SNAG Celebrates: Tanya Crane

January 24, 2020


SNAG Celebrates

SNAG celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different artists on the SNAG website.

Tanya Crane
photo credit Laura Jamison

Please introduce yourself.
My name is Tanya Crane. I’m a California native. I’ve moved roughly 25 times, and am currently living in Boston, Massachusetts where I am a Professor of the Practice in Metals at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts. I have a BFA in Metal from SUNY New Paltz and an MFA in Metal/Jewelry from the University of Wisconsin Madison. I create both jewelry and sculptural objects. My medium of choice is copper and enamel, but I also use materials that support my research, such as various grasses for weaving, raw stones, decaying steel, wrought iron and detritus from my immediate landscape. My black and white sgraffito work is something that I repeat a lot in my compositions as I feel it’s a way for me to continue my story from piece to piece.

What are some goals that you have while creating your work? Are there any concepts that you are particularly interested in?
I like to keep my designs simple and to the point. There’s usually a bit of nostalgia paired with a response to my current landscape in most of my pieces. I feel it is important to make sure my voice is seen in every piece I create, which references both black history and my history.

Tanya Crane_RainBrooch_2018
Rain Brooch

What does your work mean to you? Why create these objects?

Jewelry is one the oldest forms of self-expression. It is a way to show your individuality and your link to a certain group or culture. Jewelry is constantly evolving as cultures evolve. Cultures are analyzed and studied through material objects. These objects, which tell a story about a single moment ultimately link me and the people who wear my creations to that moment.

How has the field of metalsmithing and jewelry evolved since you began your career?
I’ve noticed stylistic changes in the field of jewelry as particular movements linked to social change occur. For instance, in the early 2000’s “found object” jewelry and “assemblage” jewelry was very popular to create. This movement lead to the DIY movement in which people who wanted to try their hand at the lucrative side of creativity could link up to this assemblage concept and create jewelry which became know as Steam Punk. This is just one instance I’ve noticed, and there are many more.

Tanya Crane_Continued Decay_2019
Continued Decay


What are your plans for the future? Is there anything specific that you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I’d love to work more collaboratively with other jewelry artists. As jewelry artists, we often work alone with limited contact beyond social media with our cohorts. There was a great show at NYC Jewelry Week called Borrow/Copy/Steal in which three artists (Isabelle Busnel, Nikki Couppee, Anna Talbot) did a kind of exquisite corpse mash-up where each artist used each other’s material and process. I think what it accomplished most was an understanding among the participating artists the amount of care and regard for material each artist uses to create their work. I think working in this way allows us to slow down a bit and consider what we are creating and what it means to appropriate material, ideas and process. I think some very meaningful work can emerge from this way of working.

Tanya Crane_Lil Pimp_2019
Lil Pimp


How and when did first gain a membership with SNAG?
I became a member my first year as a grad student. I wanted to participate in some of the shows and I was planning on attending my first SNAG conference, so I became a member!

More about Tanya:

Scroll to Top