Steamboat Clay Artisans craft bowls for annual Soup Bowl Supper
October 2, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Before they are filled with soup and taken home as collector's items, Barb Gregoire's handmade bowls begin as a modest lump of clay on a wheel.
They don't become pieces of art until they are baked in a gas kiln in her backyard in Milner at 1,800 degrees, glazed and then fired again at 2,300 degrees. That's when the magic happens, she said.
And when they're finally placed on a table at the Steamboat Springs Community Center and grabbed by someone each year at the Steamboat Clay Artisans' Soup Bowl Supper, Gregoire said she really starts to feel like an artist.
"I still remember at my first Soup Bowl Supper I was walking in and there was someone holding their bowl like it was a million dollar piece of artwork," she said. "It's very rewarding to see people admire what you create in a setting like that."
Gregoire and about 11 other potters of Steamboat Clay Artisans have made 300 bowls that will be used in their 10th annual Soup Bowl Supper on Wednesday. The supper has benefited local charities each year since its inception in 2001, usually providing between $5,000 to $8,000 for a nonprofit.
Last year's meal raised $6,500 for the Yampa River Botanic Park, and this year, the artisans are putting their fundraising muscle behind the Routt County Council on Aging.
"We had a lot of applications this year for being our beneficiary, and they hit all of our hearts," Gregoire said. "This year I feel like there's a lot of need among our aging population, and we're excited to be a part of giving to that population of people."
Headquartered in Steamboat Springs, the Council on Aging provides senior citizens in Hayden, South Routt and Steamboat Springs with transportation services, Medicare counseling, home delivered meals and referrals for housing, legal and medical assistance.
And at this year's event, the beneficiary isn't the only thing that's new.
In years past, the artisans would gather in one place to fire and create the 300 bowls. But this year, Gregoire said the potters are making more unique pieces of art as they create most of them in their own studios.
"This year I think we'll have better and more unique bowls as artists start putting their own style into them," she said.
Artisans members said in the event's early years, when they made each bowl together, it was hard to tell one another's work apart. This year’s process evolved to allow for more individuality.
"Doing it this way has its advantages," artisan Jody Elston said after she and fellow potters Kathy Thayer and Sue Binsfeld started to wash hundreds of bowls Sunday night at Thayer's home for Wednesday's supper. "We probably take more pride in our work because they are each our own."
This year's soups, breads and desserts have been donated by 25 local restaurants and businesses. Tickets for the 10th annual event are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and include a handmade soup bowl, soup from local restaurants, bread, dessert and beverages and a chance to win a door prize. Advance tickets are available at All That Jazz and the Routt County Council on Aging.
— To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com
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