Fighting Hunger with Ceramics

By Charlie Norgaard

Unless you are the least observant person in the world, you have undoubtedly noticed the enormous array of hand-crafted bowls displayed throughout the Upper School entrance.

Every single bowl is uniquely designed; each one having its own distinct shape and glaze. Most people would assume that the display is simply a showcase from this year’s ceramic classes, however every single bowl was made by one person. The man behind it all: Michael Standley.  

Since the beginning of the school year in September, Standley has been tirelessly throwing and firing bowls in between classes and after school. Though he loves the process of hand-crafting each and every bowl, the creation of the more than 250 ceramic bowls was not just done in leisure, but for a much greater cause.

During the school-wide Mount Hood Climb Service Day, Standley, along with a handful of other students, helped glaze every single bowl. Along with an additional 50 bowls that Standley ordered, he will be donating upwards of 300 bowls to the “Empty Bowls” fundraiser hosted by the Oregon Potters Association. These bowls will be sold during the Portland Blues Festival on July 4th. The proceeds of which will go directly to the Oregon Food Bank. Standley said that if every bowl donated by OES was sold, the total proceeds would exceed $6,000.  

On average, most potters will donate around 20-30 bowls over the course of a year, while most high schools will donate around 50 bowls. Through countless hours of hard work, Standley has made OES one of the top contributors for the Empty Bowls fundraiser this year.

Standley is especially passionate about his service because he wanted to teach his students that “you can have fun making something while also contributing to a good cause.” That’s why he makes it a requirement that all his students donate at least one bowl to the cause.

Standley’s outstanding contribution will be enormously helpful to the Oregon Food Bank, and at the same time, prove that art can be the answer to our problems.

I highly encourage everyone to take a look at the display before it is donated. This is the last week to do so until the bowls are shipped off!