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The bonding power of soup

Service and community are part of the mission and key values at Charlotte Country Day School.

Charlotte Country Day School held its ninth annual Pottery Bowl Workshop on Thursday, Oct. 24, to benefit Hospice and Palliative Care of Charlotte.

Charlotte Country Day School held its ninth annual Pottery Bowl Workshop on Thursday, Oct. 24, to benefit Hospice and Palliative Care of Charlotte.

But being socially responsible doesn’t have to be a chore. That’s why the school recently hosted its ninth annual Pottery Bowl Workshop in the on-campus 3-D studio, where parents, teachers and students, as well as artists from ArtWorks 945, the art studio of Urban Ministries, came together Oct. 24 to make clay bowls for a good cause. Upper school students at the school will glaze and fire the art to be donated to Hospice and Palliative Care of Charlotte’s annual Soup on Sunday fundraiser, to take place Jan. 26, 2014.

“This is definitely a way to be of service to the greater Charlotte community. (We) share the facility that we have, which is fairly new,” said Meredith Green, the art teacher at the school who helps orchestrate the event. “It gives students the opportunity to do something for somebody else and have a good time doing it.”

The Soup on Sunday event is hosted by the culinary arts department and faculty at Central Piedmont Community College and sponsored by Wells Fargo. More than 35 premier Charlotte-area restaurants come together and feature their specialty soups for the event. In addition to soups, homemade breads, desserts and beverages, the event features a selection of pottery for purchase made by Urban Ministries, Charlotte Country Day School and Providence Day School. Last year’s workshop at Charlotte Country Day School saw more than 100 handcrafted bowls from students of all ages, teachers, parents and friends of the school.

“Everybody is involved. Even little toddlers can get in there and mush up some clay,” Green said.

The initiative at Country Day started with Kay Ethridge, a potter herself who works with ArtWorks 945 and a former Country Day mom. Ethridge had the idea to contribute to the cause as a fun way to serve the community and utilize Country Day’s new facility for community use, she said. That started nine years ago, and the annual workshop has been successful every year.

“I think most people have a family member, friend of neighbor that has benefitted from the amazing series provided by Hospice and Palliative Care,” Ethridge said. “… It is important for the community to show their appreciation.”

No experience is necessary to make the bowls, Green said, adding the designs are pretty basic. She and other volunteers are available to help guide participants in how to make the bowls. Artists from ArtWorks 945, a program that uses art to connect with individuals struggling with homelessness, also attend the event and help guide participants in crafting the bowls.

“They’ll help each other. Some of the artists have worked with clay before and know what they’re doing, so they’ll help other guests. There is a good bit of back and forth” conversation with the homeless and students, Green said.

“It’s kind of a lively event where a lot is going on. Most of the talking is around making the bowls, but it’s a nice interaction and happy atmosphere.”

Green said most of the funding for the project comes out of the school’s art department fund, but Jinny Hargrave, owner of Carolina Clay Connections, also provides some of the clay for the bowls. She also brings some tools and other supplies for participants to use. This year’s workshop was mostly coordinated by upper school students who helped set up and tear down. Next, the students will help fine-tune some of the pieces to get them in top shape for the fundraising event before the pieces are fired and glazed.

Tickets for Hospice and Palliative Care of Charlotte’s January Soups on Sunday event already are available and cost $30 to $40 for adults and $10 for kids ages 7 to 12. Admission is free for kids age 6 and younger. Find more information about the event or to purchase tickets at

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