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The art of the bowl

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Designer soup or designer bowl? Habitat for Humanity’s 18th annual Souper Bowl on Saturday at Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church offers an opportunity to enjoy both and help build houses too.

When Lori Leary and Linda Ketron began the fundraiser in 1998, painting parties were held to decorate the bowls with rainbows or polka dots. A bowl painted by a professional artist has become a prize that lasts far beyond the gallons of soup and bread donated by 40 restaurants.

“The art is getting more complex,” said John Morris, who is co-chairing the Souper Bowl with his wife, Kathy, for the fifth year. “Every year we are increasing the quality of artwork. We began with paint-a-thons and have moved to artists and painters’ guilds and gotten much more of an art flair. The bowls are very popular.”

Not all the designer bowls go out when the Souper Bowl begins at 5:30 p.m. Organizers space them out so everybody gets a chance to select one. Sets of painted bowls and plates go in gift baskets for the silent auction.

Mary and Bob Rodamer of Heritage Plantation painted 60 bowls and three sets of plates. She has been painting on china for more than 40 years and teaches classes. Her bowls include figures of birds and beach scenes along with some for children, like Peter Rabbit. Her husband uses tape to create geometric designs and paints that way. He also paints the outsides of Mary’s bowls so she can be more productive.

Bob was a commercial building contractor in Ohio and built 50 houses for Habitat of Georgetown County before COPD began to limit his activity.

April Bensch of Litchfield got involved with Habitat for Humanity when her painting of the Pawleys Island Pavilion was selected for the annual reunion’s T-shirt and poster a few years ago. As a member of the Seacoast Art Guild, she got a memo about painting for the Souper Bowl and joined in. “It sounded like great fun,” she said. “They don’t give you any direction. How much fun is that, if you are an artist? I hope somebody gets a bowl they enjoy.”

April and her husband, David, are parents of three daughters who painted some abstract designs on bowls for this year’s fundraiser.

April’s bowls have proven so popular she got requests for sets that will go into gift baskets for the silent auction. She’s been an artist for 20 years but says she’s still evolving as a bowl painter. She painted the Pawleys Island Chapel on a bowl this year. Also among her favorites is a mermaid that began when she spilled some orange paint in the center of a bowl. “A happy mistake,” she said.

While April has painted bowls for a few years, this will be the first time she’s actually attended the Souper Bowl. “I have been doing the work and letting somebody else do the enjoying but this time I’m going to enjoy it too.”

Tickets to the Georgetown County Habitat for Humanity Souper Bowl are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased at Applewood House of Pancakes, Greenskeeper Florist, the Chocolate and Coffee House, Palmetto Ace Home Center and the Habitat office in Georgetown, or by calling 843-546-5685.

What’s in the bowl?

700 Modern Grill and Bar: Loaded baked potato

Alfresco Georgetown Bistro: Minestrone

Applewood House of Pancakes: Seafood clam chowder

Atlantic House: Tomato basil conch chowder

Austin’s Ocean One: Black eyed pea soup with smoked ham, greens and cornbread croutons

Bagel Café and Bakery: Chicken and sausage minestrone

Beef O’Bradys: Split pea

Big Tuna Raw Bar: She crab

BisQit: Sweet potato bisque with candied pecans

Bistro 217: Tomato, crab and jalapeño

Blue Elephant: Shrimp soup

Buzz’s Roost: Sausage beer cheddar

Capt. Daves Dockside: Salmon Newburg

Capt. John’s Seafood Grill: Seafood gumbo with shrimp and scallops

Carefree Catering: White bean and ham

Carolina Gumbaya: Seafood gumbo

Chocolate and Coffee House: Chocolate chili

Father Pat’s Lunch Kitchen: Hamburger soup

Front Street Deli: Cream of tomato basil

Graham’s Landing: Lowcountry gumbo

Habañeros: Chicken soup

Hanser House: Manhattan clam chowder

Hopsewee Plantation: Gin-Gin’s chicken, wild rice and mushroom

Hot Fish Club: Miso soup

Inlet Affairs: Three bean with ham

Island Bar and Grill: Roasted chicken and peppers

Landolfi’s: Cream of portabello

Litchfield Beach Fish House: Lowcountry clam chowder

Moe’s Original Bar B Que: Smoked chicken tortilla

Murrells Inlet Seafood: Tomato crab basil

Pastaria 811: Pasta fagioli with homemade sausage

Pawleys Island Bakery: Potato leek with roasted garlic

Pawleys Island Tavern: New England clam chowder

Pawleys Plantation: Mama’s vegetable soup

Pawleys Prime (Nosh): Ginger carrot

Quigley’s Pint and Plate: Southern brewers chili

River Room: Black bean

Salt Water Creek Café: Chicken enchilada

The Fresh Market: Italian wedding soup

Thomas Café: Shrimp and sausage gumbo

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