“Creativity is spirit-filled,” Danny Meisinger says on his website, www.spinningearthpottery.net. “The more art there is in the world the more artists there will be, and the more spirit filled the world becomes.” Danny and Diana Meisinger have created Dolphin Song together in the historic building at 102 S. Elm, where the Empty Bowls event will occur on Jan. 25. Submitted photo

Kiesa Kay

Special to The Gardner News
Beautiful, handmade bowls will grace the upstairs room of Dolphin Song, 102 S. Elm, on Jan. 25. Donors will choose the bowls they want to take home with them, and then fill those bowls with good, wholesome soup and a side of nutritious bread. The community meal will be a fundraiser for the Gardner Multiservice Center.
“An anonymous donor has offered to match every donation this year, so each $25 contribution will be worth $50 for the multiservice center,” said Danny Meisinger, ceramic artist and owner of Spinning Earth Pottery.
Danny and Diana Meisinger, co-owners of Dolphin Song, have joined forces to bring the Empty Bowls project back to Gardner for its tenth year. In all, they have raised more than $20,000 for the local community with the Empty Bowls project.
“Last year, we made about $4,000,” Meisinger said. “It has been more successful with each successive year.”
The bowls often have been made by high school students and community members, as well as local potters. Any ceramic artists with handmade bowls to contribute may bring them to Dolphin Song, and Meisinger often plans a day for people to gather to make bowls, too.
“It’s good for everyone,” he said. “I love the connections we all make as a community. Diana’s yoga students and other friends make soups, and we’ll have water, coffee, or tea. It’s nothing fancy, but everybody pulls together for good.”
The money raised will go to the Gardner Multiservice Center for whatever needs people in Gardner, Edgerton, or Spring Hill may have.
“The Empty Bowls project started as a way to help food pantries, but now the funds can go to help get people’s cars fixed, or to keep their heat going in the winter,” Meisinger said. “We give them the proceeds and the center decides what they need.”
Potters often learn about this national tradition through word-of-mouth, he said. The first Empty Bowls events occurred in 1990 and 1991 in Michigan, with founders Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom. It has grown into an international event, and each potter who participates gives time, energy, and proceeds to his or her local community.
“Empathy is born in us all,” Meisinger said. “We all do what we can for each other. I’m a potter, so I can help by doing this. It’s what I can do.”
The Empty Bowls project fills bellies and warms hearts. The event is rendered even more poignant at its Gardner location. Longtime residents will remember the meaningful art of Jay Lehman, who resided in the historic building before Dolphin Song began.
“Art still has truth,” Lehman’s epitaph says, quoting the poet Matthew Arnold. “Take refuge there.”