April 14, 2010

Potters aid sustainability:
Flaws for a Cause

A sale of Maine Potters Market seconds will benefit Cultivating Community.

By Emma Bouthillette ebouthillette@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – The artists at Maine Potters Market have been inspired by a piece of folklore about a man carrying water in one perfect pot and a pot with a crack.

click image to enlarge

Beatrice Gilbert of North Yarmouth works on pots in her studio. She is one of 15 potters who sell wares at Maine Potters Market in Portland's Old Port.

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Cathy Schroeder Hammond of Lyman, a potter at the Maine Potters Market in Portland's Old Port, stands in front of her work displayed at the store.

Courtesy photo


THE FLAWS FOR A CAUSE sale starts Sunday and runs through May 5 at the Maine Potters Market, 376 Fore St. in Portland’s Old Port.

THE STORE is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The majority of potters in the cooperative are bringing their imperfect pieces to the sales, with each piece priced by the potter and the imperfections clearly indicated. For more information, call 774-1633.

COMING UP is Cultivating Community’s “Potatoes, Pancakes and Play Day” from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 2, at Turkey Hill Farm, 120 Old Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth. Join the organization for a locally produced pancake breakfast from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and help plant potatoes to kick off the  2010 growing season. For more information, visit www.cultivatingcommunity.org.

With many versions, the tale goes something like this -- ashamed of its imperfections, the cracked pot apologized to the man for causing him to work twice as hard to deliver the same amount of water the perfect pot did. The man had always been aware of the pot's crack however, planting seeds along his route. As water leaked out of the pot, the seeds were watered and grew into beautiful flowers, which would later grace the man's home.

Maine Potters Market, a cooperative business with 15 potters selling their wares, prides itself on selling only first-quality pottery, from mugs to pots or bowls, member Susan Horowitz said. That leaves all the items that were damaged during a kiln firing or marred because of a glaze mishap unclaimed.

Thus, Flaws for a Cause was born.

The "flaws" part includes a sale of slightly imperfect, yet still completely functional, pottery that begins Sunday and runs through May 5. The "cause" part is a donation of 50 percent of all sales to Cultivating Community, Horowitz said.

The nonprofit organization based in Portland is now in its 10th growing season, executive director Craig Lapine said. Cultivating Community has based its work on three principles -- providing food security as an anti-hunger organization, empowering the youth community through service and education and promoting environmental friendliness and sustainable living.

"The mechanism for moving all three of those is sustainable agriculture," Lapine said. "What we produce goes to feed people who may not have access. We also train farmers through our immigrant training program, helping them to be on a path of self-sufficiency and through youth collaborative programs, teaching about leadership and stewardship."

"They seemed to be the perfect organization to partner with us," Horowitz said. "As potters who make functional pottery, it closely aligned to the local food movement, the idea of buying locally grown food and consciousness of what food you're eating aligned with local made pottery."

The money Cultivating Community receives from the Flaws for a Cause sale will benefit the community food security work the organization does.

"It's really going toward the anti-hunger piece," Lapine said. "Part of that is rooted in the idea that good food is a right and not a privilege."

With obesity and diabetes on the rise, Lapine said some people question how these epidemics can occur even in hungry communities.

"It's not just to make any food available. It's the food we think is best for people and the planet. Locally grown, sustainable produced food," he said.

"It's a win, win, win for everyone," Horowitz said, explaining the potters find a home for their imperfect pieces, it's an opportunity to support a locally owned business run by local artists and an opportunity to raise money for a good cause.


Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: ebouthillette@pressherald.com


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