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Students spin for food bank at 'Throwathon'

St. Helens High School students craft ceramic bowls for the Oregon Food Bank


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Cody Galvin, SHHS Senior, recently joined the Oregon Potters Association and will be assisting SHHS ceramics instructor Pat Brame at the Empty Bowls event during the Waterfornt Blues Festival in Portland. The St. Helens High School ceramics department hosted a pottery-making event called Throwathon on June 5 to help raise money for the Oregon Food Bank.

All of the bowls, vases and various vessels made at the event will be sold out of the Empty Bowls booth at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland July 4-7, with all of the proceeds going to the food bank.

Pat Brame, St. Helens High School ceramics teacher, said 116 pieces of pottery were made at Throwathon. All of the pottery sells at a broad price range, but Brame expects to average $25 a piece.

Brame has been selling ceramic bowls for the Oregon Food Bank at the Waterfront Blues Festival for the past dozen years, but only recently involved the students in such a large capacity.

“I’ve been very proud of the students’ work,” he said.

Last year, Brame held the Throwathon after school was out and only one student attended. This year, a handful of students came to throw pottery, and some even came just to watch their peers plunge their hands into the spinning clay.

Brame invited professional potters and sculptors to assist in making additional pieces during the Throwathon. Local artists Jerrold Martisak, Bill Sanchez and Jan Rentenaar attended Throwathon as well as Don and Cindy Hoskisson and their daughter, Mya, from Dallas, Texas.

“I’m excited for some of my kids to meet some of my professional potter friends and see them working,” Brame said in a press release. “It should be quite a show.”

Clay for the event was donated by Georgies Ceramics & Clay in Northeast Portland.

“Their support is huge,” Brame said. “They’ll donate clay every time if it’s supporting the food bank.”

Brame and his pottery students also support the Columbia-Pacific Food Bank with their Empty Bowls fundraiser held every March. “I can’t think of anything more worthy,” Brame said. “We’re helping to feed people... some of them right here among us.”