Otaki potters throw themselves into raising funds for Downtown Community Ministry

Otaki potters' contribution to DCM fundraising
Otaki potters’ contribution to DCM fundraising

Wellington’s potters community have thrown themselves into an ambitious project to handcraft 850 bowls, to raise funds for DCM, the organisation committed to ending homelessness in the city.

Volunteers from the Wellington Potters Association, have taken on the task of making the huge number of bowls, which will go on sale at shops and cafes in August with all proceeds to DCM.

Empty Bowls is an international project to help fight hunger. The premise is simple: craftspeople get together to make unique ceramic bowls to raise funds for community organisations.

Empty Bowls was founded in 2007 and, though projects have been organised in many countries around the world, Wellington organiser Rebecca Flowerday said this is believed to be the first in New Zealand.

“We were told about it by acclaimed potter Kate Jacobson, from Hawaii, when she visited the association last year,” said Rebecca. “It is a fantastic idea and we are making 850 because that’s how many people DCM helps each year.”

The tonne of clay needed to make all the bowls has been sponsored by property management company Managemyproperty.

For each bowl the potter starts with 660g of clay but design, decoration and glaze are entirely up to the individual – ensuring a huge array of unique artworks. They can be formed by hand or thrown on a wheel. Pots take about half an hour each to craft but two days to glaze and fire.”

Potting began in April and association president Gwyn Williams said making so many was a “huge hill to climb”. The target is 50 per week.

DCM Director Stephanie McIntyre said: “It is fantastic to see the community— our many supporters, donors and now the Wellington Potters Association — coming together to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city. People in the Wellington community care and often ask us what they can do. This is one way— throw a pot or buy a pot; it’s a very cool way to help.”

During August 2015, the bowls will go on sale for $20 each at:

  • Moore Wilson’s,
  • Kapai stores Wellington
  • Gipsy Kitchen , Strathmore
  • Haya, Aro Street
  • Karaka Café, Cable Street
  • Little Peckish café, Manners St
  • Thunderbirds54 café