Bowl-Painting Pleases at Pickled Palette

Ceramic Painting for Empty Bowl Fundraiser
Pickled Palette, 4014 Morningside Avenue, Sioux City
January 16, 2020

For weeks now my youngest son has been on the warpath.  When he’s not raising arms against his brother, he’s laying waste to any art-project fodder he can find: paper, photographs, cardboard, chap stick (yes, chap stick), and—worst and most dangerous of all—his mother’s hallowed scrapbooking supplies.  So instead of turning the playroom (really the whole house) into another artistic battlefield, I thought maybe we’d outsource for an hour or so.  So we went to Pickled Palette

We’d gotten into the habit of going to Pickled Palette for at least some Christmas ornaments the last few years.  But this year, because of all the homemade art projects at our ready, we didn’t make it.  Then I saw a clip on the Pickled Palette Facebook page about its partnership with Food Bank of Siouxland’s Empty Bowls fundraiser, and I figured it was time to go back. 

Empty Bowls is the “signature fundraiser event for the Food Bank of Siouxland.”  To raise awareness of hunger, each guest at the dinner goes home with a locally made bowl, provided by Pickled Palette.  For $5, you can come into the studio and jazz up a bowl that someone will eventually take home with them.  I thought this was the perfect opportunity for us.  Zachary and I could log some quality art time, with paint (which I avoid at nearly all costs at home), and we could leave the finished product to a worthy cause. 

We visited the studio shortly after it opened (11:00) on Thursday.  It was a little quiet, but that’s probably normal for that time of day, and it was perfect for us.  We told Jesi (or Jessi?) we were looking to paint a couple of bowls and she brought out the glaze samples for us to choose from.  Because the bowls can be heavy for a little guy like Zachary—all of four years old—she brought out a Lazy Susan to help him get where he needed to get to and minimize the mess.  That was a game-changer. 

Zachary and I each chose (really, Zachary chose) one of the “sparkly” glazes for the outside of our bowls and a solid color for inside.  It was a lot of fun and Zachary totally got in the zone.  Jesi gave us space, and we passed the better part of an hour just rocking our bowls.  I flagged her down once so she could remind us how many coats each glaze needed. 

At home, Zachary is always singing and performing.  He’s never quiet.  But in public it’s a different story.  He asked me what happened to the bowl when we were done with them, and I told him he’d have to ask Jesi.  Eventually he did, and she was very kind and down-to-earth in explaining the concept of the kiln.  She told us fitting all of the pieces in could be like doing a puzzle, which he thought was cool—and hilarious.  A puzzle that goes in the oven??? 

We’re both better painters than we are smilers.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a morning.  I’d be going back today with my kindergartener who is off for staff development, but the weather is keeping us all home.  When I do bring them back, it may be to paint some canvas.  They might find it easier to make figures and tell a story that way.  We already have a couple of Pickled Palette ceramics at home, but with as much running around and super-heroing as they do, having more breakables on display make me more nervous.  Maybe when they’re teenagers—if they ever calm down.

As for me, I’d like to give one of the group parties a try.  Or maybe work up a ceramic piece for myself.  When we were paying, I noticed the shelves of items the studio has for sale and saw some big platters that would come in handy for the entertaining we do at home.  We have Christmas serving trays a-plenty, but maybe something summery for bringing burgers and brats in off the grill.  

The takeaway?  If you haven’t yet, give Pickled Palette a try.  It’s a great way to occupy your kids and maybe venture into some of the art projects you wouldn’t ordinarily tackle at home.  If you’re an adult, stop in and work up a canvas or ceramic piece.  Or keep your eyes peeled for their workshop offerings.  I’ve been lazier than a Susan in making the trip down to Morningside, but now that I’ve gotten that reminder, we’ll be heading back more often. 

Brendan Todt is a stay-at-home father and art detritus cleaner-upper. He mows his neighbor’s yard (and shovels her snow) in exchange for piano lessons. So far this year he has read 2 of Shakespeare’s 37 (or 38?) plays.