Sacramento woman shapes her own form of philanthropy to help charities
[Apr. 14, 2021: Edie Lambert]
A Sacramento marketing executive has turned an art project started during the pandemic into a way to raise thousands of dollars for charities. She shaped this new form of philanthropy using her own hands and a lot of clay.
Tina Reynolds started this project about a year ago when she and her wife were given a small kiln from a relative. As they realized they were saving a lot of money under the travel and dining restrictions caused by COVID-19 guidelines, they converted their garage into an art studio. Reynolds learned how to make bowls by watching YouTube videos. She laughs that it wasn't always pretty, but it was always creative.
"I don't know anything about it. I've exploded so many little things in the kiln because we're learning by trial and error. I've made some truly ugly things but it's all fun; it's all part of the process," Reynolds explained, "It's just like pure joy. It's like Heaven. I like every phase of it."
Reynolds began sharing the bowls that turned out well, leaving them on her porch and asking for a donation for charity. With neighbors stopping by and friends spreading the word on Facebook, so many people have picked up bowls and left donations. She's now raised thousands of dollars. The "Bowling With Tina" project is currently donating $5,000 to the children's receiving home and another $900 for the Safe Ground program, which helps the homeless.
She also raises spirits with her cheerful designs and messages. A bowl with a bird design has the words "shine," "wake up" and "enjoy the day" written on the bottom. Many other bowls are decorated with hearts and say "love is love" or "act with kindness." All have Reynolds' personal stamp on the bottom, a reminder it was handmade. Each of the bowls takes about three to four weeks to create because of the time it takes for the clay to dry, and the multistep process of firing and painting each piece.
"It really is a way to find joy in an environment that stifles joy because usually, your joy is out there with other people," Reynolds explained. "This is my COVID story."
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Reynolds has also remained busy with her day job as founder and president of the marketing firm Uptown Studios. She says about 70% of her clients are nonprofits so she knows firsthand how hard it's been for them to raise money during the pandemic.
Even after the pandemic, she plans to continue her creative fundraising effort. She has already ordered a larger kiln so that she can produce bigger ceramics.
"They have a piece of my original artwork. How fun is that?" said Reynolds, when asked about the success of her Bowling with Tina project. "And they're not just buying a bowl, they're helping one of our nonprofits, which is magical."