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Butte artists making 1,000 bowls for April fundraiser

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Butte, Montana – If you’re itching to get your hands on a hip, fresh, hand-made bowl at Butte’s Empty Bowls event in April, chances are it’s one of the bowls that local artists in Butte are currently handcrafting.

“It’s actually one of my favorite hobbies and I’m so glad I get to work with Mr. Kujawa and just kind of be part of the community and do something I really enjoy,” said artist Ashley Malyevac.

More than 1,000 ceramic bowls have been created by artists at the Hungry Hill Art Center in Butte, and they will be sold at the April Empty Bowls event to support the Butte Emergency Food Bank’s backpack program, which provides weekend lunches for area schoolchildren.

The creative team loves to get their hands dirty. “It’s addicting because you never perfect it, there’s always something better. I can get thinner, I can get taller, I can get wider,” said Heather Wood.

It takes a certain finesse to work with soft clay, and even seasoned potters can blow it. “You know, it happens. It’s the first one I’ve thrown in eight years, so I didn’t expect to get this far,” said Amanda Rossi.

The soft clay is initially formed into a bowl by the artists—a process known as “throwing a bowl”—before being trimmed and fired in a kiln at a high temperature. “The cool thing about this is you can do art and it’s functional. You can do your whole kitchen set and it’s not like you’re making an art piece for a wall,” said Sean Keuch.

It really takes practice, I discovered after getting my hands muddy. “We’re going to get this edge kind of off,” said Wood.

We’re going to soften the blow. “Right, we’re going to make it nice and smooth,” said Wood.

Do you know what would be useful to me in this situation? Could you perform Ghost’s, Unchained Melody? “No,” she said.

Instructor Mike Kujawa said, “Our potters loved to make them. We’ll probably make more than we need this year, that’s the goal, so we can continue on next year and it’s a good warm feeling know we’re feeding the kids.”

The Butte Civic Center will host Empty Bowls on April 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. The Civic Center is selling tickets for the game for $20 for a standard bowl and $100 for a large bowl.

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