David Willis grew up outside of New York City and earned a BA in Interdepartmental Field Studies from UC Berkeley with an emphasis on Social Change and a Minor in Conservation and Resources Studies. He began working with glass in 1994 which marks the beginning of a decades long immersion in the field and has led to a diverse body of work. Drawing heavily from nature and taking a cross-disciplinary approach to the material, his work focuses around the idea that the most intimate aspects of an individual’s life are common to all people.
Willis has been an instructor at institutions including the Pilchuck Glass School, the Corning Museum of Glass Studio, the University of Oregon, and the Penland School of Craft. He has been a featured artist at the Niijima Glass Art Festival in Japan and has demonstrated many times for the Glass Art Society. Willis has been honored with an Award of Excellence for Artistic Mastery of Glass from the International Flameworking Conference, and a Visiting Artist Residency at the Museum of Glass in
His work is included in public, private, and museum collections nationally and internationally, and has been published in books and magazines including ARTnews, New Glass Review, Contemporary Flameworking Vol III, and Lampworking the 20th Century to the Present.
In addition to his practice in contemporary art, Willis has acted as a lead assistant to some of the world’s blue-chip contemporary artists who wish to broaden their sculptural work in the media of glass. He has worked internationally as an assistant and fabricator to artists such as Jim Hodges, Kiki Smith, and Urs Fischer.
Serving on the Board of Trustees of the Pilchuck Glass School, Willis currently Co-Chairs the Green Committee and the newly established DEAI Committee. He is a past Director of the Glass Art Society, and his work is represented by Austin Art Projects in Palm Desert, CA.