Walters' Instructor Spotlight: Meet Randi Hering-Soot
Randi Hering-Soot’s first career was saving lives. She spent twenty five years serving as a paramedic before eventually retiring in order to devote herself to the care of her two young children and to her own self-care as an artist. “I had taken a beginning wheel throwing class at the Walters Cultural Arts Center from Jen Champlin and was hooked,” she says. Her shift away from the medical field allowed her to delve into this new passion; she spent two years in the ceramics program at Rock Creek PCC before acquiring a wheel and kiln of her own so that she could fully commit to her craft.
Beyond her training at PCC, Randi went on to take numerous workshops with noted ceramic artists, as well as workshops in glass fusing, lampworking, fiber arts, and other arts classes through the Oregon College of Art and Craft, Bullseye Glass, Mount Hood Community College, and Portland Art Museum, and she is currently pursuing a fine arts degree.
“I have considered myself an artist since I was very young,” says Randi. “Thankfully, I had teachers who supported my interests and encouraged me. I will forever be indebted. That simple act of affirmation set me on a path to explore the world artistically and to impact others in the same way. I truly feel that the encouragement I received in my youth set me free to think of myself in a positive and creative way.”
Though no longer a paramedic, Randi’s impact as a caregiver continues through her work as a volunteer and teaching artist. “Although I believe we are all born with artistic ability,” she says, “I meet people every day who are sure they are not artistic. People who don’t ‘get’ art. People who didn’t get the encouragement I received. I hope to change some minds and open those doors for as many people as I can.” Aside from teaching at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, she volunteers as an art instructor for the Hillsboro School District’s Online Academy and offers art activities at summer camps on request. Her specialty is sourcing unique materials and developing unexpected projects to delight, inspire, and empower her students. Her approach is gentle and experimental, coaxing students away from fear and into new experiences of joyful creativity. “It’s just art—” she jokes. “Nobody’s gonna die! (Honesty, I should know).”
Randi’s family recently moved to a beautiful small acreage in Hillsboro. They had been searching for a new home that would offer a quiet retreat surrounded by nature and animals. “I draw inspiration and energy from spending time outdoors,” says Randi. “Aside from exploring new arts and crafts, I love to hike, garden, kayak, swim, fish, and cook.”
To check out Randi's upcoming classes for youth and adults, visit www.Hillsboro-Oregon.gov/WaltersClasses.