I’ve written before about Chelsea’s amazing school, WildCraft Studio School, which is located up in the hills of White Salmon, but I wanted to share a little more about her school. She offers a fantastic array classes and workshops that are, in one way or another, connected to our local environment. I sent her a few questions so that we could get to know her better, and understand what her school is all about…
01. What is WildCraft Studio School? What’s the idea behind it? What’s your mission?
WildCraft Studio School is an art center offering adult workshops in subjects that intersect creativity and nature. We are offering over 40 classes this season, in subjects like Seasonal Medicine, Weaving in the Wild, and Dye Plants of the Columbia River Gorge. The idea for WildCraft grew out of a desire to bring contemporary perspectives on art/ design/craft and merge those practices with traditional skills and folk knowledge. My mission is to encourage a deeper connection with the natural world through sharing in creative skills.
02. Why did you choose to relocate and open the school in the Gorge?
The kind of classes I was most interested in offering require immediate access to wild spaces. Getting people out of the urban environment is incredibly valuable in terms of changing patterns of thought and The Gorge is such a perfect escape. Personally, I was looking for a different landscape, a little more sun and more space!
03. What’s the most rewarding part of hosting, participating, and preparing these classes?
There are so many inspiring aspects of running WildCraft: creating the space for talented teachers to share their skills and knowledge and seeing how grateful students have been for the experience has probably been the most rewarding experience. One of the loveliest comments I receive as people leave is, “thank you for creating this space”. Those words keep me going up here.
04. Which courses are you most excited for this season?
I’m really excited for an upcoming class Kalapuya Basket Weaving, led by Grande Ronde tribal member Stephanie Wood. That class really exemplifies what we are trying to do up here: bringing traditional skills into contemporary practice, while engaging students with materials from nature. Doesn’t get much better than that.
I recently visited during the end of one of WildCraft Studio’s natural dye classes to take some pictures. I can’t wait to take some of her classes.