Help with your hands: Community Bowl Day at Women’s Studio Workshop

Each February – this year, on the afternoon of Saturday the 29th – the Women’s Studio Workshop (WSW) holds its biggest annual fundraiser: the Chili Bowl Fiesta. This will be the 23rd such event, hosted on the campus of SUNY-Ulster in Stone Ridge. The Fiesta is popular, with the number of handmade bowls being sold escalating each year, at prices ranging from $10 to $100. Your bowl or mug of choice comes filled with tasty chili, in meat, vegetarian and vegan varieties, donated by more than 20 local restaurants and chefs. There’s always a great live band and a happy crowd, many of them families who come back year after year to stock their kitchen cabinets with an eclectic collection of earthenware.

It takes a lot of people – WSW staff, interns and volunteers – working over a period of months to crank out more than a thousand beautiful vessels to be displayed for sale on Fiesta day. But the big push happens during the final couple of months. It culminates on Community Bowl Day, when volunteers of all ages are invited to get their hands muddy and make a slab-built bowl that will be sold at the Fiesta, or simply work on surface decoration via stencils, silkscreen transfers, painting with colored slips, pressing lace into the surface or carving into the clay. Work created here will be offered for sale at the Chili Bowl Fiesta on January 29 – unless you opt to mark the bottom of your bowl with a special stamp that indicates that it’s reserved for purchase by the maker after it has been cured, glazed and fired.

Community Bowl Day 2020 happens on Saturday, February 1 from noon to 7 p.m. in the ceramics studio at WSW’s headquarters in the Rosendale hamlet of Binnewater, located at 722 Binnewater Lane, just outside the main entrance to the Williams Lake resort. You don’t need any experience as a potter to participate in one of the three one-hour guided sessions, which begin at noon, 3 and 6 p.m., nor is there any fee, but you do need to preregister. E-mail or call (845) 658-9133 to reserve a spot.


Community Bowl Day
Saturday, Feb. 1, noon-7 p.m.
Women’s Studio Workshop
722 Binnewater Ln., Rosendale
(845) 658-9133