• martinemptybowls

The Power of Handmade


This shelf of cups is just one of a dozen in my life. Collections of cups fill shelves and cabinets in our homes in Martin and Brooksville. When friends come to visit it is so fun to watch them puzzle over which cup to drink from. These cups, by some of the best makers in America, each have mening, represent a connnection, place or experience. They tell a story.




This cup was made by Scott Goldberg, a potter in Brooksvsille, Maine. Scott used to have a studio a few miles from our house in Brooksville but has moved to southern Maine. The stories connecting Scott's work to me are many, but the most powerful is maybe the most important. The bit of water you can see in this photo is Walker Pond. For 22 summers Donna and I worked at a girls camp on the other side of Walker Pond, Camp Four Winds. There we shared a cottge/cabin with Gail. Gail had worked at Camp a number of years before we started working there.Her story is long and rich. She was independant, hard working, loved nature, canoeing and her dog. Over the years we knew her, Gail, had three dogs - Muffin (Rag-a-Muffin), Sam and Randi. A passionate, dedicated teacher, Gail taught at Wilmington Friends School in Delaware. Sally also taught at Wilmington Friends and they were more than good friends, kindred spirits. Sally is Scott's sisiter. The power of this handmade cup is that I met Sally at Scott's studio the day I bought this cup. So for me, the memory of that time, meeting Sally and this cup coming in to my life, will forever be tied to 22 years of life with Gail. That is the power of the handmade object. They carry with them memories, connections in ways no commerically, massed produced cup can.


Just as our cupboards are full of cups, so too they are full of bowls. Many of them are Empty Bowls, each carrying their own memories/stories. But one bowl in particular, a bowl made by Amber, a former student is overflowing with memeories. For her senior thesis exhibit Amber wanted to demonstrate the power of handmade pottery on our lives. She made work, took it to a couple of cafe's in St. Louis and with the cafe owner's blessings, the customers were given the opportunity to eat their meal from handmade plates and bowls instead of diner ware. Each of those customers talked with Amber about how the handmade pottery had enhanced the dining experience, eating was more enjoyable, the food tasted better, conversation with their dining partners was more interesting. Wow, the power of the handmade object.


Bowl count:

I am not really sure, I will give a better update tomorrow. There are roughly 80 coming out of the kiln today. Another 80 being bisqued, roughly 100 drying in the studio and a big pile of bowls waiting to be glazed. All told, I think we must be close to 500. A few students are starting to make bowls, collectively I imagine they would come up with 30-40 bowls. Teddy K Studio donated some bowls yesterday! Thanks Teddy!


One week until Empty Bowls goes online! I will try to post again tonight and give you a more accurrate bowl count.

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