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Local potters donate proceeds to food bank

Garrity and Rothwell

Two Charlottesville-based potters are donating a portion of their proceeds to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Nan Rothwell and Becky Garrity are two artisans who make, among other things, bowls, and now they're helping to put food in the bowls of others. From now until November 14th -- typically their busiest time of year, as people buy holiday gifts -- they're donating 20% of their sales to the food bank. Rothwell explains.

Credit Nan Rothwell
Samples of Rothwell's work.

NAN ROTHWELL: It's such a need in our community, and it's so ridiculous that people are going to bed hungry … It feels good to be able to have part of what I sell go to something I believe in. 

They both make pieces that are meant to be well-used and well-loved: plates, bowls, mugs, and teapots in iridescent and earthy tones. Rothwell learned how to make pots in England --

ROTHWELL: … and people who know pottery can still see that influence in my pots even 50 years later … It's kind of a long, shaggy dog story, but I was traveling, and I went to someone's house for dinner, and she was a potter, and I ended up staying for six months and then going to art school for two years!

Garrity did an apprenticeship in Japan for two years. 

GARRITY: That was really wonderful, and it's, I think, driven my sensibility and form.

Credit Becky Garrity
Some of Garrity's work.

She used to organize in-person dinner fundraisers called Empty Bowl events before the pandemic hit. She and Rothwell enjoy making food-related objects --

GARRITY: … and we want other people to have food and enjoy eating, also, and be able to eat and be fed. So we're hoping this is an incentive for those who have enough to share with others who have less than enough.

You can find out more about their work at garritypottery.com and nanrothwellpottery.com.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.