David William Pye studied at the Architectural Association (AA) in London, and after graduating, spent the first three years of his career working as an architect, latterly specialising in wooden buildings. At the start of the Second World War, Pye enlisted with the Royal Navy and taught briefly at the AA.
Pye’s main career was in teaching and he spent 26 years at the Royal College of Art, London (1948-1974), and for the last decade was Professor of Furniture Design.
An acclaimed writer, Pye’s 1968 book The Nature and Art of Workmanship had a long-lasting influence on the crafts, and was followed a decade later by The Nature & Aesthetics of Design.
Through out his career, Pye designed furniture for industrial production, and crafted wooden bowls and boxes. The unusual fluted bowls and boxes he created were carved, as opposed to being turned, on a lathe or ‘fluting engine’, which he had invented in 1949/50.
Pye exhibited and sold his work continuously from 1949 to the early 1980s and in 1984-5 the Crafts Council arranged a touring retrospective exhibition of his work. In 1985 he was awarded an OBE.