Over 150 Handmade, Ceramic Bowls and Mugs are Ready for the VisArts Chili Throwdown, Thanks to Resident-artist, Kourtenay Plummer

September 23, 2021 Features

The Visual Arts Center of Richmond will host its eighth annual  VisArts Chili Throwdown on Friday, October 1. Adult admission to the event includes a handmade ceramic bowl—made and donated by local clay artists—a drink ticket and a bowl of delicious chili chosen from over 20 local restaurants.  

Kourtenay Plummer pictured making clay bowls for VisArts Chili Throwdown

In the months leading up to this popular VisArts fundraiser event, Chili Throwdown Clay Art Resident Artist, Kourtenay Plummer, has been busy coordinating the throwing, glazing and firing of over 150 ceramic bowls and mugs made especially for the 8th annual Chili Throwdown.  

Plummer was tasked with making 150 bowls in the VisArts clay studios, which she admits was an ambitious goal for her, “I’m not a production potter, I’m used to making one of a kind pieces. I was asked to make 150 bowls. Initially, 10 bowls sounded like a lot to make. I quickly got over that and set out to make 160 bowls.”  

In the true spirit of community that forms the foundation of VisArts, she didn’t have to go at it alone. Plummer and VisArts Clay Studio Manager Jeff Vick facilitated two “Throw-a-Thons,” one in August and the other in September, where a mix of local clay artists, VisArts teachers, students, staff and studio monitors gathered in VisArts’ largest clay studio and threw an impressive array of bowls and mugs in all shapes and sizes. 

During Throw-a-thon sessions, Plummer 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 dozens of pieces, ready for the Chili Throwdown on October 1st 

“Throwing with the other artists during the throw-a-thon was a wonderful experience. It was great chatting and making art with everyone. We were able to share our stories and our history with clay,” shared Plummer, “I think from the two throw-a-thons we hosted, we were able to collect almost 200 bowls. I’d say that’s pretty successful!” 

 Plummer graduated from the College of William and Mary with a BA in Studio Art and a concentration in ceramics. She was a VisArts Pop Up Resident and Studio Access Resident before she signed on to help with the VisArts Chili Throwdown. In her personal ceramics practice, she creates both sculptural and functional pieces but for the Chili Throwdown.  She says she is aiming for something fun and whimsical with the bowls. “I have never been to the Chili Throwdown but I hear it’s a very exciting event. I want my bowls to contribute to the fun!” 

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. Sign up to become a VisArts member and enjoy early, member’s only access to the event from 5 to 6 p.m.  Kids under age 12 eat for $5 and kids under age 3 eat free.