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Potters of the Blue Ridge Gather for Tea Pot Challenge, WHS Empty Bowls Event Set for April 1

The Potters of the Blue Ridge – Nancy Lewis, Stephanie Ballance, Tena Wenta, Cindy Pacileo, Bob Meier, Theresa McGrath, Jerry Hutchins, Becky Henderson-Gow, Stephanie Weldon and Nancy Graham – showcase their “Tea Pot Challenge” creations at Doe Ridge Pottery on Wednesday. Photos by Jesse Wood

By Jesse Wood

The 16th annual WHS Empty Bowls Fundraiser will likely surpass the $100,000 mark for total funds raised to support Hunger and Health Coalition since the program’s inception.

Last year’s event raised an annual record of $12,600, bringing the 15-year total to $97,800.

The 2017 WHS Empty Bowls event will be held on Saturday, April 1 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Watauga High School commons area.

The premise of the event is a $20 minimum donation gets you a self-chosen handmade bowl – made by WHS art students and local potters – with locally made fresh soups and breads and desserts. The event features a live auction and live music.

Empty Bowls concept began in 1990 when a high school art teacher in Michigan was looking for ways to raise funds to support a food drive. The students made ceramic bowls for the project and guests were served a simple meal of bread and soup. Since that first Empty Bowls supper, millions of dollars have been raised to fight hunger.

For the benefit, students will create and collect handmade ceramic bowls, donated soups and bread from area potters and local restaurants. After the meal, guests keep their homemade bowls “as a reminder that there are always empty bowls and hungry people in the world.”

On Wednesday evening, members of the Potters of the Blue Ridge gathered for the unveiling of the “Tea Pot Challenge” creations at Doe Ridge Pottery in downtown Boone. About a dozen local potters participated in the challenge this year.

All the potters crafted the individual parts, and then members randomly selected various parts, such as the handle, spout, body and lid, to form a unique teapot. Basically, the only rule is that no one is allowed to use a part they made for their finished, charity teapot.

These teapots, which will be auctioned off at the WHS Empty Bowls event, will now be showcased in Doe Ridge Pottery’s window on King Street prior to the event at Watauga High School on April 1. Advanced tickets for the WHS Empty Bowls event are available at Doe Ridge Pottery.

For more information about WHS Empty Bowls 2017, contact Brett McDonough 828-264-2407, ext. 0 or email mcdonoughb@watauga.k12.nc.us. Also, check out the event’s Facebook page here.

Bob Meier, owner of Doe Ridge Pottery, holds the Potters of the Blue Ridge sign behind the Tea Pot Challenge creations.
The Tea Pot Challenge pots will be auctioned off to benefit WHS Empty Bowls fundraiser for Hunger and Health Coalition.