Jewish woodturner helps fight hunger in Houston

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May 20th Empty Bowls fundraiser benefits Houston food banks

Marty Kaminsky believes no one in the world should go hungry, and he’s helping in that fight one drink at a time.

For more than a decade, this Jewish woodworking artist has created unique, handcrafted bowls for one of Houston’s most beloved grassroots fundraising events.

The 17th Annual Empty Bowls Houston, supporting the Houston Food Bank, will be held on Saturday, May 20th at the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts.

The popular fundraiser, which has raised nearly $1 million to fight local hunger, is a creative way for Kaminski to contribute to a much-needed cause.

“What do people do in this world of abundance who lack the most basic needs?” Kaminsky told JHV from his home in San Leon, just south of Houston.

“Empty Bowls supports the Houston Food Bank in its efforts to feed people in need and improve lives.”

This event is open to the entire community and allows attendees to view more than 1,500 unique handcrafted bowls created and donated by Houston area potters and craft artists.

Each piece can be purchased with a $25 donation to the Houston Food Bank. Larger bowls are available at higher prices. For every $1 donated, the Houston Food Bank can provide three of his meals to hungry people.

The concept is a win-win for Kaminski, who has worked as an engineer for several major oil companies while also satisfying his artistic and creative desires.

Kaminski has an impressive portfolio of photography, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, stained glass, jewelry making, glassblowing, and woodworking.

Woodturning is a craft that uses a wood lathe with hand tools to cut symmetrical shapes around an axis of rotation.

“I look to the joy of it,” Kaminsky said. “There is nothing flashy or artsy about my motives.”

Kaminski said he draws much of his inspiration from nature. His work is often organic in its sources, from texture to subject matter. Due to his professional background, some of his work has a bit of an “engineering” side to it.

“I have worked in a variety of art forms, but more recently other crafts have been in the background,” he said. “Once I started turning, I found that was the most fun place to be.”

Kaminsky shares his love of art by teaching classes in his spare time and has been a member of the Gulf Coast Woodturners Association for 20 years.

Kaminsky became involved with Empty Bowls through Gulf Coast Woodturners.

“We donate over 230 bowls each year,” Kaminsky said. “Funds generated will be used to fight hunger in Houston and 18 other counties in Southeast Texas.”

Mr. Kaminsky has just completed two of his latest pieces that will be donated. Both are 9 inches in diameter and made of maple.

He cites Jewish values ​​as his guiding principle and is extremely proud to contribute to the fundraiser.

“I have a strong belief in supporting charities, both Jewish and secular, that do good in the world,” he said. “I’m sure my Jewish upbringing created that attitude.

“We are excited to support Empty Bowls Houston and hope this year’s event receives a lot of support.”

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For more information about the Gulf Coast Woodturning Association, visit gulfcoast.

Empty Bowls Houston will be held at the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts, 4848 Main Street, on May 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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