Sunday, June 28, 2009


Mark and I are asked many times, sometimes weekly, sometimes daily to donate pottery to fundraisers.
One year I kept track of all the pots we donated and how much it cost us to do so.
The women who does my taxes asked me if I could really afford to give away so many pots.
Not really I thought.....
Mark and I decided we needed a plan for donations.
We would donate to our local community; hospice, local arts, the North Carolina Pottery Center, and then other exceptions would be made.
Last year with the fire we figured donations were out for the year.
We would not have enough work to feel generous enough to give any away.
Then one day Beth Gore from Cady Clayworks emailed me and said I would like to talk with you, let's have lunch.
It took weeks for me to find a day, with the wedding and all we had going on just getting our lives back to a sense of normal.
When we sat down to order she slide this book across the table and asked if I had read it.
Beth is a great reader and always has a good book going.
I had hear of it and had seen Greg Mortenson speak on TV about his life.
Then she presented her idea to me:
Here it is in letter form-

For the past 6 years of the Iraq war, I have been complaining that instead of bombing the Middle East and creating future generations of America-haters, we should be building schools and hospitals so people would learn to love Americans. Remember the hymn, “…they will know we are Christians by our love…”? People have told me I am naive and that’s not how the world works. Well, I just read the book “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and lo and behold, here is a man doing just what I have been only talking about!

After a failed attempt to climb K2 (the world’s second-tallest mountain), he got lost and wandered into a remote mountain village in Pakistan. The impoverished local people shared what little they had and nursed him back to health. He returned to the US, sold most of his belongings, slept in his car and tried to raise money to build the village a school. Many years, trials and dangerous travels later, with no religious or government affiliation, he has built dozens of schools through his non-profit organization, CAI (Central Asia Institute). Without these schools, the only other option to millions of impoverished children is to attend radical fundamentalist institutions that breed terrorists.

The book made me ponder what I could do to help, and at the same time I happened to mention it to my customers in my spring e-newsletter. I got responses and links from potters around the country who are doing “teacup” fundraisers for this organization. Isn’t this just the time to think “outside the box” of our own economic woes and focus on others less fortunate?

We all get numerous donation requests, I know, but wouldn’t the title above be a wonderful gesture to the world? There are over 100 local potters – what if we each donated the sale of 10 cups (or drinking vessels of any kind)? A simple act from each of us could create such a powerful result! 100 potters x 10 pots/potter x $15 avg price/item = $15,000!!!! It costs CAI $1 per month for one child’s education. (They pay teacher salaries and upkeep on the schools they build) We would be sending over 1200 children to school for a year!! And, if you are “sitting on the fence” about this idea, how about the wonderful PR the project would generate? I think we could get a lot of media coverage of some GOOD news for a change!
Sample plan:
- each potter makes 10 teacups or drinking vessels to be sold at their regular price, and that amount donated to a bank account for CAI. Items could be sold at individual potteries or a central location, or both.
- I will, at my own expense, produce a small poster to display in each shop with the items for sale, and also a small insert to go with each sold item.
- I will contact area news sources and try to get as many articles published as possible, listing all participating potters.


Are you interested in participating in this fundraiser? (I have submitted it to CAI and received their enthusiastic approval.)

Name(s) of participating potters from this pottery:

How many total items are you willing to donate?

Sale price/item?

Do you think the items should be inscribed on the bottom?
If so, "Seagrove Potters for Peace"?
"3 Cups of Tea"?

Do you want to sell these in your own shop or at a central location?

Would you be willing to buy a copy/copies of the book to have on display or for sale in your shop? They cost $8.55 net on Amazon for 3 or more new paperbacks. Cover price is $15. (Link from so they get credit for the sale, or I will order them. He has also written a wonderful children’s version, “Listen to the Wind”.)

If you sell other potters’ work in your shop, would you ask them to participate?

Would you be interested in helping to plan this project? (Trying to keep it VERY simple!)

No matter what you think of this idea, PLEASE READ “THREE CUPS OF TEA”!!** It is obvious that we, as Americans, are woefully uninformed about the people, beliefs and way of life in these areas of military conflict.

