Alida van Almelo works with clay in her studio.

In addition to being the Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers Executive Director, Alida van Almelo is a clay artist with a Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and her own studio.

Below is a question and answer interview interview with Almelo discussing her craft and creativity as a whole.

Q: What drew you to clay as a medium?“Honestly I knew I would go into art… I took a ceramic class and I loved the tactile texture of the clay.”

Q: What about clay do you like as a medium?“It’s a very interactive dynamic between artist and materials… I’m inspired by nature and earth movements… the fact that clay literally is the earth,” she said with a laugh. “It makes sense conceptually and I just love using it.”

Q: Do you dabble in other mediums?“It’s primarily clay, but I do a small amount of fine wood working for the tiles that I frame.”

Q: Do you draw at all?“I do. I have a sketchbook… Usually the drawings are more for function, to figure out an idea.”

Q: How did art and the general act of creating become so important to you?“I think it’s a way to help me enjoy my experience outside… I’m with Valley Mountain Hikers and Bikers and that comes from a passion for the outdoors and recreation outdoors. I would say that experience is heightened when I’m able to reexamine it in a creative way… I think it heightens my experience of life through means of expression.”

Q: How important would you say art and creativity as a whole is for the human experience?“I think it’s extremely important. I would say for the same reason. There’s so much about experiencing life, there’s no way we can capture that experience with one form of expression. Some people are better with words… Some people are better with visual arts. Some people rely I think rely on those of us who have other forms of expression to help define and relate their experience. I think it allows for a richer experience of life.”

Q: What’s your creative process look like?“It usually starts from some visual inspiration. When I’m hiking… I use visuals that I find intriguing,”

Q: What’s your advice to up and coming artists?“Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t get discouraged. The fact you want to make art is reason enough to do it… If you’re creative, you’re creative… You’re not gonna get better if you don’t think you’re good enough.”

Q: Do you sell your art?“My installation is all shows… Most of my tiles are commissions. I do have special commissions rates that can be found on my website… Most of my work is made to order.”

To learn more about van Almelo and her work, visit

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at

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