Rupert Spira

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Rupert Spira
Born (1960-03-13) March 13, 1960 (age 59)
London, United Kingdom
OccupationPotter, author, spiritual teacher
GenrePottery, nonduality
SpouseEllen Emmet
In ignorance, I am something; in understanding, I am nothing; in love, I am everything.

Rupert Spira /ˈsprə/ (born March 13, 1960) is an international teacher of the Advaita Vedanta direct path method of spiritual self enquiry through talks and writing, and a notable English potter and studio potter with work in public and private collections.

Early life[edit]

Spira was born in London in 1960. He graduated from West Surrey College of Art and took an apprenticeship at Wenford Bridge Pottery.[1]

He first studied with Henry Hammond and later with Michael Cardew at Wenford Bridge Pottery from 1980 to 1982.[2]


Medium size open poem bowl (43cm x 38cm x 12 cm)
Medium white glaze bowl (35cm x 26cm x 14cm)

Spira's early wheel-based pottery work reflected these early influences being in a very traditional Bernard Leach utilitarian style. This work is mostly practical in nature, taking the form of teapots, vases, vessels, plates and other culinary ware.

In 1996, he set up his own pottery at Church Farm in Shropshire where his style changed from a functional to a more minimalist, finer, more complex style ranging in size from miniature to large-scale. While he continues to make and sell functional pottery he is now known for this more recent studio pottery. His best and most recognizable work contains poems, both self-written and by Kathleen Raine the celebrated British poet. The poems are either scratched into the glaze in the sgraffito style or written as embossed letters either in a square block or in a single line across the surface of the vessel.[3] These works vary in size from small prayer bowls only a few centimetres across through to huge, open bowls 50cm or more in diameter. He is also known for his cylinders which are often made as part of a series and while each stands alone, are meant to be exhibited as a group. These also vary in scale from a few centimetres high through to the largest being a meter or more tall. He works in a limited palette, mainly simple white, off-white and black monochromes but he does also occasionally make deep, red-glazed bowls and bright yellow tea sets.[1]

His work appears in many galleries throughout Britain including the Victoria and Albert Museum and Sainsbury collection as well as in many private collections worldwide.

Spiritual teaching[edit]

Spira is also a spiritual teacher and writer in the branch of nonduality, (Advaita in Sanskrit), exploring the nature of experience in his essays and texts. He has published several books (see below), and a few DVDs with interviews. He holds regular meetings and retreats in the UK, Europe and the US.

He continually works to investigate the nature of mind and reality through his philosophy and pottery. The pottery is the result of the artist's wish to make elegant pieces, in harmony with nature and human awareness.[1]

Other media[edit]

One of his talks about nonduality is included in the video game The Witness.

Personal life[edit]

Spira is married to Ellen Emmett, a therapist and yoga instructor in the non-dual tradition of Kashmir Shaivism. He has a son Matthew. Spira lives and works in Oxford, U.K, and travels internationally to teach non-duality.

Selected public collections[edit]


  • The Transparency of Things, Non-Duality Press, 2008
  • Presence: The Art of Peace and Happiness, Non-Duality Press, 2011
  • Presence: The Intimacy of all Experience, Non-Duality Press, 2011
  • The Ashes of Love, Sahaja Publications, 2016
  • The Nature of Consciousness, Sahaja Publications, 2017
  • Being Aware of Being Aware, Sahaja Publications, 2017


External links[edit]