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Marfa man goes across the world to learn the art of pottery

Roberto Dopson learned the tricks of the trade by going international.

MARFA, Texas — The city of Marfa is filled to the brim with art pieces. To say that all of them are pretty to look at is an understatement.

However, Roberto Dopson is interested in a different, more practical, type of art... one that he perfected over years of hard work and dedication.

“This is what's called functional art tableware. It's work that you actually use, you know, cups, bowls, buy a piece of this then you you will use it," Dopson said. "You're not going to just hang it on the wall or put it on the shelf.” 

A successful dentist, Dopson and his wife sold the practice to pursue other dreams.

So, they moved to Alpine to attend Sul Ross University. It was at the University that a mutual love of ceramics was discovered.

“The first class that my wife took at Sul Ross was ceramics and she fell in love with ceramics," Dopson said. "About a year later, I asked her if I could take a class and she said 'yeah, you can take a class but you have to stay up there at the school.'”

But Sul Ross didn't have all the classes they needed. So, they went international, hoping to hone their craft in places like Alberta and Japan.

“We actually did that four times," Dopson said. "[We] went to Japan, because we were just intrigued by the culture and the type of ceramics they were producing over there.”

Dopson and his wife traveled the world taking classes… he eventually settled down in Marfa, where his studio is now.

“About eight years ago, we actually moved our studio from Alpine to Marfa because Marfa is where our our sales are. That's where the market is for this work," Dopson said. "So we're very happy to have a first class ceramic studio here in Marfa.”

Unfortunately, Dopson is manning the studio without his lifeline partner, as she passed away three years ago after a battle with Parkinson's Disease.

But still, Marfa has become a base of operations where he can sell his creations, and there are plenty of galleries to sell from in the town.

It’s a town he is going to stay in for quite some time after years of traveling the globe and perfecting his style.

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