John Risley (1919-2001) was an American artist and designer whose work ranged from utilitarian objects and furniture, to sculpture and fine arts. Risley was raised in Waterville, Maine. He was educated at Amherst, the Rhode Island School of Design and the Cranbrook Academy, where in the late 1940s, he met his wife, ceramicist Mary Kring Risley. Both of their work embodied the postwar, American crafts movement, where there was no hierarchy between functional objects and high art. Following Cranbrook, the couple worked for the State Department in the early 1950’s in the Philippines, and later Taiwan, pairing local craft industries and contemporary design. This experience led Risley to incorporate indigenous techniques and materials into his own sculpture and manufactured wood products. In the 1950s, Risley worked as a contract designer for Russell Wright, and later designed furniture distributed by Richards Morganthau’s Raymor line. John and Mary Risley eventually settled in Middletown, Connecticut with their children and lived in a house where nearly everything was made by hand. Risley was a professor at Wesleyan University from 1954 - 1988.