WALDPORT – A new business in Waldport brings together two things the owner loves the most: art and education.
Vicki Wilson hosted a grand opening this month at the studio of her artist, Slipstream Clay Studio. The studio has a gallery space with Wilson’s sculptures, as well as a teaching space with six pottery towers. “I am first an artist, then a teacher and a businessman a third. And a few other things in between, ”Wilson said. “I have come to this over a long period of time.”
The Slipstream Clay Studio is located at 385 NE Alsea Highway, # 8, across from Ray’s Food Place. Wilson said the 1,000-square-foot space was a beautiful blank slate that was ideal for his concept: a practical clay gallery and teaching studio. “I want to teach as I have always taught: teaching techniques,” she said. “I have skills and I want to take them out and show people how to do things.”
Wilson was a college art teacher for about 15 years in the Portland and Virginia area. She thought she would teach at college for her entire career, but said the sparkle eventually faded. “I had decided that the life of an assistant professor was not a life at all. I want to keep doing my job, and I want to teach classes the size and type I want to teach with a maximum of six students. I was fed up with 25 at a time.
She left teaching in 2015 and completed four artist residency programs in three years, where she developed her sculptural style and began to think entrepreneurially. “When I did the residencies, I had in mind that I wanted to watch these other shows and see how they set up their studios and run their classes so that I could get a feel for what I wanted to do,” se Wilson recalls. “I picked the best things – the frosting recipes, the storage techniques. I was really looking and studying their spaces to create my own.
Slipstream Clay Studio will offer clay classes ranging from 10 week sessions to an overnight pottery wheel class. Classes are open to everyone, regardless of skill level. “I’ve taught everything from doctoral students and community education to little kids,” Wilson said. “I want to be able to work with people at their level. I’m trying to find out where they are and what they want, and I’ll get there with them.
The 10 week clay course, all levels, costs $ 250 and includes instruction, use of studio tools and equipment, 25 pounds of clay and glazes for home, baking, long term project storage and open studio day per week. Ceramics is not a quick process, so it’s a good way to build a solid knowledge base, according to Wilson. Handcrafted and flywheel manufacturing will be demonstrated.
A five-week course costs $ 125, kids’ project courses for $ 25, overnight wheeling courses, and special workshops – all are listed on its website. It also offers private lessons.
Drawing lessons are also available. “I like to teach drawing. It makes me so happy to have this. I have collected so many accessories over the years. Now I can see them all displayed for still life. Drawing classes will take place on Wednesday evenings with five weeks of black or white charcoal and five weeks of colored pastel.
Regular hours are Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 4 p.m. Classes will be held around this, before or after regular hours. There is also free time in the studio during these opening hours.
Vaccinations are mandatory for students to participate in studio classes. But if someone is not vaccinated for some reason, they can take a kit home and continue to participate. Kits can be ordered online, picked up in the studio, and then completed at home with an online tutorial. Wilson will ice and then shoot the projects for later pickup. There are currently 20 different projects plus an artist kit where budding artists can create their own project.
Wilson has spent years honing his sculpting skills and even makes his own custom glazes. As a sculptor, she enjoys doing things that are not functional. “The sculptures are personal, on memory and emotion. I have developed over the years that the body is the pedestal for holding something emotional. I always have a part of a figure where the body tells a story through some kind of decoration or addition. And this story is usually a story of remembering or feeling something.
Why Waldport? Wilson and her husband, John Larsen, who has collaborated with her on several large community and public art projects, wanted Wilson’s mother Sandy to live with them. Sandy wanted to live on the coast, so the trio moved to Waldport. “My mom does crafts and sewing, so she has a little place called ‘Sandy Like the Beach’, with her items for sale. She loves it here.
Wilson feels the same. “It makes me feel good to be here. If there is anything that describes for me living the dream, it is living at the beach and working on ceramics. I couldn’t ask for more than that.
Visit slipstreamclay.com for more course and project information and follow us on Facebook for updates.