Alan Caiger-Smith trained at the Central School of Art and Design, where he was guided by Dora Billington in to Tin glaze Earthenware. In 1955 he established the Aldermaston Pottery, which closed in 1993 leaving Alan free to focus on his personal work. Previously, ceramic artists such as Gill Bent had come to develop their own techniques under Alan at Aldermaston.He gained much inspiration from pots in the Fitzwilliam Museum especially the brushwork and colour of the Gaisher Collection of tin glaze wares and the Ades collection of Persian Lustre.
He later developed the demanding technique of reduction-fired lustre pottery. Now fifty years on, much of his work is related to the ceramic traditions that these collections represent.
Describing his pottery as a "convivial activity", Alan concentrates not only on the building of kilns, the preparation of materials, the making itself and the firing (lustre work is wood fired) but also on "the ideas behind the pots and their decoration." His emphasis on touch and balance in his work and his use of brushwork, colour and form, seek to communicate special qualities that will create a relationship to people. He hopes "the dance around the silent form" is more than purely decorative.