Historic Routt County to benefit from this year's Soup Bowl supper
Members of the Steamboat Clay Artisans look forward to the annual Soup Bowl Supper as an opportunity to experiment with new techniques and give back to the community.
The 300 soup bowls that were made for this year’s event were a collaborative effort among about 20 members of the guild.
“Some people threw and trimmed the bowls, someone else shaped the foot of the bowl, some people were doing slump molds and some were hand building,” Artisan member Julia Bosma said. “And some people were eating or running and getting snacks from Safeway.”
Between one and five people worked on each bowl over two days. On Wednesday, the bowls will be filled with homemade soups, breads and desserts donated by local restaurants. There also will be a silent auction for other pottery creations from the members of the guild.
Bosma used this opportunity to try making slump molds for the first time.
“You take anything that’s bowl-shaped and somewhat bowl like, roll out pieces of clay into flat sheets and drape it over the thing that fits as a mold,” Bosma said. “Then you can do different designs or prints on it.”
The bowls each have to go through two firings.
“The first firing takes approximately seven hours at 1,800 degrees,” Artisan member Sue Binsfeld said. “Typically the second firing is at 2,200 degrees, but some bowls are going to be fired at up to 2,300 degrees.”
Everything is dishwasher, microwave and food safe. What makes these bowls unique is that they are a culmination of everyone’s talents.
“Generally, when you see pottery at an art show, you see only one person’s pottery,” Binsfeld said. “We all throw differently, trim different and have different decorating techniques. There’s not two bowls that will ever be the same.”
Soup Bowl Supper attendees will take home their bowls, which have become collectors items for some over the years.
All of the money raised this year will be donated to Historic Routt County to be used for historic signage and for three or four of the nonprofit organization’s projects. Steamboat Clay Artisans has donated almost $25,000 to different nonprofit organizations in the community since the inception of the event.
“The reason we do it is because it is fun for us and is a nice way to give back to the community,” Artisan member Deb Babcock said. “Five years ago, when we started, the community wasn’t aware of the local potters because we weren’t that visible. And by changing the beneficiary every year, we have a different audience, and each one has a different constituency.”
Binsfeld looks forward to the event each year just to get together with the other clay artisans.
“Generally, when making pottery, you’re kind of alone in your studio,” she said. “It’s really fun to get together and share ideas and experiences.”
The event has a similar feel because it is like a community dinner where people share tables with one another.
“The most fun part for the potters is to watch the people choose their bowl, cradle it and go get soup ladled into it,” Babcock said. “At the end of the night, they’re just clutching their bowls to their chest, so excited to leave with it. It’s a ball for us to watch them.”
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