The Appalachian Center for Craft is hosting their annual Bowlathon Saturday, Sept. 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Center’s clay studio. The fundraiser makes bowls for Habitat for Humanity’s Cookin’ on the Square.
T.J. Edwards, a student at Appalachian Center for Craft, holds the current record of most bowls produced in one day. Last year, he produced 356 bowls in eight hours with the intent to make enough bowls to finance a house for Habitat for Humanity.
The record for bowls collectively produced in a day was also held last year. Volunteers collectively produced 1,400 bowls, but coordinators for the Bowlathon hope to break the record this year.
“No matter how many bowls we make, Cookin’ on the Square always needs more,” said Wenzel Pitelka, professor of art at Tech.
Habitat for Humanity hosts Cookin’ on the Square every fall. Members of the community make chili for the event, while people can pay an admittance fee to get a Craft Center bowl to enjoy the different chili recipes.
With 30 potters’ wheels in the clay studio at The Appalachian Center for Craft, volunteers are encouraged to hand-make bowls, wedge clay, and enjoy refreshments like pizza, doughnuts, and coke provided by Habitat for Humanity.
Because of limited space for volunteers to throw clay, Habitat for Humanity started their own clay studio last year. The Habitat for Humanity’s clay studio has four potter’s wheels and is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Artists are welcome to practice techniques while making bowls for Cookin’ on the Square.
“We just dedicated our seventh house that was funded by the Bowlathon,” said Pam Ealey, executive director of Habitat for Humanity. “The bowls are so important, and that’s why we opened our own studio.”
It takes $90,000 to build a house, and the Bowlathon provided $45,000 last year.
“Part of the spirit of the whole thing is getting a handmade bowl,” said Pitelka.
Bowls do not have to be uniform size because the patrons at Cookin’ on the Square can get as many refills as they want.
Joni Gilmore has attended Cookin’ on the Square and still enjoys the bowls she purchased.
“I still use my bowls all the time, and I love them,” said Gilmore. “I always try to get there early. I don’t want to say they have a bad selection, but I want to get there early to get first pick.”