One hundred bowls

Chico All Fired Up studio members team up with Work Training Center clients to make 100 clay bowls for upcoming Torres Community Shelter fundraiser

PG&E employee Dianne West took Valentine’s Day off of work to make more than 40 ceramic bowls for the Torres Community Shelter’s upcoming Empty Bowls fundraiser.

PG&E employee Dianne West took Valentine’s Day off of work to make more than 40 ceramic bowls for the Torres Community Shelter’s upcoming Empty Bowls fundraiser.

PHOTO by christine g.k. lapado-breglia

On Feb. 14, Chico All Fired Up clay studio (830 Broadway), now part of the Work Training Center, was abuzz with people making lots and lots of bowls—100, to be exact—for the Torres Community Shelter’s March 13 Empty Bowls event. Empty Bowls, for the unfamiliar, is an annual fundraiser for the shelter during which attendees choose one of hundreds of handmade bowls in which to enjoy the many soups on hand (and they get to keep the bowl!).

“The [studio] members and Work Training Center clients who now work at All Fired Up wanted to make a contribution this year to the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Torres Shelter,” wrote All Fired Up Interim Business Manager (and former owner) Janice Hofmann, a talented ceramicist who teaches classes at the clay studio, in an email. “We decided to set a goal of making 100 bowls on Valentine’s Day to show our love and support.”

One woman was particularly busy that day: “Longstanding member Dianne West [pictured] took the day off from her job with PG&E to throw more than 40 bowls using our house-made recycled clay,” Hofmann said, adding that “Dianne sells her larger bowls, platters and wonderful sculptures in the gift shop in front of Chico All Fired Up.”

She was keen to point out that even though the Work Training Center has taken over the reins of All Fired Up, all members of the public are invited to paint pottery and work with wet clay, as in the past; the facility is not reserved only for WTC clients.

Go to to learn more about Empty Bowls. Go to for more information about Chico All Fired Up.

In praise of water
Diane Suzuki-Brobeck sent me a piece of writing recently, about her 11-year-old granddaughter, Ramona, when she was 8 years old. As Suzuki-Brobeck explained, “I thought of sending this … to Fiction 59, but didn’t want to cut it.”

You Must Be Waterable

“Now, class, we’re going to learn about healthy waters and how you must be ‘waterable.’”

“What is waterable?” we ask.

She jumps off her stool and illustrates with her hands, body and spirit: “You see the water going past you and you don’t say anything. Then the water stops.

“Then you see the water go past you and you say ‘Thank you!’” She slightly bows and closes her eyes.

“Then the water keeps going and going!” she exclaims.

“That is what ‘waterable’ is,” she so eloquently coins.

“The granddaughter of [AquAlliance water-policy analyst] Jimmy Brobeck [and Diane Suzuki-Brobeck] has grown up with talk about saving our precious groundwater her whole life,” wrote Suzuki-Brobeck. “And Ramona herself is a ‘water baby,’ swimming as an infant, laying in puddles of rainwater as a toddler, and enjoying summers in Big Chico Creek.”

CCA & food security: Round 3
Cultivating Community Advocates (CCA) has announced the third and final funding cycle for its Food Security Competitive Grant Program, which involves up to $45,000 being awarded to local projects promoting food security within “access-challenged populations,” as a CCA press release put it. Previous grant recipients include Chico’s Work Training Center (to create a vegetable garden and orchard as a teaching tool for adults with developmental disabilities) and Jesus Center Community Garden, as well as the African-American Family and Cultural Center in South Oroville (to expand its community garden).

Go to to learn more about CCA’s grant program. Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on April 1. Two grant-proposal workshops will be held on Feb. 27 (tonight) and March 24; both will be held at 1161 East Ave. and will begin at 5 p.m.