Richard Phethean b. 1953

Richard Phethean is an established professional potter whose work is exhibited widely in the UK and Europe.


Born in South East London in 1953, Richard studied ceramics at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, and further worked with Colin Pearson and Janice Tchalenko before establishing his own London studio. Well known as a teacher, Phethean was a visiting member of staff on the University of Westminster, Harrow degree course for twelve years until its closure in 2010. For thirteen years he based his practice as Resident Potter in an independent Quaker school in Oxfordshire. In August 2014, he moved into a large new studio in Tresabenn, West Cornwall which continues to serve as a base for his own work.


Phethean makes thrown, altered and assembled vessels in coarse textured red and black earthenware clays with brushed slips and resist techniques. His pots explore contour and profile, clay as an assembly of cut elements, as well as an effective ground for his expansive decoration. There is a process of construction and deconstruction about his work, as if he is analysing the structural nature of functional form, but doing it playfully, like the decorative still lifes of late Cubism. His current work combines references to ancient pottery, European slipware traditions and early twentieth century abstract painting.


He is a Fellow of, and recently retired as Chair of the Craft Potters Association, a member of the Cornwall Crafts Association and of the Penwith Society of Artists.