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Somehow I doubt my ‘bowl-like creation’ will aid the food bank

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Cathy Dobson

Thank goodness for the Sarnia Lambton Potters’ Guild.

They’re the ones producing 400 handmade bowls for one of our city’s most enduring fundraisers.

Empty Bowls takes place Friday, March 31, serving up soup made by local chefs in bowls made by local potters.

There will also be an array of bowls and bowl-like creations made by 20 enthusiastic community members at the event’s so-called celebrity auction.

These were made at a recent tutorial at Lambton College where ceramics teacher Beth Turnbull Morrish gave a three-minute demonstration on how to expertly make a bowl using a pottery wheel and some tricky hand moves. Then she set us loose.

There are four easy steps to making a bowl, Beth said. A handful of clay needs to be centred first. That involves dropping it with a fair degree of vigour on the wheel. If it isn’t in the centre, your bowl won’t be nice and round.

This is what Beth called the Zen moment. Working with clay is very relaxing as your hands gradually coax it into shape. The wheel spins, the clay coats your hands, your wrists, your apron, your pants. I noticed the background music was none other than the Righteous Brothers playing their famous “pottery making” song Unchained Melody from the movie Ghost.

I appreciated that attention to detail on the part of organizers.

A word of caution: If you look up at the wrong moment it’s very likely you’ll have a wobble or “problem bowl” as one of the volunteers explained.

Amy McDonald was the first-year student who came to my rescue and gave me tips on how to correct my wobble.

Amy is enrolled in the first year of the college’s paramedics program and takes ceramics as an elective.

“Honestly, I really enjoy it,” she told me. “It’s a really relaxing skill and a break from anatomy class. You come here and you can say, ‘Hey, I made this and I’m really happy with this.”

Even as a first-timer, I know what she means. I made two bowl or bowl-like vessels in less than an hour and had a great time. I hope someone finds them at Empty Bowls and sees fit to bid on one.

My first attempt looked more like a vase, but that’s a useful and decorative item too, isn’t it?

Beth said celebrity bowls have sold for as much as $80 in previous years.  I’ll be happy if mine raise a couple of dollars each.

That’s a strong selling point, actually. My bowl-like creations are going cheap and for a very good cause.



WHAT: Empty Bowls fundraiser for food banks at Lambton College and The Inn of the Good Shepherd, featuring soups made by local chefs

WHEN: Friday, March 31. Seatings at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

WHERE: Lambton College Event Centre

TICKETS: $25. Call the Inn at 519-344-1746, the college at 519-542-7751, ext. 3412 or buy online at


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