Michael Cardew said of Svend Bayer “I speak of him with awe and fear. He is more than just a potter, he is a force of nature. Everything comes to him so easily. Now one could say ‘ah, this kind of facility must be dangerous to his talent’. Then you can say the same about the infant Mozart. I’m not saying that Svend is Mozart. What I do say is that he is easily my best pupil and I believe that his extreme facility will be very useful to his talent.” *
Strong words from Cardew, considering that music played a more important part in his life than pottery, and that he considered Mozart the supreme composer.
Svend Bayer is best known for his large garden pots, but also makes domestic wares. He uses a wood-fired, cross-draught, single-chamber 800 cu.ft. kiln, and is based in Sheepwash, Devon.
He was born of Swedish parents in Uganda in 1946, and came to England when he was sixteen. He studied at Exeter University from 1965 to 1968 and started working with Michael Cardew at Wenford Bridge in 1969. In 1972 he joined the Brannam Pottery where he worked as a thrower for a year. After travelling in the Far East, Asia and the U.S.A., he set up his workshop in Devon.
His work is sometimes plain, sometimes boldly decorated, often with large bird designs.