Bowled over

The Appalachian Center for Craft, located in Smithville, will be hosting its annual Bowlathon on Saturday, September 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The pottery bowls made at this event will be auctioned off at the Cooking on the Square on October 25 to benefit Putnam County’s Habitat for Humanity.

Before the Bowlathon became an annual event, Cooking on the Square received most of the bowls that were to be auctioned off from many local potters. But in 1997, the Craft Center’s clay professor Vince Pitelka and the hosts of Cooking on the Square teamed up and formed the idea of the Bowlathon.

For 16 years, the Bowlathon has been a main supplier of the bowls that are auctioned off at Cooking on the Square.

“This is long enough for most to consider it a tradition,” said Lindsey Maestri, the exhibitions and programs manager at the Craft Center.

There are typically 75 to 100 volunteers that come out to shape bowls or wedge the clay. During the day, these volunteers make close to 1,000 stoneware bowls to be auctioned off to benefit Putnam County’s Habitat for Humanity. (

This is a free event that welcomes any volunteers to help make bowls and wedge clay, but it’s preferred that anyone wanting to participate in shaping the bowls already have prior experience.

“Even if you have no experience with clay, it’s interesting to watch how fast these skilled workers can crank out the bowls,” said Pitelka.

The clay, pizza, and refreshments will be provided for all volunteers.