WildCraft is one of the first schools in the country to make curricular connections between the seemingly disparate practices of traditional craft, textiles, Native American arts, foraging, and herbal medicine. The motivation to combine these practices stems from our belief that resourcefulness, creativity, and a meaningful relationship to place are integral parts of the human experience, deserving of more space in contemporary life.
From our Portland, Oregon and White Salmon, Washington studios, as well as from the farms, forests, beaches, and deserts that make up our offsite classrooms, WildCraft strives to awaken creativity and deepen an understanding of place through hands-on experiences in making.
The majority of the workshops offered at WildCraft studios fall into the category of craft. Whether wood carving, weaving, leather working, spinning, natural dying, or a myriad of other craft practices, a student taking a Craft workshop is guaranteed to experience that skill in an intensive, hands-on way.
Many of these workshops focus on craft practices that have become nearly obsolete in contemporary society, offering students the opportunity to connect with the larger history of making useful objects by hand. Some of these workshops teach a skill through a cultural perspective, passing along not just technical knowledge, but a deeper understanding of cultural production.
Land Based Workshops
WildCraft offers a seasonal program of workshops that teach traditional practices of wild foods foraging and herbal medicine, with a focus on cultivating sustainable relationships with landscape through a richer understanding of ethnobotany, geology, and habitat.
These workshops utilize the rich and varied landscapes of the Pacific Northwest as sites of learning. Whether at the Oregon Coast harvesting edible seaweed, in the forests of Mt. Hood learning about medicinal herbs, or walking the streets of Portland exploring urban dye plants, WildCraft’s Land-Based workshops provide opportunities for people to understand the landscapes of our region through the lens of sustainable harvest, traditional, and medicinal uses of plants.
Native Art Workshops
Our Northwest Native programming offers educational experiences that demonstrate the profoundly deep and significant connections between craft, culture, and landscape. In collaboration with Northwest Native artists, WildCraft has created an educational platform for the original craft traditions of this region to persist and thrive.
Workshops like Kalapuya Basket Weaving, Cedar Bark Basketry, and Columbia Plateau Beading tell the stories of the area’s vernacular craft – illuminating a relationship to place through materiality, process, and technique. These workshops are rare outside of Tribal schools, community centers, and reservations, and it is our hope that the cultural exchange between Native teachers and non-Native students will continue to build a deeper understanding and respect for the First Peoples of the Northwest.