Robert Silver MSDC
Robert Silver makes tableware, probably for a table in a modernist house or student flat. Technically, his pots are a white stoneware clay (in fact it's a mixture of stoneware and porcelain) fired to 1260C. From an aesthetic point of view, his pots have been variously described as Post Industrial and even Steam Punk but however you choose to describe his work, his is an urban aesthetic. Looking at his work you are more likely to think of 20th century design movements like Bauhaus or Art Deco - even Memphis - rather than the country wares beloved by many of the potters of his generation and before.
Robert's training began in 1972 when he left school in London and went to Govancroft Pottery in Glasgow (then the biggest pottery North of Stoke) to work as studio assistant to the in-house designer Ken Southall. This was followed by attending the famous Harrow College of Technology and Art course in Studio Pottery with its emphasis on production throwing.
Those traditional craft skills, as taught at Harrow, are still evident in Robert's current work. All his pots begin life on a potters' wheel. He makes his handles and spouts using slab building methods, in preference to molds, and applies glazes by dipping rather than spraying.
After leaving college Robert spent ten years working in potteries, as an art school technician, as a pottery manager and for himself as he looked to widen his experience and knowledge of his craft. He made Punk Pots (with safety pins through them) and panels based on pieces of dug up road as well as casseroles. By 1985 he had stopped making and didn't sit at a wheel again until 2019.
This time round there are no safety pins and no representations of melting McAdam but there is the same willingness to look outside and beyond the traditions of pottery for inspiration. 1940’s oil cans are a favourite, as are galvanized tin watering cans. Both work well, even though they’re designed for environments in which no one minds very much if they drip a little – unlike so many jugs and teapots on the market. That's important to Robert because, when all is said and done he makes his work to be used and enjoyed.
Education and qualifications
- Canterbury Christchurch University - PGCE
- Sussex University - M.A., Modern English Literature
- Ealing College of Higher Education (Thames Valley University) B.A Hons: Humanities (2.1)
- Harrow College of Technology and Art - Diploma in Studio Pottery
- 2019 - Date. Self-employed potter (working out of The Kiln Rooms in Peckham and selling work in London and Los Angeles.)
- Freelance Journalist. Specialising in the design, retail and leisure industries. Written for The Times, The Guardian, FX, Design Week, Studio Pottery, Ceramics in Society and many controlled circulation, trade press and listing magazines.
- Potter - self employed. Studio assistant, art school technician and pottery manager.
Exhibitions and other information
- Nov 2023: Wandsworth art - Artist of the Month
- Nov 2023: London Potters Annual Members’ Exhibition
- Feb 2023: London Potters Showcase – Barbican Library
- Nov 2022: Curated by Dan Goode at Handmade, Chelsea
- Nov 2022: London Potters Annual Members’ Exhibition
- Nov 2021: Curated by Dan Goode at Handmade, Chelsea
- 2002: Read a paper at the Wolverhampton University conference on Punk: 'How consumer Capitalism Tamed the Kings Road Savage.'