The pottery that I make is guided by a curiosity about how the shape of a piece might tie to its surface treatment. Function and the vessel format guide the boundaries. The limited color palette of clay slips and glazes is selected through the need to simplify.
My artistic vocabulary is nourished by a diverse range of historic and contemporary art and ceramics sources. These many influences and interests are assimilated with my personal artistic perspective and inclinations. The goal is to create unique, well-conceived individual ceramic objects. The ideal is to create ceramic works with qualities that will enrich the viewer’s life.
At its most basic, I make work that “feels right” to me at a given moment. It is a quest that is continuously motivating, sustaining and one that is an ongoing challenge after many years working in clay.
I use a variety of methods (including wheel throwing, altering, and press molding) to create the forms. My decoration currently uses contrasting surfaces of glaze, slip, and clay to create hard-edge designs. The pots are then fired in a salt kiln. This firing method, coupled with atmospheric sensitive glazes, produces pots with a rich range of color and surface variation.
David Crane received a BFA from Northern Arizona University and a MFA from Illinois State University. Since 1980 he has been a Professor of Art / Ceramics at Virginia Tech. In 2011, receiving the Virginia Tech, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Career Achievement Award. Within the School of Visual Arts he has served as Program Chair of Studio Art (2006–2008), Head of the Department of Art & Art History (1995–2000), and Director of the Armory Art Gallery (1990–1993).
In 1997, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northern Arizona University. He is the recipient of a Virginia Museum Artist Fellowship and a SECCA- Seven National Artist Fellowship Award. His artworks have appeared in over 250 national and international exhibitions. Reproductions of his ceramic works have been published in 10 books, along with numerous catalogs and periodical articles. His work appears in private, university and museum collections. He has conducted over 36 invited lectures and demonstrations.
He is married to painter Janet Niewald. Together, in 1982, they began to build their home, studios and small farm on 15 acres outside of Blacksburg, Virginia. In recent years, Crane & Niewald have begun to collaborate on pottery vessels under the name NC Twain.
For over 40 years, he has focused and experimented with a wide range of salt and soda firing temperatures and techniques. Crane’s recent ceramic work investigates the integration of geometric ceramic forms and surface glazes associated with functional objects and vessels. His work is generally wheel thrown and altered, then fired in a high temperature salt kiln.