ShareThis Page

Pine-Richland students filling 'Empty Bowls' to benefit Lighthouse Foundation

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Rachel Farkas | Pine Creek Journal
Sophomores Kiel Hillock and Grace Roller rise and shape clay into bowls using pottery wheels in Mary Anne Andreassi’s ceramics class for the upcoming Empty Bowls Fundraiser.
Rachel Farkas | Pine Creek Journa
Junior Jessica Brashear and senior Julia Duken make bowls by “throwing' pottery for the upcoming Empty Bowls Fundraiser.
Rachel Farkas | Pine Creek Journal
Sophomore Gina Gebhardt puts a coat of glaze on her ceramic bowl after its first firing in the kiln. The glaze will color and strengthen the bowl after it is fired for a second time.

At two rows of pottery wheels, ceramics students work steadily to shape wet lumps of clay into smooth, round bowls.

Pine-Richland sophomore Kiel Hillock said the process takes about 30 minutes.

“After you rise it, you want to work it so that you can get a nice even texture on the outside so it looks nice,” he said.

The bowls will be used for an annual event called Empty Bowls, held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at Pine-Richland High School. Participants can purchase the handmade bowls for $10 and fill them with unlimited homemade soups and bread.

Children under age 5 eat for free. All proceeds benefit the Lighthouse Foundation in Valencia.

The foundation was founded in 1985 by a group of Bakerstown community residents in response to growing needs among local families and communities facing rising employment and emergency needs.

This is the sixth year for Empty Bowls at Pine-Richland, said high school art teacher Mary Anne Andreassi. Students from various classes and groups in the high school join forces to make the event a success.

Andreassi's ceramics students make the bowls, family and consumer science students in Heidi Davis's class make batches of soup and bake bread, and the Interact Club co-sponsors the event.

Parents also make soups for the event. Last year there were about 16 different kinds of soup to try, Andreassi said.

Empty Bowls is an event put on by high schools and colleges across the nation, but it started in the 1990s with an art teacher in Michigan, Andreassi said.

“They thought, why not create art that can be used as a fundraiser and let people participate in the art process, and then have something to take home with them,” she said.

Andreassi said she brought up the idea to her ceramics students six years ago, and they ran with it. They raised $3,000 the first year, and the event has raised a combined $10,000 over the past five years.

The student enjoy putting their work to good use. They can make as many thrown pottery bowls as they want for the event, Andreassi said. They usually have between 100 to 150 bowls ready for the event, and they often take orders for more.

After students “throw” the bowls on the pottery wheels, they are dried to a state called “leather-hard dryness,” an intermediate stage where the bowl is still pliable. Students trim a foot, or base, onto the bottom of the bowl to give it a finished look.

Then they dry the bowls in the kiln, apply glaze for color and strength and fire them in the kiln again.

The entire process of throwing pottery from start to finish takes about five days, Andreassi said.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.