Potters volunteer skills to raise funds for nonprofit
By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - In the Vero Beach Museum of Art, 2,000 pounds of reddish-brown clay will turn into thousands of green dollars to raise money for The Samaritan Center in Vero Beach.
This year the Samaritan Center will celebrate 20 years of partnering with clay artists and local restaurants to raise funds for the expenses of the homeless family shelter.
"The annual Samaritan Center Soup Bowl is a highlight of the season and unifies the community in a big way and organizers hope the same is true this year," said Tracey Seagal, executive director of The Samaritan Center.
This year the fundraiser will be held on Nov. 1 at 13 different locations. Last year, more than 5,000 individuals were served, according to a press release.
More than 200 wheel-thrown bowls have already been crafted this year by the volunteer potters, and on Wednesdays and the weekends the studio is a bustle of activity while even more lumps of clay are shaped into collectible bowls for soup.
Up to 13 potters can throw bowls at one time in the museum's ceramics studio, and although they are all crafting bowls, each potter is as unique as their creations.
Maria Sparsis has been working with clay for six years and enjoys the hands-on nature of the 3-D art form.
"I have always loved art and up until clay I couldn't find anything that I could do with any competency," Ms. Sparsis said with a smile.
"I decided to try and signed up at the museum for classes and I've been doing them ever since," she said.
The clay used by the potters is stoneware and once thrown, trimmed, fired, glazed and fired again, they are food-safe and dishwasher safe, Ms. Sparsis said.
When the bowls are completed and the big soup event begins, individuals can buy bowls at $10 each regardless if they purchase a cup of soup.
Glazing, or the coloring process of the bowls, begins Sept. 5.
For more information about the Samaritan Center, visit www.samaritancentervero.org.