One of the things I like about being a reporter is that I get to meet so many great people on my beat. Every time I go out to do a story I never know who I am going to meet.
Nearly every time I will meet some really great people and learn something I didn’t know before. That is what happened to me when I accepted an invitation in October to become a celebrity bowl maker for Saline Area Schools’ Empty Bowls fundraiser for Food Gatherers.
While the story sounded intriguing, the idea of working with clay caught me off guard. It had been 30-plus years since I had worked with clay and even then I produced works that only my mom would accept and keep around for these many years.
But the art teachers were a patient and encouraging group and they showed me the ropes of working with clay.
I used a bowl as my mold and then let the clay speak to me, a phrase art teacher Kevin McCown coined. While others were making really nice bowls or a beehive, my clay was telling me to make a baseball mitt.
McCown showed me how to use tools to create the webbing of a glove and the leather threads to tie it together. I created a ball to rest in the pocket. I enjoyed the experience and wish I had more time to work on my bowl.
Other celebrities, such as Fire Chief Craig Hoeft, had done this before and got to work on making a bowl that would eventually have a Dalmatian pattern on it. Some, like then-school board president Lisa Slawson had her old art teacher nearby for inspiration.
I muddled through and got my mitt to a condition I was happy with and then I had to leave.
I came back in January to paint my bowl. I had considered what colors I wanted to use before I settled on Saline’s school colors of maize and blue. This was hard for a dedicated Spartan fan, but I told myself it was for a good cause.
The painting went smoothly as I made the mitt blue, with yellow for the threads; I used white and red to make the baseball and red on the underside.
It soon became apparent that I had made a copy of the logo for the Milwaukee Brewers. Not exact, but close enough for people to comment on it later.
The work paid off on Feb. 7 at Empty Bowls at the high school when I saw my bowl among the other creations and I got a lot of congratulations. I had fun complimenting my fellow bowl makers and fishing for compliments.
The celebrity bowls were up for a silent auction and even though I campaigned, I only saw $8 on it. Still, it was for a good cause, so the hungry won in the end.
If I come back next year, I am already thinking of what I can create.
My thanks again to all the art teachers who helped me, it was a wonderful experience.