On Sunday February 5th staff and students all piled in the van and headed to Willow Springs to meet Penny St. Claire. (Thinking back, it was only our second expedition together.) As a local ceramicist, Penny makes pottery herself to sell and also teaches the skills to others. We had quite a range of levels in our group: some of us had never worked with clay before, while others felt very familiar with it. Penny was patient, enthusiastic, and generous. We had three goals: to make bowls for a local fundraiser, to make a bowl or plate for ourselves, and to have fun! Two hours later we left smiling, each having made two pieces. Being able to make more than one piece allowed us to experiment with varying stamps, sizes, and shapes.
A week later we went back to glaze.
Penny spread out lots of samples of glazes for us to choose from and explained how unpredictable some glazes can be. She showed us an incredibly beautiful ‘happy accident.’ Where the white and green glazes met, the coloring on the bowl had surprisingly become a speckled creamy brown. It was a great example of how glazes can be unpredictable.
Penny donated her time to help us and we each contributed a bowl for The Empty Bowl Supper fundraiser the local Hospitality House is organizing. The Grass Valley Hospitality House is a non-profit program that organizes and offers shelter services in Nevada County. Hospitality House organizes a ‘winter only’ shelter and follows the nomadic style where individuals utilize different locations on a rotational basis. Churches and other local organizations offer their space when they can, but Hospitality House has yet to have one building where all can stay. The money they raise from the fundraiser will be used towards operational costs as well as going towards their new building—the first homeless shelter in Nevada County. Having one building to use as a year round shelter will be great for a number of reasons, for details go to: http://www.utahsplace.org/. The new building is named “Utah’s Place” after U. Utah Phillips a co-founder of Hospitality House and a renowned folk singer-song writer, storyteller and labor rights activist. The Empty Bowl Supper fundraiser is being held on February 25th—the day we load in the van again to start our journey to Mexico.