Spira, Rupert

First name: 
Year of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Great Brittain
Working period: 

Rupert Spira is born in London in 1960. 
1978- 80 BA Hons Degree at West Surrey College of Art and Design under Henry Hammond
1980-82 Trained with Michael Cardew at Wenford Bridge Pottery
1983 Final year at West Surrey College of Art and Design
1984 Set up Pottery at Lower Froyle, Hampshire
1988 Set up studio making hand-made tiles
1996 Set up Pottery at More, Shropshire

The skill of throwing on a potter's wheel is the basis of Rupert Spira's work.  Having been the apprentice to some major ceramic artists (f.e. Michael Cardew) he sets very high standards in the craft of his art - making things larger and with extraordinary attention to detail than one might anticipate.  Graduating in 1983 from the West Surrey College of Design he hit the world scene with a solo exhibition, which traveled through Japan and Korea in 2003-04.  The versatility of his skills mean that works vary in scale from miniature to monumental and in decoration from monochrome to intricately hand-written texts.  Rupert also painstakingly applies raised texts to some pieces, and in some cases poetry he has written himself (text: Gallery Adrian Sassoon).

Pictures: Portrait 1 (source Stillness speaks); portrait 2 in his studio (photo Alex Ramsay); portret 3 in Gallery Heller; bowl (contemporary Applied Arts); bowl 2004 (photo Heinrich Schneebelt); white bowl, 2012.

Work of the artist: 

Rupert Spira: 'I think of my studio more as a laboratory than a workplace. It is a place or, more accurately, an event, a series of events, in which the elements of nature – space, mind, earth, water, line, fire, movement, form, time – are gathered, exploring and expressing that which holds them together as a cohesive whole.'

Sir David Attenborough about Rupert Spira:
'I first came accross the work of Rupert Spira about fifteen years ago and was instantly struck by its purity of form. His pots had a presence and balance which revealed a master´s eye. In the years which have followed that encounter, this first impression has been constantly reaffirmed. Spira is undoubtedly one of the leading ceramicists working in Britain today. Despite his success he continues to experiment, pushing forward the frontiers of his art as he responds
to new influences, invents new solutions and searches for even greater perfection. There is an austere beauty about his work which is wholly classical. He has explored a range of glazes from an understated celadon grey through blue and red to the intense matt black used for the tea service commissioned by Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury. His work continues to evolve with a range of experiments, culminating most recently in the poems vessels which are surprising and perhaps a little disconcerting coming from a ceramicist normally so understated and quiet in tone. It is clear that Rupert Spira has established a unique place in contemporary ceramics. His development has been full of unexpected solutions to form and colour which delight those most familiar with his work. He is an artist whose creativity gives me great pleasure.'