Bernard Rooke was born in 1938. He studied at the Ipswich School of Art before moving on to the Goldsmiths' College, London. It was here, in his last year, that he decided to take up pottery.
In 1960 he set up his own workshop in Forest Hill, London, sharing the premises with Alan Wallwork. Progressive designs were readily accepted in London at that time, and Rooke applied his efforts to making pieces of a sculptural nature. To supplement his income during this period he lectured at London University and at Goldsmiths' College.
The early pieces were mainly fashioned by hand using coils and blocks. Rooke found that whereas a work might not find a market as a piece of sculpture, if made into a lamp base it was more readily acceptable to the public. The lamp bases were, indeed, popular and have proved a mainstay until the present day.
Rooke's philosophy is that he needs to make two types pottery; that which is easily produced and will find a ready commercial market, and that which exercises his artistic talents to the full. Both are necessary for each other - one providing the independence for the other to survive and one providing designs for the other to continue.
In 1963 the pottery moved to larger premises in Greenwich, but ever in need of more space, Bernard moved to Swilland, near Ipswich, Suffolk in 1967, to a huge mill building.
Bernard's son, Aaron, manages production at the pottery now, leaving Bernard to divide his time between potting, painting, making digital photo-collages, and making music. You can visit the Bernard Rooke web site at http://www.bernard-rooke.co.uk/