David read philosophy and literature at Warwick University. Realising the lack of jobs as a philosopher, he became a potter and taught part-time in the ceramics department at Wolverhampton University for thirty years. This allowed him the space in which to continue with his personal practice. He was awarded a PhD from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2016. David used the inquiry within his thesis to examine the question of how he could employ the language of materiality, making, and firing (particularly raku) to critically focus on issues of personal identity.
In its muddiness, he still finds clay the most seductive and versatile of materials in which to express ideas in an embodied form. The work is both reflective and reflexive. It tells stories of its origins in earth and fire – it is process-centred. The narratives that David is now pursuing have emerged more recently; they speak of the histories of his family and the inter-relationships of human beings.
He uses a wide variety of clay bodies, including found clays and a range of making and firing methodologies, but still particularly favours the immediacy and spontaneity of throwing and raku-firing.
David has been elected to the Governing Council of the International Academy of Ceramics, to represent the UK, Ireland and Benelux. He is the author of two books that examine the ideas underpinning ceramic firing: Raku, Investigations into Fire (1999), and Firing – Philosophies within contemporary ceramic practice (2007).