“What just happened?” is what I asked myself when I was recruited to be an Empty Bowls chair.

This year I did not plan on becoming an Empty Bowls chair. However, even though there are a lot of challenges, it has been a great experience.

Before this year I was not as involved with Empty Bowls and did not know the full extent of planning that went into the event. I had heard stories and speeches, but was never in the action. This year was the year when everything changed.

Student chairs John McGlinn and John Connors at work


The first chairs’ meeting was an awakening to what went on behind the scenes. We needed to make so many bowls. The studio was open on Saturdays, sometimes only to people with knowledge of how to make bowls and other times it was open to everyone. All the chairs were very busy during the fall, so it was hard for anyone to find time to come in and make. I, for one, had work at the exact same time the open studios took place. This made it hard for me to make contributions to the event. I had to find time during school in open periods, or take off from work to make bowls.

The next few meetings were very stressful. We needed to increase production to have enough bowls for the event, and because everyone was so busy that was a difficult task.

Once more of the student chairs started to show up to the open studios, things started to look more promising. Our bowl count increased. At the meetings we were talking of more plans for the event itself – how we are going to get the soup, volunteers, and the charity where we are donating our proceeds. The entire mood of the group changed. Everyone started to feel optimistic about the event, even after a rough start.

Preparing for this event was a new experience for me and I learned how hard the chairs of this event work to make Empty Bowls happen every year. Trying something new is not my strength, but new experiences can teach you a lot and make an impact on your life for the better.

New experiences can reveal hidden talents or new interests. At a recent Open Studio, a student who had never thrown before asked me for some help. After helping him I could see he was very excited to make more bowls and participate in future sessions.

Sometimes you do something you never knew you could do, or help someone you never knew you could help, and it changes everything.

John Connors ’18