Bowls Are the Centerpiece of Fundraiser for the Hungry


Talbot County Empty Bowls hosted its first community dinner in 2009. The centerpiece of every dinner since is the bowl in which soup is served. Guests take home their bowl as a reminder that someone else’s bowl may be empty.

Paul Aspell, a professional potter and pottery teacher at the Academy Art Museum, learned about Talbot County Empty Bowls from Anna Harding. Harding, the founder of Talbot County Empty Bowls, was taking a class with Aspell. At Harding’s request, Aspell made several fine-art quality bowls for the annual community dinner. Now his students are part of the cause, each year adding more and more hand-made bowls to the collection available to the Talbot County Empty Bowls diners.

“I asked my class to help me make bowls, which they were glad to do,” says Aspell. “Working together on this project gives us all a sense of giving back to our community.”

The group of potters made 80 bowls for the 2018 Talbot County Empty Bowls dinner “We expect to donate at least that many, probably a lot more for the 2019 dinner,” Aspell says. “All of the bowls we make are dishwasher safe and lead free, and no two bowls are alike.”

Photo: Paul Aspell and his AAM pottery students create handmade bowls that are donated to Talbot County Empty Bowls. Pictured are (L-R), standing, Paul Aspell, Karen Bailor, Stephen Walker, Zoe Zelenka, Randolph Perry, Lynda Barrow, Bobbie Brittingham, and Amanda Beck; seated, front, Meg Moran, Pamela Into, Celie Baussan, Cindy Calabro, and Harriet Downs.

Harding, who continues to participate on the Talbot County Empty Bowls planning committee, says, “Paul has been a friend of Empty Bowls for nearly 10 years. As a potter I know the time and creative effort that goes into creating a handmade piece of pottery. The Empty Bowls community so appreciates that this talented artist, and his students, continue to make such special pieces for our dinner.”

More than 450 bowls are needed for the annual Talbot County Empty Bowls dinner. The bowls crafted by Aspell and the Academy Art Museum potters, along with hand-made bowls created by local high school students, comprise about a quarter of the bowls needed for the dinner. The remainder of the bowls in which soup is served are painted by Empty Bowls supporters at Kiln Born Creations.

“We are so grateful to Lyn Kilbourn, owner of Kiln Born Creations, for her support of Talbot County Empty Bowls,” says Naomi Hyman, chair of the Talbot County Empty Bowls planning committee. “Lyn and her staff welcome adults and children to their studio, where they can have fun adding their creative touch to unpainted bowls. Kiln Born provides the paints, tools and instructions, then the painters are free to put their personal mark on the bowls they paint.”

Bowls are still needed for the February 24 Talbot County Empty Bowls community dinner. Supporters can paint bowls at Kiln Born until Thursday, February 14. The studio is located at 1 S. Washington Street in Easton. Reservations are suggested for paint party groups

The studio fee to pain bowls for the Talbot County Empty Bowls is $15 plus tax. For no additional charge Kiln Born also provides “To Go” boxes filled with unpainted bowls and a selection of paint colors for groups that want to host a bowl painting party at another location.

Bowls painted through Kiln Born are donated for the Talbot County Empty Bowls dinner along with a portion of the studio fee. For more information about painting bowls for Talbot County Empty Bowls, call Kiln Born at 410-770-9091.

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