Talented Instructors Ready To Help!
Doug Dacar graduated from Oregon College of Art and Craft in 1998. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in ceramics and photography. He has taught numerous art mediums to children and adults. In addition to teaching Doug exhibits and sells his artwork. He currently works out of his home studio in West Salem.
Having been a perpetual student in my younger days, I spent a lot of time taking art classes at the University of Alaska. My focus was on degrees that would pay the bills, so I never got a degree in art, just a lot of credits.
Prior to discovering clay (I wasn’t the first) all of my sculpture experience was in stone and wood. It was Margrethe who got me started, and once I made my first figure in clay there was no turning back. That was around 15 years ago. Since then clay has become a part of my daily life, from the footprints in the hall when I forget to take my shoes off at the door, to the buckets of heads, feet, arms and legs that just didn’t make it. I would call my sculptural work “the art of persistence”. Over the years the buckets have not filled as quickly, and that is how I measure my success these days.
I love teaching at the WAC because I get to see the thrill of discovering clay all over again in the artists who come to my classes.
Hal Mathew has been making pots for 50 years and taught in ceramic centers in Helena and Missoula, MT before moving to Salem nearly 4 years ago. He specializes in surface decoration, including drawing and painting; carving, and sgrafitto through clay slips. He has experience in building kilns and kick wheels and has been doing raku firings for over 30 years. In addition to teaching wheel classes at the WAC, he also runs the Family Clay Sunday program.
Jim Ransom is a long-time Salem area potter. He began working with clay in the early seventies while living in Gresham. He moved to Salem in 1974, and had a home studio with a wheel and propane gas fired kiln. A new family and moving to a new home curtailed Jim’s ceramic pursuits for a while, but he got re-involved with pottery at the former Salem Art Association’s Visual Art Center (VAC) as instructor and artist. Jim currently teaches wheel throwing and whistle making classes at the Willamette Art Center (WAC).
Jim’s classes are structured around student needs. The focus is on developing skills and/or achieving particular projects. Jim recently retired after 25 years of working for Oregon’s Office of Licensing and Regulatory Oversight, so he can now spend more time at the WAC “playing in the dirt!” His work can be seen at The River Gallery in Monmouth, Elsinore Framing and Art in Salem, White Oak Gallery in Silverton, and The Oaks Gallery at the Willamette Art Center located on the Oregon State Fairgrounds.
Nikki Svarverud has taught adult and children’s handbuilding and wheelthrowing classes at the Willamette Art Center for six years. She also teaches in elementary and middle schools in the Salem Keizer School District after school program, as well as assisting with the WAC field trip events. Nikki is the WAC Facilities Coordinator, responsible for all aspects of the studio and grounds, including firing the kilns and mixing glazes.
Nikki grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Rosary College outside of Chicago with a degree in Biology. She attended the University of London for one year. Nikki taught Chemistry and other science classes at Pacific Palisades High School for six years before moving to Salem in 1997 where she currently resides with her husband and son, Zachary, on a farm featuring a garden, chickens, and two adorable dogs.
“I’ve had a passion for clay since high school and have been playing with clay on a daily basis for the past 16 years.” Nikki creates earthy, functional pottery with unique glaze designs and textural elements. She also produces abstract wall hangings and sculpture. Her pottery has been featured at the River Gallery in Independence, the Elsinore Gallery, and can currently be seen in the WAC Oaks Gallery.