What is your name?
Emily Free Wilson
What do you do for work and what is your slash (aka what do you do in your free time)?
Artist/ Owner/Entrepreneur - Free Ceramics / Studio Art Center A little over a year ago I shifted my life from being a full time gallery director at the Archie Bray Foundation and part time potter to running my ceramics business and art center full time. My free time is spent with my 9 year old son, husband and friends enjoying the Montana outdoors.
How did you land in Helena?
I was selected for a part-time internship at the Archie Bray Foundation’s Clay Business. It was a lot of heavy lifting and driving a fork lift. I was excited to use my interests and skills at the other end of working with clay-the sales of finished pieces.
What is the best piece of advice that you ever received – career-related or otherwise?
I almost did not come to Montana, but was going to take a high paying executive assistant job. That boss told me I would not last long doing something I did not love. He encouraged me to follow my passion teaching kids and working in the arts.
When do you feel the most yourself?
I have learned that the various forms of myself change constantly. I am always a mom. I am a business owner, an artist, wife, community activist, master sushi chef (just kidding), runner, student, teacher, and mentor. I am all of these things, but I am learning that it is ok if I only kick ass at a couple of them at a time.
Where is the last place you explored and where do you want to explore next?
I recently went to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to explore the Kohler factories, art center and design center. It was incredible inspiration to keep innovating while staying true to my main goals. My “someday” trip will be to go to Ireland!
Tell us something about yourself that we didn’t ask:
Why ceramics? While in college I discovered I was a maker and an organizer. I started as a runner at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My junior year I made the toughest decision to quit the team and give up my scholarship. But I had found a new tribe in the art classes and my job at the art museum. I think we all look for that group or community of people that we feel at home with. Whether it is through work, sports, church or volunteering, I was looking for that group when I was ready to not be a full time runner. Clay and the people in the studio kept drawing me back in. The ceramics community became my family. And clay has endless possibilities, I cannot imagine tiring of it!