Sam G. teaches his mom to throw. (Notice: one-handed!)

Did you ever feel like you can’t do justice to something awesome?

I’m trying to learn how to write journalism.  This is probably a good skill for me to know, advising the school paper and all.  But really, it’s just because I’m kind of fascinated with the whole concept.

Anyhow, a friend recently helped me out with some formula stuff, and advised that I try it out.  “Totally easy,” he says, but he does it for a living; not so easy for those of us who don’t practice the skill every day.

The closest story at hand is what happened this Saturday.  Poetry is probably more apt a description.  What happened in our studio was enough to make me a little emotional more than once during the session.  But I guess it’s a good exercise to practice some restraint.

I wonder – does my attempt (below) do it even close to justice?  Comments (more than) welcome…


On Saturday, November 24, ten Malvern alumni and nearly thirty other students, family members, and supporters converged on the Duffy Ceramics Studio for the biggest Open Studio in the history of Malvern Prep’s Empty Bowls program.

The second of eight Saturday Open Studio sessions scheduled this winter took place over the Thanksgiving holiday, when many alumni who have been involved with Empty Bowls in previous years were home from college.  Participants worked on throwing, trimming, and glazing pots during the four-hour afternoon session.

“I have been working with Empty Bowls at Malvern since the first year Malvern started hosting the event,” said alumni participant Chris Boles, MP’11. “In all the years and Open Studios we have had, I have never seen more people, excitement, or energy in the studio.”

Alumni participants noted that they had never had to take turns on the pottery wheels before.  All fifteen wheels were full for most of the afternoon.  In total at this session, potters created more than 125 new bowls, while other participants glazed more than sixty pieces.

Jon Heisler, MP ’12, brought his younger sister Gretchen to Saturday’s Open Studio.  They glazed bowls together at the studio tables.  Heisler noted, “The open studios are a great way to get more people involved with the program. The community effort for Empty Bowls makes it very special.”

Malvern Prep’s fifth annual Empty Bowls will take place on Martin Luther King Day – January 21, 2013.  Guests will choose from hundreds of ceramic bowls created by the school community, and enjoy a simple meal of donated soup and bread.  The full proceeds from the Empty Bowls event are donated to Bethesda Project, an organization working to help homeless citizens of Philadelphia.

“As a Malvern alumni who graduated 3 years ago, I was very excited to get back on the wheel for an awesome cause,” commented Bill Doughty, MP’10.  “They said it would be just like riding a bike. I forgot how much I like riding bikes.”

Tickets for Malvern’s Empty Bowls are available now, and advance sales are encouraged.  For ticket sales, a schedule of future Open Studios, and to see photos of studio preparations, visit our website

Other amazing quotes that I will use when my imaginary editor gives me a feature piece:

Memories – memories of entry level ceramics class, interactions with my teacher and peers, times shared with close friends – all resurfaced thanks to Malvern’s Open Studio. It’s not just a time to throw or glaze a bowl, Open Studio was, for me, a time to renew a connection with my school and a passion for ceramics while serving those in need alongside friends and family. Pretty unique experience.  

-Ian McLarney ’12

The sense of community and centeredness at the open studio on Saturday afternoon is something rare and truly special. It reminds me that the people and community around me that I love and who love me are, in the end, all that really matters.

Bethany Rusen, Guest Artist

This Thanksgiving open studio was an inspiring experience. Having been part of Empty Bowls before and seeing what it has grown into at Malvern is amazing. Seeing the community come together to spend time with friends, family, and strangers to create bowls which will help feed less fortunate people is a beautiful thing.

Shannon Henry, Guest Artist