Emily Free Wilson – Red Lodge Clay Center

Emily Free WilsonGardiner, Oregon

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Emily Free Wilson is an artist, potter and entrepreneur. She is the owner of Free Ceramics and makes pottery with her husband Matt Wilson. She was born in Anchorage, Alaska and grew up in Roseburg, Oregon. In college she received a running scholarship and a BFA in ceramics and sculpture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  In 2001 Emily moved to Helena, Montana for an internship and worked with other galleries and museums until she acquired a position as Gallery Director at the Archie Bray Foundation, which she worked for over 10 years.  In 2009, with Matt and her brother Bobby Free, she started her pottery business Free Ceramics. In 2015 Emily left the Bray to work full time with her husband in their studio and art center. Emily and Matt had converted a funeral home into an art center, creating a space for community to gather, concerts to be enjoyed and 9 multi-media artists to have private studios.

Emily has received grants from the Montana Arts Association and the Myrna Loy Art Center. She has given a TedX Talk in Helena, Montana. She has shared her work and story as a USA Visiting Artist at the Ceramics Ireland International Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland and been a visiting artist at Saddleback College, Pottery Northwest and Jackson Art Association. Her work has been published in Ceramics Monthly, numerous ceramic books and has been featured across the United States in galleries including the Northern Clay Center, Red Lodge Clay Center and the Holter Museum of Art.

In 2019 Emily moved her family and Free Ceramics to Gardiner, Oregon where they purchased a middle school. She currently makes pottery in Gardiner with her husband Matt and their two children while starting a nonprofit called the Oregon Coast School of Art.

I need to make fun, happy, colorful things out of clay. This need to create and for those things to be shared with others, is inherent in who I am. Hand built pieces and functional pottery are created out of a mid range porcelain. The majority of my current work is done collaboratively through my pottery business Free Ceramics. Having my hands in both an artistic business and my own studio allows me to push my designs, ideas and challenge myself to keep evolving as an artist. Simple and inviting pots are made on a wheel or pinched out of large coils by hand and decorated with quick black lines and colorful dots. My imagination can turn images of rain, fireworks or candy into fun abstract designs that dance across the forms. I strive to make a beautiful and whimsical piece of art that makes you smile and is a joy to use.