Chautauqua Empty Bowls Project Returns …with Some Things New!

Saturday December 7th, 11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Wheelock Primary School Gymnasium

75 Chestnut Street in Fredonia


Did you notice? EMPTY BOWLS this year is at the Wheelock Primary School! The Empty Bowls Project serves to help end hunger for at least some that are nutritionally challenged in our community. Select handmade, one-of-a-kind bowls created by local artists who wish to remind us all that we can make a difference for someone whose bowl is empty today.

For the first time, one hundred or more of the 2000 bowls available, will be made from Dunkirk Clay! What is that?  Dunkirk clay is everywhere.  Even that lovely shale down by the Lake Erie beach is Dunkirk Clay in compressed form.

The clay used for some bowls this year was acquired from a construction site in Dunkirk. To be used for pottery this “wild” clay has to be cleaned of debris. It is first dried completely and pulverized, then wetted thoroughly and sieved to remove sticks and stones. Then it is blended with coarser clays to make it less fluid.  Unlike commercially available pottery clay blends, by itself, our local clay would melt into a dark greenish brown puddle of glass at the 2200°F temp of an electric kiln.

Before it can be thrown on a wheel, the processing and preparation of wild clay is a labor of love. This demanding challenge has been taken on by local potter, Ron Nasca, proprietor of Mudslingers in Fredonia. Ron’s almost obsessive curiosity about the technology of ceramics has met with success using the local “wild” clay.  At EMPTY BOWLS you can spot the special bowls he made easily by looking for a bright identifying label.

For EMPTY BOWLS, each year, approximately 30 area potters donate their time and skills to create one of a kind bowls of all sizes. This year they will be on display at the Wheelock Primary School Gymnasium and values range from $5 – $40. Some are wood fired. Some are gas fired. Some are fired in an electric kiln. Each hand made pottery bowl has a unique look and appeal.

Choose a bowl or bowls, make a donation, and be entertained with live music while enjoying a free lunch.  As in past years, delicious soups will be prepared by the Culinary Arts students at BOCES with ingredients provided by Tuscany Fresh Meats Deli.

The proceeds from the EMPTY BOWLS event are managed by the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, and distributed by the Food Bank of Western New York, to food pantries all around Chautauqua County. Donations may be made by cash, check or credit card.