Volunteers from Ben’s Bells Newtown visited Hawley Elementary School for a Friday, October 18, evening event to create the ceramic and bell creations that are randomly distributed works of art.
Hawley School students and family members gathered in the school’s gymnasium for the event, and according to Hawley Principal Jo-Ann Peters, roughly 150 people signed up to participate.
Hawley parent and Ben’s Bells Newtown volunteer Jodie Adolfson spoke to the gathered group about the history of Ben’s Bells and its mission.
“We are here to celebrate kindness,” Ms Adolfson began.
Nationally renowned, Ben’s Bells are brightly colored ceramic works of art that are randomly hung in public places that bear a tag instructing the person who finds the bell to take it home and to remember to be kind. Ben’s Bells arrived in Newtown in January, when Founder Jeannette Maté traveled from her home (and studio) in Tucson, Ariz., and coordinated the placement of more than 1,000 Ben’s Bells in town just weeks after 12/14. Ben’s Bells consist of four or five handmade ceramic pieces in a variety of simple designs — flowers, balls, discs — that are strung in a line ending with a small copper cow bell.
In July the Ben’s Bells Newtown studio opened to offer space in the community to participate in making Ben’s Bells, which are distributed nationally.
Ms Adolfson said during the Hawley event that Ben’s Bells spreads kindness.
“Kindness is intentional,” she said. “It is something we have to really think about.”
Ms Adolfson also said that Hawley students will be given “kindness coins,” to help spread the lesson of kindness throughout the school.
It takes ten people, according to Ms Adolfson, to make one Ben’s Bell.
The gymnasium was divided into different groups to make Friday’s event run smoothly, and Hawley teachers also helped oversee the event alongside Ben’s Bells volunteers.
Ms Adolfson said Ben’s Bells relies solely on donations, and explained people cannot buy a Ben’s Bell or be given one. Instead people find a Ben’s Bell when it is time, she said.
Ben’s Bells Newtown studio, 17 Church Hill Road (use rear entrance), is regularly open on Wednesdays from 10 am until 3 pm and from 6 pm until 9 pm. It is also regularly open on Saturdays from noon to 4 pm. A $5 donation is requested, and all ages are welcome to create and/or paint clay beads, flowers, and other pieces.