chowder to the event, which also featured four gallons each of gazpacho, corn orzo from Little Rock Farm and chilled cucumber soup. Ice cream sandwiches provided the perfect cap to a hearty meal.
The Potters’ Bowl was timed around the opening reception for The Art of Flight, an all-ceramics exhibition in the Featherstone Gallery. The show, which runs until Sept. 12, is curated by Washington Ledesma, who crafted a bowl series of his own. Each of Mr. Ledesma’s bowls represented a different country.
“They’re quite beautiful,” said Connie Williams of Belmont, Mass. and Chilmark. Mrs. Williams, a veteran attendee of the Potters’ Bowl, brought home Argentina while husband Preston chose Japan.
Some diners selected bowls based on whether they matched their home dÃ©cor, while others went for purely practical reasons.
“I have a soup bowl and a salad bowl for my office,” Margretta Garnett of Alexandria, Va., said, indicating her earthware.
Others, such as two-year-old Ellis Kominik of Vineyard Haven, had “very specific criteria,” mother Bess said. “It had to be a bowl with purple in it,” she said.
“We were told to get there early to get our pick of bowls,” Michael Bellissimo of West Tisbury said. Mr. Bellissimo and his family purchased the last three of Sarah Mayhew’s bowl collection. Mrs. Mayhew worked with fellow potter Dan Parker to create ten bowls for the dinner; Mr. Parker threw the pieces and Mrs. Mayhew, who cannot sit at a wheel due to neck stress, stamped each with a woodcut stamp and completed the glazing process.
Mrs. Mayhew, a photographer who specializes in bird images, also purchased two new bowls, each adorned with, of course, a tiny ceramic bird. “I had to have my bird bowl,” she explained. And the reason for purchasing two bowls?
“We’re thinking ahead to Christmas,” mother Shirley Mayhew said.