David Roberts

A short biography

My career in ceramics is a remarkable, if understated, story. I have no artistic or ceramic history in my family nor did I study ceramics at art college. In fact I discovered ceramics by accident as an element in my teaching degree whist at Bretton Hall (now the site of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park) in the late 1960s. Similarly my work in Raku was appropriately the result of a serendipitous encounter with American Raku ceramics in the early 1980s. However due to persistence, a natural talent and support from colleagues, friends and family, especially my wife Jan, over the past 40 years I have established myself as a leading international practitioner in Raku Ceramics.

I have exhibited and presented workshops throughout the UK, Europe and USA introducing my processes and work to people worldwide. In the mid 80’s, using modern kiln materials, I pioneered large scale Raku in the UK. During the late ’80s and early ’90s I was one of a handful of international potters who invented and developed the Painting With Smoke (Naked Raku) process extending the repertoire of contemporary Raku Ceramics. Current work reflects an interest in post war abstract painting and an engagement with the dynamic rhythms of landscape and its interaction with water and erosion. My ceramics are represented in internationally important public and private collections. I am a Fellow of the Craft Potters Association of Great Britain, an exhibiting member of Contemporary Applied Arts and an artist member of the International Academy of Ceramics.

David Roberts - building a large bowl

“David Roberts’ simple, beautiful and resonant vessels reveal a mastery of his materials and processes, demonstrating how, in a manner similar to a painter using pigment on canvas, the fundamental elements of fire and smoke are exploited to express meaning and define the form of his unique hand-built ceramics”

Lynn Greene – Author, Painting With Smoke

David Roberts - hand building in clay
David Roberts - glaze peeling after raku firing