Deborah Smith was graduated in Japanese language from Stanford University in 1966, and subsequently spent two years in Japan. She studied pottery with Araki Takako in Nishinomiya, and later was apprenticed for one year to master potter Yamamoto Toshu of Bizen. Returning to her native Los Angeles for a year of graduate study at USC, she met fellow Californian Ray Meeker in the ceramics department in 1969. The following year, on her way to India, she spent three months in Mashiko, Japan, as translator and companion to Susan Peterson during Peterson’s research of her book on Hamada Shoji. Since December 1970 Deborah Smith has resided in Pondicherry, on India’s southeastern coast, where she manages the Golden Bridge Pottery, which she founded, with Ray Meeker, in 1971.