David Cleverly Ceramics at the Haytown Pottery, Devon, UK

About David


David Cleverly was born and spent his formative years in the seaside town of Hastings, on the south coast of England. He attended Hastings School of Art, and then went on to study Fine Art [Painting] at Goldsmith’s College School of Art, London.

He moved to Devon 28 years ago and started making pottery at Haytown. Here he first made a range of brown domestic earthenware with modelled sprigging. David began making larger figures in 1992. Now the figures have taken over almost completely, with a proliferation of historical and mythological characters and their creatures.

David Cleverly's workshop


Each piece is made individually using joined slabs, which are then modelled.

I dry out slabs of clay to the right consistency – then roll one into a thin slab then cut into a rough rectangle, and bend round to form a cylinder of the right size for the animal.

I work on the cylinder, pressing in, and pushing out to form the main shape. I model and join the limbs and head, using soft clay to smooth over.

When the whole thing is leather hard I dip it into semi - porcelain slip, using a blow fire to speed dry the vulnerable parts so avoiding collapse.

The red terracotta that I use is very plastic and ideal to model with.

After biscuit firing the figure is painted with oxides and colours. By firing to earthenware temperatures with a low-sol clear glaze I get the bright colours that I like.

Davis Cleverly - making pottery Davis Cleverly - making pottery Davis Cleverly - making pottery Davis Cleverly - making pottery Davis Cleverly - making pottery


I prefer to follow the strong English tradition of pottery, and borrow from late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Staffordshire makers, such as Walton, Wieldon and Sherratt, although my work differs in being hand built and individual, not press moulded production.

I want a reasonable degree of representation, and often use appropriate words to add to the humour and enjoyment.

Like the early potters, I refer to recognisable iconic figures from history and mythology. These usually interact with animals, but are given a humorous or surreal twist, enhanced by the wording. I also make single archetypal creatures.



Main Gallery #1

Main Gallery #2

Main Gallery #3

Copyright 2003 - David Cleverly Ceramics, the Haytown pottery