William Daley

2010 Pew Fellow

1/9: William Daley, 2010 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
2/9: William Daley, Joshua’s Cistern, 2010. Photo courtesy of the artist.
3/9: William Daley, Vesica Explorations, 2010, installation view. Photo courtesy of the artist.
4/9: William Daley, Crossed-Under Vesica, 2009. Photo courtesy of the artist.
5/9: William Daley, Crossed-Under Vesica (detail), 2009. Photo courtesy of the artist.
6/9: William Daley, drawing of Oracular Vesica, 2005. Photo courtesy of the artist.
7/9: William Daley, Oracular Vesica, 2005. Photo courtesy of the artist.
8/9: William Daley, Nuptual Vesica, 2005. Photo courtesy of the artist.
9/9: “Mud Architect” by Thomas Porett: a record of artist William Daley creating a new ceramic pot while discussing his ideas about art making and the continuing struggle to keep invention fresh.

“My want is to keep doing what I have been doing since my initial clay seduction: being a joyous maker of possibilities, a maker for joy’s sake.”

Self-proclaimed “mud man” William Daley has been a leading figure in the field of ceramics for close to 60 years. Now in his eighties, he is creating some of the strongest work of his career. Through his large-scale vessels, which he refers to as “Vesicas,” Daley explores geometry, symbols and cultural icons, as well as the relationship of interior and exterior. Daley’s exhibition history dates back to the 1950s and his works have been included in numerous collections at venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the National Museum of Art of the Smithsonian Institution. A former prisoner of war in World War II, Daley received his art education through the G.I. Bill and has spent decades teaching others, both inside the classroom and at lectures, workshops, and symposia around the world. Daley says his desire is to continue honing his craft and exploring further, “being a joyous maker of possibilities, a maker for joy’s sake.”


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The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is a nonprofit organization devoted to the study, practice, and appreciation of photography in the Philadelphia region.