Chayo Wilson

Ceramic Artist
Portland, OR

I dream in clay. Named for my Costa Rican Grandmother, Chayo, I etch the same name  in my pots as she did decades ago.

Hand building is my preferred mode of construction. Often I use native botanicals for inspiration. While working the soft slabs of clay my natural rhythm takes over; timing, texture, drape and flow until the soft form of the evolving piece lets me know it is ready to rest and become comfortable in its new form.

Firing will solidify its new shape but you will see vulnerability. The soft moment  frozen in time, I use natural earthy colored glazes that connect my pieces and their viewers even more deeply with the earth and environment from which they sprang.

I’ve explored Raku, Anastazi, wood & gas fire ; dug clay from creeks &  hillsides; fired pots wrapped with seaweed; painted with rusty nails. For  years I focused on Low Fire White clay, the most affordable process to express my fanciful view of the world. Now, I work with Porcelain and  iron rich chocolate clay.

I came to Portland 6 years ago when my years of care giving invalid parents and raising children began to ease up.  Portland stands for a huge new chapter in my Art. Beautiful Nature here in the Pacific Northwest inspires me and I translate that essence into the clay. I am inspired to create timeless art or ancient Treasure. I am thrilled when a piece looks like it has been dug up from the past.

I dreamt I traveled deep into an earthen cavern. I was aware it was “The Master Potters studio”. It was an ancient place filled with symbols carved into clay walls, gigantic kilns, and hundreds of pots made by the ancestors. I am connected to this dream as I work the clay, from the most basic rustic cup for everyday use to finely sculpted, porcelain pieces; translucent & delicate. My passion works through the clay to connect and root us to our human condition and ignite the creative spirit as we pass through time and back to the clay.

My clay work is a co creation with all the elements; Earth, is the clay. I work with Water to shape my pieces, Air dries and hardens them, and Fire transforms the clays consistency. I paint with natural glaze colors to enhance the beauty and once again Fire unites the elements. There is also the element of Surprise; I never know exactly how each pot will evolve which is part of the lure to work each day.