The Appalachian Center for Craft is hosting its 12th annual Bowl-a-Thon this Saturday, Sept. 26. The event usually hosts anywhere from 30 to 60 crafters throughout the day making various bowls for Habitat for Humanity’s Cookin’ on the Square. “These are people who already know how to wheel-throw or hand-build bowls, so that is a very good turnout for this kind of event,” said Vince Pitelka, head of the Clay Department.
“The event has definitely grown, but we do not expect very much growth this year, because our facilities are capable of accommodating only so many people,” Pitelka said. “It is a shame that there are no other facilities like ours in the region willing to do this, because the Cookin’ on the Square event could certainly use more bowls.”
On average, the Craft Center turns out around 1000 bowls at the event each year, Pitelka said. Last year the amount was considerably over 1000 due to the contribution of T.J. Edwards, a former clay student of Pitelka. Edwards donated hundreds of bowls from a sculptural installation that was part of his BFA thesis exhibition.
Around ten years ago, Don Calcote invited the Craft Center to get involved in making bowls for the first Cookin’ on the Square, and they have been making and donating bowls every year since.
“The event usually falls on the last Saturday in September,” Pitelka said, “which gives us time to bisque-fire, glaze and glaze-fire the bowls in time.”
Cookin’ on the Square takes place at lunchtime on the last Friday of October every year, and is a fundraiser for Putnam County Habitat for Humanity. Different teams prepare chili or gumbo, and attendees pay around $15 for a bottomless bowl, meaning patrons can eat as much as they like. All of the proceeds from the event go to Habitat for Humanity.
“It is so easy for university programs to become isolated from the local community, and this is just one of the ways that we try to stay involved in a way that really does some good,” Pitelka said. “We get nothing out of it except the satisfaction of doing good work for a good cause.”
For more information, contact Vince Pitelka at WPitelka@tntech.edu.