Suzanne Crane

"I sometimes think of my botanical work in stoneware as preserving a type of fossil record of biological diversity. My functional pieces are rooted in the rituals of human culture and are reminders of our absolute dependence on the natural world. "

Growing up in a family of bird-watchers and botanists, Suzanne Crane watched her mother collect, identify, and press rare prairie plant specimens. She loved the abstract patterns that resulted. Today, Crane gathers plants on the wooded slopes and creek sides of the Blue Ridge Mountains, then presses them into her ceramic pieces. In addition to drawing inspiration from nature, Crane is influenced as much by chaos theory and fractal geometry as the Arts and Crafts Movement.

All of Crane's pieces are wheel thrown using stoneware clay. She presses her plant specimens into the wet clay, then pulls them off, leaving a fossil-like impression that creates a template for glazing. She uses a churchkey to make repetitive point patterns on some of her pieces, pressing one point at a time, free hand. Knobs, handles, and feet are hand pulled from stoneware.

Crane received a degree in English at the University of Wisconsin, then moved to Charlottesville to pursue a master's degree in English at the University of Virginia. While teaching English at community colleges for thirteen years, she also took pottery classes and apprenticed with Tom Clarkson. She opened her own ceramic studio in 1997, and in 2000, unable to keep up with demand for her pottery, she quit teaching and settled into work as a full-time artist.

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