Empty Bowls

Empty bowls is a charity event where students handcraft pottery that are then sold to the public. These bowls also come with soup and other types of food that are cooked by the students themselves. All of the proceeds are donated to Micah’s Backpack, a nonprofit organization that addresses children’s hunger issues.

In the beginning phase of Empty Bowls, we learned about the different process of bowl-making, such as pinch-pots, slab-making, and slip-casting. Our objective was to create 15 or more bowls with one theme. I thought choosing the theme was a challenge because I had to be very interested in this throughout the semester.

Ideation drawn or roll paper.

Ideation drawn on roll paper.

I was looking up different kinds of styles in art, and I found Brockmann’s work simple yet compelling. I found it very appealing how each line work did a captivating job representing the depth and the grid system. Based on this idea, I decided to make my bowl based on Brockmann’s work. The handles not only serve as a function, but also as a texture aesthetic. The way the user holds the bowl depends on where the handles are placed. The handles can be represented as the people who help hold our life together.

The process I used throughout making the bowls was the slab process. I start by flattening the clay manually. I then used the slab roller to achieve the right thickness of the clay. After smoothing out both sides, I cut a long, flat piece to be used as the bowls body. Because my bowls are stackable, foresight helped me to cut the angles of the rim and the side connections beforehand. The body is then connected which then leads to tracing and connecting the bottom of the bowl. All of these pieces are joined through scoring, applying slip, and blending them all together. The last part of the process was to place the handles. The handles are situated in a system, whether it be through repetition, scale, or even a grid system, just like Josef Brockmann. Glazing was also my favorite part of the process because it was somehow experimental. Understanding the chemical reactions through glazing and firing made me more knowledgeable about what kinds of effects I want in the end.



From Empty Bowls, I improved my skill in process-making and construction building. I learned to be more patient and concise with what I am doing and the reason why I am doing it. And so, this class was a great help in making me improve as a learning designer.