Many people expect Greg Mortenson to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He will be the August 2009 Convocation speaker at NC State University.

For more information or different ways to help:

Thank you for taking the time to read through this!
Beth Gore
Cady Clay Works

** “Three cups of tea” comes from a local custom. The first time you share tea you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family.

The potters who are participating are:
Ben Owen Pottery
Cady Clay Works
Caldwell-Hohl Artworks
Dean & Martin Pottery
Dover Pottery
From the Ground Up
Old Gap Pottery
Thomas Pottery
Tom Gray
Westmoore Pottery
Whynot Pottery

Mark and I are donating 20 drinking vessels each.
He has made small ,hold in the hand, cups for tea, juice or wine.
I have made 20 drinking vessels, larger, for ice tea, juice or wine.
We thought this was a cause not to be pass up.
If anyone else is interested get in touch with Beth.


Annapants! said...

It's funny you should mention tea...

While I was at Barnes and Noble on Thursday I ran across a book that was about the history of tea. It showed several drinking 'bowls' that are used in place of cups in Iran, Indian and China.

While I was looking at one of the collections it really dawned on me how much some of the bowls you have in the house look like these drinking bowls.

I contemplated teapots and drinking bowls for a good part of that evening! LOL

Linda Starr said...

Isn't it just like you to be so generous, Meredith, what a wonderful gesture and then to organize all the potters in your area too. Will you post a photo of the poster you develop for us to see?

Shortstuff said...

Wow. What a wonderful thing. Consider me in. I'll contact Beth. Won't be MAKING any pots, of course, but I can buy a few for the cause. Hugs, Les

cookingwithgas said...

HI Linda, I am just amking pots for the event- Beth Gore from Cady Clay is doing all the hard work.
But I will post the poster when she has it made.
Anna you and the ESP thing! We just fired the cups in the first firing yesterday- so they are on my mind. Boom- they are going through the air waves to you! The women in this family!
Thanks Leslie- should be a great fundraiser, but get your name in because I have been told there are already request to know the first day of sales.

Patricia Griffin said...

Hi - This hit me square in the face this morning and I went to the site, ordered the book and look forward to learning more. Who knows?... Maybe Linda Starr and I will get something going on the west coast!

cookingwithgas said...

Hi Patricia- you and Linda would be perfect to get this going out there.
If you need info I am sure Beth would be happy to help you with that.

Rod said...

I just finished this book a couple of weeks ago. I was blown away. I think it has had the single biggest impact on my thinking of any book recently.

Can I contribute? I'm not from Seagrove, but maybe I can start something here in Norfolk.

cookingwithgas said...

Hi Rod,
I think it would be great if you either started the same thing there or donated to the fundraiser here.

I am not heading this one up but I would be happy to put you in touch with Beth,
Or, better yet her email in on the letter in my post.
I know she goes to see families in July- so don’t be surprised if it takes a bit for her to write you back.
Or if you just want to donate we are going to be kicking this off the first of August.
I would be happy to sell yours here.
Just sign them Potters for peace or whatever you would like.

Ours are signed Seagrove Potters for Peace with the peace sign on them.
We also used our Whynot pottery stamps and I put MH on mine.

Anyone else interested in donating let me know and email me about shipping them here- or better yet get your area potters going!

Barbara said...

1000 Cups of Tea! That's creating a lot of family.

How wonderful Meredith. I have read the book a couple of times and donated to CAI with book groups. If Patricia and Linda organize in the west, I'm in.

Abela Bodycare said...

I love this idea! I read the book last year. I've been pondering making a soap with green tea in it, & wondering if this could fit in to the benefit? What time frame are they needing everything ready?

Lauren Fureymoore said...

I'm not a potter, I'm an art quilter but it would be so very cool to organize an art quilt donation of small "cups of tea' themed pieces to be sold as a fundraiser with the proceeds going to CAI. I need to find someone who can host/organize it.
I can definitely do small 8X12" ish type pieces to sell.
Hmmm...oh, and thanks to your daughter Anna for posting info about this.