Wellington based Katherine Smyth trained in ceramics at the National Art School in Sydney for 3 years from 1989 - 1991. For 8 years prior to this she had worked full time as a chef.
In 1993, alongside English potter Jim Mason, Katherine spent several months working in a small village near ancient Petra, Jordan. They taught pottery skills to young village women in the hope of reviving local ancient skills and traditions.
Smyth has been back to the Middle East a number of times since the first teaching job. In 1994 she accompanied a group of archaeologists from Sydney University to work on a Middle Bronze Age site in the North of Jordan.
From 1995 until 1998 she was based in London. She had studio space at Great Western Studios and cooked part-time at The Sugar Club. Katherine designed and produced crockery for the restaurant and for Peter Gordon's first two cookbooks.
In 1998 Smyth returned to New Zealand, basing herself in Wellington. She has been a full time potter since the return to New Zealand, exhibiting regularly. Her work is held in a number of local and overseas public collections and New Zealand Embassies. She has guest lectured at Auckland's Unitec, Wellington's Massey University and The National Art School in Sydney, Australia,
In 2001 she designed and produced of a range of tableware for Chow restaurant in Wellington. In 2003 she was awarded a Creative New Zealand Professional Development Grant to travel back to the Middle East to research Bronze Age pottery. In 2004 she was awarded another grant to produce work as an outcome of the research.