Malvern Defeats Haverford in first annual Bowl-Off

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Dan McGlinn

Two Inter-Ac opponents took to something other than the sports field to compete for a good cause. On Saturday, January 11, Haverford faced off against Malvern in what will hopefully be a tradition to benefit others: a ceramics bowl-off.

The event took place in Malvern’s Duffy Center, where seven ceramics potters from Malvern and seven from Haverford sat down at the wheels for nearly three hours to throw bowls for Empty Bowls, which directs all proceeds to Bethesda Project.

In the end, the fourteen students successfully made over 160 bowls that were all donated to Malvern’s Empty Bowls that was held nine days later. “It’s not often that people can make 160 bowls for people to eat out of, and it’s all for a great cause, which is awesome,” says Nick Helber, a Haverford student potter.

The event was the idea of Ms. Plows and the seven Empty Bowls Chairs, six of whom participated in the bowl-off.

The bowl-off was originally scheduled for December 21, but rescheduled due to snow.  Ms. Kate Plows and Haverford ceramics teacher Mr. Kris Nelson helped to make the event possible.

“This is the first time we did this collaborative throwing competition,” says Mr. Nelson. “To have the two schools come together on a productive basis where competition is secondary to the purpose of hunger relief…is refreshing.”

The competition was fierce. The seven students from Malvern (Seniors Brian Tatlow, Michael Stangis, Conor Glancy, Matthew Jones, Drew Freed, Dan McGlinn, and Colin Hayes) are all experienced potters and were able to put their skills to work. Although the Haverford students put up a good fight and had some impressive techniques, such as throwing off the hump, Malvern edged out Haverford in the bowl count 90-73.

John Matthews, ceramics teacher at Conestoga High School, was the judge for the day. He offered helpful advice to both sides about techniques, forms, processes, and alterations.

“There is a relationship between the rim and the foot,” he commented to the eager fourteen students waiting on the results.

“You’re not getting enough out of your feet…let the foot express itself.”

Judged on quantity and quality, simply having more bowls was necessarily enough to put Malvern over the edge. Haverford had an impressive array of bowls, which were amazing additions to the Empty Bowls event. The biggest factor for Malvern was the different forms and altering by using different shapes and textures. “The risk-taking with form happens more [with Malvern].” In his final thoughts, Matthews noted that “the numbers-game” is what put the decision in Malvern’s favor.

“It was good to come away with a win,” said Malvern senior team captain Colin Hayes. “We had a fun time, and hopefully we can continue this in the future.”

Haverford collaborates with Agnes Irwin to host an Empty Bowls event every other year, and Malvern hosts one each year. Next year the bowl-off will be at Haverford to support their event, and we wish both teams the best of luck.