William Daley was born in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. A major figure in American studio ceramics, he began his art career on the G.I. Bill after World War II, earning a B.S. degree at the Massachusetts College of Art and an M.A. degree at Columbia University.
Daley has consistenly demonstrated that his thin-walled vessels in concave and convex shapes can be made into architetronic objects. He hand-builds all objects and leaves them unglazed so as not to diminish their angles and lines. Surface areas are burnished to offer tonal variations in the clay.
From 1957 to 1990, Daley was a professor of ceramics and industrial design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)