Born in Winchcombe, he was one of three sons of Michael Cardew. He studied painting at Chelsea School of Art and later sculpture at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. he worked as a sculptor and model maker at Pinewood studios, a career he was forced to abandon due to pressure from his family to work at Wenford Bridge. He moved to Cornwall in 1970 to assist his father and took over the running of the Wenford Bridge Pottery on his father’s death in 1983. He was a polymath and was talented in music and literature as well as art. He was especially skilled in his brushwork and decoration.