A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

My Obsessions: Dan Price


Dan Price likes making things. He loves making pickled vegetables, he makes sculptural installations, and last summer he made about 1,400 pounds of ceramic sculpture at an artist residency in Holland along with an outdoor installation with 42 cubic feet of cedar in Japan. As chair of the Sculpture department, Price also makes things happen for the faculty, students, and curriculum. Here are some of the other things energizing and inspiring him to make.


2018 is the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I’m becoming a bit obsessed with it—I’ve read it five times. Frankenstein is interesting for an artist to read because it’s about the maker’s relationship to his creation before, during, and after. It’s about ethics; it’s about love; and it’s about being terrified of both the power of what you can make and what you really want. In a world of lost-and-found, sometimes the lost finds you.


When I was a kid, my mom taught me to sew and how to can food like jam, tomatoes, and pickles. Ever since I taught the class Seeing Through the Garden in Japan with Professor Alan Labb, I’ve been into making Japanese- style pickles. I’m obsessed. The kind I’ve been making lately are red radish pickles with ginger, cardamom, garlic, and chilies. I like ’em hot.


I’m thinking about life in the trees. I just bought a cabin in the Appalachian Mountains, and I plan to build a studio there. As I fall asleep, I imagine the landscape, and I plant gardens and design structures in my head. There are a lot of interesting features including rare mountain bogs and unusual wildlife like bobcats, luna moths, and hellbenders (Look that one up!). Being in the woods really feeds me. The cabin is in an international dark sky reserve, so you have a clear view of the stars and celestial events like meteor showers. It’s really amazing to be in the trees; I feel like it’s a human right, maybe a forgotten one. I think: What are we doing to make that accessible to everyone?