Artists typically work alone.
They may spend hours with others to get their inspiration, but then usually return to their studios, where they paint or mold or pen in solitude.
But on Saturday and Sunday, about two dozen potters worked together to make bowls for the third annual Steamboat Clay Artisans' Soup Bowl Supper.
"It just really feels good to be part of a community process like this, to know that we're going to help out" potter Barb Paulekas said.
Plus, she said, pottery is fun to do with others, and allows for learning new techniques.
"It feels very good to be creative with your hands in a three-dimensional way.
"You just start off with this piece of earth," she said, holding up a square of clay. "It gives you a sense of accomplishment."
The Soup Bowl Supper will benefit Yampa Valley Recycles this year. At the fund-raiser, ticket-buyers get to pick a unique, handcrafted ceramic bowl, which is made by a local artisan and filled with soup.
This weekend, the potters took the first step to creating the 250 bowls they will give out. They worked for hours at a time, some finding they had a few aches and pains at the end of each day, said Deb Babcock, a co-founder of Steamboat Clay Artisans.
About eight potters, including Paulekas, worked at wheels in one room. Sometimes one potter would shape a bowl, then pass it to another to add the details.
In another room, more potters worked on "slump molds." For that technique, they rolled out a slab of clay, draped it over a plastic mold to get a shape, and then hand-molded it.
There, sculptor Rosie MacDonald added faces to the sides of some bowls, items so popular at the first two Soup Bowl Suppers that they are sold through the silent auction.
The faces, with their round cheeks and curious eyes and pursed lips, are humorous and beautiful. MacDonald's inspiration comes from her observations of people and their interesting features, such as a slightly sagging mouth, odd-shaped eyes or a unique nose.
Barb Hughes, chairwoman of Yampa Valley Recycles, stopped in both days to watch the potters at work.
"I just think this is incredible, the amount of work these folks are putting in to help somebody else," Hughes said.
Yampa Valley Recycles will use the proceeds to buy attractive recycling bins for downtown Steamboat Springs. It also will use the dinner to teach people about living with less waste. Cloth napkins will be handed out, silverware will be washed and reused, and the glasses used will be made from recycled plastic.
"There won't be any waste at all, just to show people you can live this way, if you put just a little thought in it," Hughes said.
Preparation for the event is not yet finished, as the bowls still need to be dried, then fired in a kiln, glazed and fired again. But the potters are looking forward to the steps to come.
"It doesn't even feel like work, it's fun," potter Eve Partridge said.
The Soup Bowl Supper will be at 5 and 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Depot Art Center. Tickets cost $18 and will go on sale in late summer.
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