BEHIND THE SCENES AT ST IVES BERNARD LEACH POTTERY
PUBLISHED: 11:23 06 January 2015 | UPDATED: 13:12 30 August 2017
Discover the history of St Ives Bernard Leach Pottery and how it has become a thriving ceramics industry
Bernard Leach began a ceramics revolution when he opened the doors of his eponymous studios almost a century ago. Today the studio boasts an international reputation and a school designed to keep this ancient medium alive and kicking, discovers CAROL BURNS.
Potters from across the world flock to St Ives to work and train at the internationally renowned Leach Pottery. Over almost a century of pottery production, it has forged the shape of studio pottery production in the UK and beyond, creating a uniquely international environment in the heart of Cornwall in the artistic Mecca that is St Ives.
The Leach Pottery continues to dominate in the world of ceramics, mostly thanks to its work to safeguard the future of British pottery. The Leach Pottery is one of the UK’s new Craft Trailblazers, a group of key employers who have set the national standards for new government-backed craft apprenticeships to train the future potters in the UK.
And throughout the Christmas season, the Leach Pottery will present an exhibition of limited edition studio pieces which will showcase the talent of its own international team of potters now at work in the studio.
Works on display include new takes on the traditional forms for which Bernard Leach was famous. These include stunning moon jars, large water pitchers, fruit bowls and chargers, all finished with a range glorious glazes – many of which have been in use at Leach since the 1940s.
Since reopening in 2008 the Leach Pottery has built on a prestigious history of cultural exchange and excellence in craft, which has helped renew its success in production pottery. Today its thriving studio is combined with a well-visited museum, exhibition space and ceramics gallery. Lead Potter John Bedding and Senior Production Potter Roelof Uys run a studio staffed by potters from Germany, the USA and Cornwall. Apprentice Callum Trudgeon is the first recipient of the new Seasalt Bursary which offers one individual the opportunity to study at the Leach studio.
In the museum’s Entrance Gallery visitors can see pieces from the pottery’s permanent collection providing a visual feast of ceramics helping to set the scene for its place in history. Work featured includes pieces by Bernard Leach (of course), Shoji Hamada, William Marshall, Janet Leach, David Leach, Michael Cardew and Kenneth Quick.
But its not all about high art and history. Leach Pottery has a range of contemporary soda-fired Tableware range and a reduction-glazed tableware which was launched in June of this year.
From The Studio’ is on show until 31 January 2015 with all pots for sale.
Bernard Leach: The father of British studio pottery
Bernard Howell Leach, CH, CBE, was born January 5, 1887, Hong Kong, China and was educated at Slade School of Fine Art and studied etching at the London School of Art before settling in Japan where he became fascinated with pottery. In 1920 he came back to England and set up his pottery in St Ives. By the time he died in May 1979, he had created one of the most respected and influential studio potteries in the world.
Today The Leach Pottery is managed by the Bernard Leach (St Ives) Trust Ltd, a registered charity founded in 2005. Its aim is to further the development of studio pottery, provide training in the art, craft and making of pottery and to advance the public education of the life and work of Bernard Leach and his circle.