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Students serve up creative inspiration to help the hungry

by Reggie Ponder,
The Daily Advance of 
Elizabeth City

BARCO, N.C. (AP) — Currituck County High School senior Madison Huntley chose an unexpected design — a candle — for the bowl she’s contributing to the 2018 Empty Bowls of the Albemarle benefit.

“It’s kind of to light the way for people who are in trouble, like when you are in the dark and you need something to help you see,” Huntley explained as she worked on the bowl Thursday morning during ceramics class at the high school.

Claire Vinick, art teacher, said this is the eighth year her ceramics students have contributed work to Empty Bowls, a fundraiser for Food Bank of the Albemarle. Other area schools with ceramics classes that are providing bowls for the event include College of The Albemarle, Northeastern High School, Pasquotank County High School, Camden County High School and Gates County High School.

This year’s benefit will be held April 10-11 at Museum of the Albemarle.

Students have put a lot of thought into the details of their bowls.

Ashley Starboard pointed out that the bottom of her bowl is smooth.

“You want to make it smooth but not where it would wobble, because no one wants a wobbly bowl,” she said.

Starboard, a junior, who is taking her second class in ceramics this semester, explained that while the bowl curves toward the bottom, the bottom itself is flat in order to avoid the undesired wobbly characteristic.

The top of the bowl is in the shape of flower petals and Starboard is still figuring out what color or colors she wants to use for the glaze on the petals. Once the piece has been fired she will paint or glaze it, she said.

Ayden Brown, a senior, also is in her second semester of ceramics. Last semester she made a bowl in the form of a pond with koi fish in it.

“I wanted to continue the theme of watery animals and decided to do a duck,” she said.

Ducks came to mind readily, because her family has raised ducks and also because wild ducks are closely associated with Currituck County and its history.

“I still haven’t decided what kind of duck this is going to be, but I’ll figure that out when I get to it,” Brown said.

Both the koi pond bowl and the duck bowl will be part of the Empty Bowls fundraiser.

Brown pointed out that each of the bowls approaches the theme of aquatic life in a different way.

“So while that one had the animal in it,” she said, pointing to the koi pond piece, “this one is the actual animal itself.”

When she was finishing the fish for the koi pond bowl she was able to find a glaze that looked like a koi fish pattern, which helped the image to be more realistic.

She said she is pleased that her work will be featured in Empty Bowls.

“I just think that it’s a great thing to do, both being able to help people in need and being able to do so using my own talents,” Brown said.

Brown said she has been interested in art her whole life but was focused mainly on drawing until she took the ceramics class. She has enjoyed ceramics and drawing alike, she said, and would like to pursue a career in art but also realizes how much of a challenge it can be to earn a living as an artist.

Juniors Brooke Matusko and Hunter Goinn were working during Thursday’s class on a new project in which the students are fashioning a ceramic piece that represents a shoe from a different culture. Matusko was making a Native American shoe and Goinn was crafting one that he said represents Chinese poverty.

For the bowl he’s contributing to Empty Bowls, Goinn said he chose a blue glaze, because blue is his favorite color. He mixed a couple of different glazes to achieve the specific hue that he wanted, he explained.

Matusko used an ocean and beach theme for her bowl, experimenting with different textures to mimic the look of waves and employing vinegar to create a foamy look reminiscent of ocean water.

Amberine Brown chose monochromatic patterns, which she explained means they range through different shades of the same color. The inspiration for the monochromatic color palette, she said, was her mother — who likes to dress in different shades of a single color.

“That’s just her style,” Brown said.

One of Brown’s bowls is in blues and the other is in pinks.

Brown, who is taking her fourth semester of ceramics, noted, “I enjoy crafting with my hands a lot.” She said she enjoys the challenge of ceramics.

Senior Caleb Mullins, hoping to do something that would be different from the pieces submitted by other students, made a small pedestal with a bowl that sits on top of it.

“Nobody else really did it and I wanted it to really be my own bowl,” Mullins said.

Mullins said that after taking Art I he wound up in ceramics simply because he needed another elective course. But he enjoyed the ceramics class so much he’s now taking it for a second semester.

The class, which meets during the first period of the day, is a relaxing way to begin a day of school, he said.

Information from: The Daily Advance, http://www.dailyadvance.com/