San Juan College Charity Bowl Sale will benefit Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity

Traditional $10 price tag remains in place for ceramic bowl, cup of soup

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • The sale takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 and Friday, Nov. 19 in the 900 meeting rooms of the Henderson Fine Arts Center.
  • The sale also will include other items created by the college's art students, including more pottery, scarves, beadwork, Christmas ornaments and more.
  • The sale is returning this year after being cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

FARMINGTON — There aren't many items you can name that haven't increased in price over the last 19 years. But the pieces featured in the annual Charity Bowl Sale at San Juan College are among them.

Don Ellis, the professor of fine arts at the college who oversees the sale, said the event will stick to its traditional $10 price for a one-of-a-kind, ceramic bowl and a fill-up of soup from Mary's Kitchen, the campus restaurant.

"Everybody's seen everything go up, up, up," he said of the direction of prices this year. "We wanted to give people something that was not more than it had been."

The sale is returning this year after being cancelled last year because of the pandemic. That marked the first time in more than two decades that Ellis had not spent much of his fall overseeing the feverish production of bowls by his ceramics students at the college in preparation for the sale.

Ceramics student Kellie Bowers throws a bowl for the annual Charity Bowl Sale at San Juan College in 2019. The event returns this year after a one-year hiatus.

Ellis said the goal each year is to produce between 1,000 and 1,300 bowls from which customers can choose. He said he and his students had fallen off the pace a bit in late October, but during one recent two-day period, they churned out more than 500 bowls to get back on track.

Even though the event is returning this year, Ellis said the pandemic continues to impact the sale. He said enrollment in his ceramics classes has been limited to 50% of its normal size to allow for social distancing between students, so that has meant fewer students to produce bowls.

Ceramics student Matt Bahe adds some detail to one of his creations for the 2019 Charity Bowl Sale at San Juan College.

But most of his students are advanced ceramicists, he said, and that has allowed them to take up the slack. Ellis anticipates demand will be high this year after last year's cancellation.

"We hope so," he said. "We've had people calling making sure we're doing it this year."

The sale benefits a different local charity each year, and this year's recipient is Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity. The nonprofit organization that provides low-cost housing for needy families is planning on building its 13th home in San Juan County in 2022.

"We are thrilled to have been chosen and very excited to be involved with such a one-of-a-kind event," Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity spokeswoman Hope Tyler said. "The concept of families and students and education and community involvement fits very closely with our mission."

The sale usually nets approximately $10,000 for the charity recipient each year, Ellis said.

There will be a few changes to this year's event to accommodate COVID-19 protocols. Ellis said the soup will be served in Mary's Kitchen, around the corner from the sale site. That change will allow for greater spacing between tables at the sale, he said, and reduce congestion among shoppers.

And anyone who is not comfortable being in a crowd but still wants to support the event can call Ellis at 505-566-3486 and arrange to have bowls selected for them and brought to the entrance of the Henderson Fine Arts Center Art Gallery.

The sale also will include other items created by the college's art students, including more pottery, scarves, beadwork, Christmas ornaments and more.

Bowls created by San Juan College ceramics students await glazing and firing before the 2019 Charity Bowl Sale. This year's event takes place Nov. 18-19.

The sale takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 and Friday, Nov. 19 in the 900 meeting rooms of the Henderson Fine Arts Center on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.