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Put old vinyl to good use 

An artist molds records into practical, decorative bowls

Vinyl records are a sad casualty in the march of progress. They’ve been utterly obsolete since the advent of digital music, but for many people—collectors and DJs with their hip-hop music and baggy pants—the old ways of wax music retain a vintage appeal. Caleb Englert hopes to capitalize on that.

click to enlarge BOWLS FOR THE SOUL :  Caleb Englert’s decorative bowls transform music into sculpture, and proceeds from sales help charities around the world, including the tsunami relief effort in Japan. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • BOWLS FOR THE SOUL : Caleb Englert’s decorative bowls transform music into sculpture, and proceeds from sales help charities around the world, including the tsunami relief effort in Japan.

“Styles change, but music itself is one of those things that never does,” he said. “Hardly anyone has record players anymore, but people can appreciate [records] becoming something new.”

A high school student and music lover, Englert realized that his parents kept a pile of records despite the fact that they had no player with which to listen to them. He’d seen a catalogue that sold expensive bowls made from old records and decided to try to make a few himself.

After a little experimentation and a few failures, Englert developed a secret technique he uses to make evenly shaped bowls that look almost like black flowers. He adds hardware and circular mirrors to make the bowls both aesthetically pleasing and useful.

“It’s a fun hobby, and they make cool gifts,” Englert said. “People like to put their favorite records on the wall. I’ve noticed Boston sells really quickly.”

The bowls adorn his bedroom wall, and three hang from a chain near his bed, acting as the perfect receptacle for loose change, keys, cell phones, or whatever else might be in his pockets.

The bowls cost $30 individually or $50 for the hanging chain of three. He’s sold about 30 bowls since he started making them in December, but Englert isn’t looking to get rich from this endeavor. In fact, after replenishing his record supply, he donates whatever profits are left to charities. Proceeds from his next batch will go to the Red Cross to help victims of the tsunami in Japan. Next, he hopes to donate to H40, an organization that helps install clean water systems in Third World villages.

“I just want to help out any way I can,” Englert said. “I can’t fly out there, but I can at least send some funds.”

Now 18 and almost done with high school, Englert plans to move to the Seattle area to study art and drawing. Eventually he’d like to have his own online store where he could sell his pieces and continue to support charities worldwide. For more information about LP Bowls, or to buy a decorative bowl, e-mail Englert at

Fast Facts

On May 14, the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Luis Obispo will be host to the second annual Christopher Meadows Memorial Wine Tasting and Silent Auction, an event that raises money for paramedic school scholarships. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Meadows was an emergency worker and Cal Poly graduate killed while volunteering at the Oceano Dunes. For more information or to register, visit

Are you single and looking for a good time and a good cause? Dates ‘N Donations is raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by holding a session of speed dating at Gather Wine Bar in Arroyo Grande. The event takes place April 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $30 and include an appetizer, wine, and the chance to find true love. For more information, find Dates ‘N Donations on Facebook or e-mail them at

Contributor Nick Powell compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Send ideas for consideration to

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