If your memories of summer camp are more lanyard making and canoeing and less waking up with your hand in a bucket of warm water, Camp Westwind invites you to relive those halcyon days with a grown-up campers weekend that offers cool adult-level craft classes and free play time on the ruggedly beautiful coastal property.
Since it was acquired from the YWCA in 2006, Westwind primarily runs camps for kids, but the inaugural Artisans Camp weekend, held Friday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 29, is the result of a revelation by some of the staff members.
“We realized that we had some artists and artisans right here in the staff and our close community that had some great skills to share,” said camp director Laura Chase. “Most of our instructors have published work or have impressive portfolios or are accomplished in their own right. Part of why I’m so excited about this event is because of the caliber of those artists.”
The camp will include workshops on a number of artistic endeavors like a fused glass art class taught by Taina Meadow, where students can make jewelry, bowls or sun catchers; photography with professional photographer Stafford Squire, who will guide people and their cameras around the Westwind property; watercolor painting with Graham Klag; Gyotaku (fish printing) and paper making with Duncan Berry; and a beach and nature crafts workshop with Caryn “Indigo” Corwin where participants can make candles, sand paintings and sculptures using things found on the property.
Whether it’s a finished product or new skills, the workshops are all designed to give you something to go home with, even knife making with site manager Scotty Evens.
“I’m doing everything I can to guarantee people can walk away with a usable tool,” he said. “I’ve pre-prepped parts that take longer to prepare but we will still go through how it’s done. We’ll even do a demo of forging with hot metal and people will get to quench the blade. Then we’ll get right to work grinding, sanding and putting the handle on.”
Mostly self-taught, Evens says he was attracted to the ancient knife-making traditions passed down through the ages.
“I learned the Damascus technique which has a whole history behind it,” he said. “It’s pre-Viking technology which the Vikings ended up using.”
The knife made in the class will be a mix and form and function.
“I don’t make things to sit on the wall even though they look beautiful,” Evens said. “I always make a real tool that’s meant to be used.”
Assistant site manager Angelo Regalbuto will be teaching a woodworking class also designed to send participants home with a beautiful and usable item.
“Westwind has always had a strong mentorship ethic,” he said. “I’ve learned many things about basic electrical and plumbing but also making the cutting boards we create as gifts to show appreciation to outgoing board members and other people we want to thank.”
To help you create a hardwood cutting board attractive enough to be given as a gift, Regalbuto will also have parts prepared so that it’s not just a basic cutting board made from one piece of wood but a mix of hardwoods in strips.
“I will still walk people through the process before they get to work sanding and finishing,” he said. “We’ll also have a branding tool so they can get the Westwind swoosh logo branded on their finished board if they want; it does add a little something special.”
The weekend includes lodging in Westwind’s rustic yet well-appointed cabins and meals made from scratch using seasonally available ingredients.
No experience is required for any of the workshops, but due to the nature of many of them the weekend is for those 16 and older.
“It’s going to be three days with full day-long sessions and some of the workshops have age limits for safety reasons,” Chase said. “We really felt that an adults-only policy would provide a better experience for participants.”
And yes, the four-legged kids must stay home too. But you’ll be having too much fun to miss them… much.
“We have 529 acres that people can play in,” Chase said. “A big part of why the Westwind experience is so cool is that visitors get to take part in the other things that we have to do here like kayaking and canoeing in the Salmon River estuary, hiking, tide pooling, fire building and exploring natural beach caves. A lot of people that sign up for events here really look forward to that aspect of it.”
Registration is $350+ (there are different fees based on which workshop you choose) including food and lodging. Camp Westwind is located off of Highway 101 just north of Lincoln City. For more information or to register, go to westwind.org/workshops-events/2019-artisan-camp.