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Ceramic artists urgently needed to help fight hunger near Washington, D.C.

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About 20 miles west of Washington, D.C., steady hands and delicate fingers, sensitive to detail, craft pottery for a crucial cause. “I think it’s a fun project. It was an easy yes,” says 28-year-old Andrew Cummins, a native Californian who recently relocated to the northern region of Virginia. “I’m trying to make things that reference the past but are modern looking and have elegance.”

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Cummins and another artist at Jimmy Potters Studio are on deadline to make and donate 80 soup-serving sized ceramics for the annual Empty Bowls fundraising dinner in Fairfax City, VA. The event supports Our Daily Bread (ODB), a local nonprofit organization that expects to assist 1,000 hungry families this year. “It’s just a really nice community event,” says Lisa Whetzel, executive director at Our Daily Bread. “It brings together art and artists who are doing a good cause.” The ceramic bowls, which will cost $30, go on sale the evening of February 27. Proceeds help fund ODB’s emergency food program, which gives gift cards to families in need.

As Cummins and his coworkers at Jimmy Potters Studio work to meet Our Daily Bread's deadline, ODB is urgently asking the local art community to create and donate additional bowls for the event. “They would need to drop them off by mid-February,” says Whetzel. According to ODB, the trend of selling ceramic art for charity has become so popular that local artists struggle to keep up with demand. “People love to buy the art,” says Whetzel. “We have a hard time finding artists who will make ceramic bowls because we have a little competition with other nonprofits.”

Our Daily Bread, which hopes to sell 400 bowls on the night of the fundraiser, says local artists have been able to pledge just 250. If ceramic artists are interested in submitting pottery for the event, ODB is directing them to its website at www.odbfairfax.org.

In the meantime, Andrew Cummins remains busy producing ceramic bowls for the fundraiser. He says it’s a passionate undertaking that helps serve struggling families in Fairfax County, while showcasing unique pottery in Washington's eclectic art scene. “I’m pushing to do different styles. We’re trying to push a little variety,” says Cummins. “I really enjoy the history of ceramics and the broad scope of what can be produced.”

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