Danish-born Svend Bayer was famously described by Michael Cardew as his best pupil, but Bayer’s work is in no way imitative of Cardew’s. Technically he is in fact a better potter, but more fundamentally he conveys something of Cardew’s sense of a craftsman subsumed in his material, using clay expansively and with great ambition, his best work having something of that elemental mystery that characterises Cardew’s pots. Bayer (born 1946) is a stoneware potter par excellence, who has evolved his own very succinct and modern style. From more intimate tablewares to big bread crocks and tall monumental jars and garden pots, his language is one of great clarity, at a time when woodfiring can often lack this quality. Bayer has a real feel for the texture of clay, enhanced by the warm nuances of the flame. His pieces have  strong Japanese elements too, both in their forms and decoration, but they also have an innate Englishness, with qualities of our native vernacular tradition of functional wares. Bayer worked with Cardew after a period of study at Exeter University in the 1960s, setting up his Devon studio in 1975.

David Whiting