Peninsula artists fight hunger with creativity

As a Sequim business owner and artist, Heather Boyd wants to make a difference in the community where she lives and works.

Using her talent as a potter, Boyd is making and painting ceramic bowls for a community-wide fundraiser to fight hunger. Proceeds will benefit the Sequim Food Bank.

Right now, Boyd is busy making and decorating bowls for the Peninsula Empty Bowls Project. But later, perhaps this fall, she plans to host a community soup and bread dinner and invite people to purchase the bowls they eat from as a reminder that other people's bowls are empty and need to be filled.

Boyd wants to have at least 2,000-3,000 bowls in stock before attempting the dinner.

Others are invited to help fight hunger on the North Olympic Peninsula, whether it be by sponsoring a shipment of bowls, painting and donating a bowl, or just buying a beautifully hand-painted bowl to take home and enjoy.

Bowls are available for sale in the meantime at the store, 1341/2 W. Washington St., Sequim, and at special events. Each bowl is handmade and dinnerware safe.

"It hits home with me," Boyd said with raw emotion about world hunger.

"My brother-in-law lost his job in Seattle last November and hasn't found anything new yet."

Boyd and a group of supporters kicked off the campaign for Empty Bowls the first weekend in May by selling bowls at the Sequim Irrigation Festival arts and crafts fair.

The group raised $400 in just three hours.

"If we can raise $400 in three hours, the sky is the limit," Boyd said. "We'd like to be one of the biggest contributors (to the food bank for the year)."

The next Empty Bowls event will take place at the Boys & Girls Club Carroll C. Kendall unit on Tuesday, June 16. Prior to the event, the KinderKids class will take a field trip to The Blooming Brush and paint bowls.

The Empty Bowls campaign couldn't have come at a better time, according to Stephen Rosales, Sequim Food Bank president, who said the need for help putting food on the dinner table is rising.

In response to the increase in need, the Sequim Food Bank may open a third day each week. The board plans to meet and vote on the issue on Thursday, May 14. If the board agrees, the food bank will be open 6-8 p.m. - possibly until 9 p.m., Rosales said - on Wednesdays plus the currrent 9 a.m.-noon hours Monday and Friday.

The Sequim Humanities and Arts Alliance, as well as a handful of local artists - such as Renne Emiko Brock-Richmond, Rudy Bauer, Karin Anderson, Pam Erickson, Martha Rudersdorf, Cynthia Thomas and Steve Slatin - have jumped aboard the Empty Bowls bandwagon.

"This is a chance to outreach on so many levels - helping the hungry, talking about nutrition and supporting the arts," Brock-Richmond said. "It's a really enthusiastic crew who is trying to create something the community can embrace and be a part of."

Boyd encourages anybody and everybody who wants to get involved to contact her.

"I'd love to see some businesses get involved, maybe hold a competition between a couple of coffee shops or something," she said.

The Blooming Brush is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday.

People are welcome to stop by anytime during business hours to paint and donate a bowl.

Ashley Miller can be reached at ashleyo@

Peninsula Empty

Bowls Project

A group of concerned artists started The Peninsula Empty Bowls Project to fight hunger and raise awareness of the issue on the North Olympic Peninsula. Organizers intend for the fundraiser to become an annual event.

A variety of community bowl-making and -glazing events will be announced in the near future and throughout the year. Bowls cost $5 to paint and are resold for $20. All proceeds benefit the Sequim Food Bank.

For more information about the collaborative project, call Heather Boyd at The Blooming Brush, 681-2319, or

e-mail bloomingbrush

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