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David Berg

“I approach every piece with an understanding that something permanent (in human lifetime reference anyway) is being created. This prompts me to pay strict attention to the details of creating art on which I am proud to sign my name and that I hope will provide enrichment to the lives of those who acquire it.”

Although he currently works as a molecular biologist for Eli Lilly and Company, David Berg delights in creating detailed and beautiful stoneware pottery. He began learning the craft at the age of 10 and refined his skills through elective ceramics courses in college and by working for Bloomington Pottery Company after college. He departed from this hobby for about 20 years before opening a studio in 2004, and he hopes to work full-time in his studio some day.

The functional nature of clay inspires David to make each piece both beautiful and flawless. “The appeal of clay and glazes as my artistic medium is in creating pieces that strike a balance between utility and fine art,” he says. “My objective is to create functional ceramic art intended for everyday use, and I stay motivated by knowing that my stoneware is now being used by folks across the U.S.” David carefully handcrafts each piece into its own unique design and he continually experiments with new techniques and glazes so that no two pieces are the same.

David throws on a potter’s wheel and then hand models and textures his pieces while the clay is still moist. He uses an antique, manually operated wheel called a Denton Vars side treadle wheel. “I prefer this creaky, old manual treadle wheel to a motor driven model because in addition to adding a lot of character to the piece, I like having greater overall control. I also feel that my providing the power to turn the wheel, rather than relying on electricity, helps me focus on a more natural, creative progression of the raw earthen clay into finished art objects,” he says.

David had not planned to apply to Indiana Artisan this year, but did so based on encouragement from other artists. Since his business is still developing, he was not sure he would be considered a “top-tier” Hoosier artist. “I feel humbled and proud to be in the same company with so many talented artists,” David says. He hopes that participation in the program will give his art more recognition while exposing him to a wider base of customers.