Over 500 Handmade, Ceramic Bowls and Mugs are Ready for the VisArts Chili Throwdown, Thanks to Local Potter, Jess Hardin

October 01, 2019 Features

The Visual Arts Center of Richmond will host its sixth annual VisArts Chili Throwdown on Friday, October 4. Adult admission to the event includes chili from over 25 local restaurants and a handmade ceramic bowl—made in VisArts’ clay studios.

In the months leading up to this fall fundraiser, Chili Throwdown Resident Artist, Jess Hardin, has been busy coordinating the throwing, glazing and firing of over 500 ceramic bowls and mugs for the event.

Hardin and VisArts Clay Studio Manager Jeff Vick facilitated two “Throw-a-Thons” in August, which yielded between 300 and 400 bowls. A mix of VisArts students, staff and studio monitors gathered in the center’s largest clay studio and threw an impressive array of bowls and mugs in all shapes and sizes.

“We provided the clay, the wheels and the tools that were needed,” Hardin said. “Our clay community really came together. We had music playing, everyone threw as many bowls as they could and one person actually threw over 80 bowls!”

During September, Hardin and a group of VisArts clay studio monitors put in long hours in VisArts’ clay studios to prepare for the event. They added the finishing touches by trimming, firing and glazing hundreds of pieces.

Hardin, who graduated from Kent State with a degree in ceramics, was a VisArts student for three years and a clay studio monitor for two years before she signed on to help with the VisArts Chili Throwdown. In her personal ceramics practice, she creates functional pieces.

“I like the idea that there’s love in something that someone else is going to use, whether it’s a bowl or mug, you can feel that it’s handmade,” she said.

It’s not too late to buy tickets to the VisArts Chili Throwdown! Admission is $25 for VisArts members and $30 for the general public. Kids under age 12 eat for $5 and kids under age 3 eat free.