PINEDALE – The final bell signaled the end of the day at Pinedale High School (PHS) on Wednesday, Nov. 16. As the building emptied, art teacher Katie Facklam’s studio buzzed with activity.
Pottery wheels hummed as PHS students shaped lumps of clay into symmetrical bowls. Across the room, young people applied glazes and other colorful finishes to their bowls with painstaking precision.
Row upon row of brilliant handcrafted vessels filled the shelves in the classroom. Students prepared each piece to auction off at the second annual “Soup-er Bowl” fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Rendezvous Pointe Senior Center in Pinedale from 6-8 p.m.
The PHS National Art Honor Society and ceramics classes are hosting the event to raise money to fulfill Christmas wishes for families through the Pinedale Angel Wreath program, said Facklam.
The 2021 Soup-er Bowl auction raised just under $8,000, allowing the Angel Wreath program to grant every wish on its list, Facklam added, from shoes to bicycles and food vouchers from Ridleys’.
Facklam’s pupils hope to raise even more this year. Students came in before and after school to work on their auction pieces, even swinging by between classes to check on a bowl, Facklam said.
“The kilns are going around the clock,” she added. “The kids are driven by a desire to give back to the community. I’m so proud of the heart these kids show and the time and effort they put in to their work.”
Senior Greyson Jervis picked up a bowl from the drying rack, one of three pieces ready for the auction. White and clay-red stripes ascended and descended on the piece, Jervis’ geometric perfection creating the illusion that the bowl is an octagon rather than half a sphere.
Jervis achieved the design by carving a pattern into white glaze to make the color pop out in relief.
In addition to giving back to the community, Jervis saw the Soup-er Bowl as an opportunity for young artists to collaborate.
“Everyone makes something different,” he said. “The uniqueness of each piece brings everyone together.”
Even talented, advanced artists like senior Stephanie Resendiz experience mishaps. One of her original bowls developed a crack. Rather than chuck the piece, Resendiz vowed to “make something out of it.”
Removing the damaged portion of the bowl, Resendiz meticulously cut out a slot for a smaller bowl. A broken piece of ceramic was transformed into a chip and salsa set.
Resendiz applied a glaze finish to the smaller salsa bowl.
“Anyone can make a bowl,” she said. “You add your own special touch of creativity to make it stand out.”
Resendiz’s ingenious chip-and-salsa bowl combo was the third ceramic piece she created for the auction. She looks forward to the event as a means “to help others who are less fortunate.”
Junior Joe Boylan dipped his fingers into murky water and sprinkled moisture onto a bowl rising from the wheel. Boylan described the techniques involved in proper clay throwing: The wedge of clay is first centered. The artist then “manipulates” the lump into a cone, working out air bubbles. A hole is punched into the center and the walls are gradually built up.
Making a bowl involves patience, Boylan said. What begins as an idea can take on an entirely new shape on the wheel.
“A good ceramicist dictates to the clay,” he said. “You have to be direct and be the boss of the clay.”
Junior Tyrney Roberts logged plenty of overtime to produce artwork for the auction. By mid-November, she had completed “between 14 and 16” bowls.
Roberts applied a ribbon tool to a bowl on the wheel to achieve a rich texture. She scoured the supply closet for every day objects to create different textures. A simple dinner fork, for example, can add depth to a piece, Roberts said.
Maintaining symmetry on the pottery wheel is a challenge, achieved through repetition, using both leg and arm strength and controlling breathing – “like shooting a gun,” Roberts said.
The Angel Wreath program is the perfect combination of altruism and art, said Roberts.
“I like helping people, but I also get to do what I like to do.”
The public are invited to attend the Soup-er Bowl on Saturday from 6-8 p.m. and donate by bidding on bowls or purchasing tickets for a soup dinner. The night will feature a live student-run auction and music along with art.