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Susan Crowell

Susan Crowell

Professor, School of Art & Design

Professor, Residential College, College of Literature, Science and the Arts


Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Office: 1021 AA
Phone: (734) 647-4592

Curriculum Vitae

M.F.A., University of Michigan School of Architecture and Design, 1972 B.F.A., University of Michigan, 1969


Susan Crowell has taught ceramics at the School of Art & Design since 2005. As a Fulbright Scholar, she studied architectural ceramics with Nino Caruso at Centro Internazionale di Ceramica in Rome.

Crowell returns to Italy often to teach, conduct research and direct the University of Michigan’s Summer Study Abroad Program near Florence. In 2003, she collaborated with Italian ceramic artists at Istituto Statale d'Arte and Gli Amici della Ceramica. Most recently, she has conducted research in northern Italy on I Compianti sul Christo Morto, 15th century lamentation groupings made of terra cotta. During her career, she has published numerous articles on the topics of contemporary ceramics and ceramic artists, architectural ceramics and ceramics in Italy.

Crowell’s work has addressed a number of themes, often employing text as part of its aesthetic. Her artistic mission is to incorporate the moral (The Seven Deadly Sins) and the literary (Howard Roark Can Kiss My Ass) with the material (Flaming Weenies and Weenie Waggers) and the temporal (Domestic Chronology). In the early 1990s, she used narrative ceramic vessels to interrogate the phenomenon of "flashing" and its role in claiming ownership of public space. Later, while in Japan, she created narrative vessels as staging devices for the poetry of Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

To this combination of elements, Crowell is now adding the ephemeral. Having previously worked with the concept of wind-in her Via con il Vento series, for example-she is now engaging the wind beyond its physical representation, developing forms and methods for capturing it. Her current installation project is Flutestream, which involves the creation of curved instruments made of vitrified ceramics. Like other projects Crowell has created, Flutestream will employ the wind as a discursive and thematic element. Inspired by her 2005 Sound & Vision residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts, she plans to install the flutes in a variety of locales, eventually streaming the sounds they collect and "playing the planet."

Crowell shows her work widely and has participated in a variety of exhibitions and residencies in Canada (at Banff), Japan (at Shigaraki and Miyazaki), and Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice), as well as in the U.S.


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