creative spaces: bernard leach

I’m always very inspired by seeing the spaces creative people work in; the tools they use, the things they keep around them for inspiration, the effect of their environment on their work – so this is the first in a series on that very subject; featuring Bernard Leach’s studio and the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall.

Leach pots

Leach pots

The shelves these pots are on are moveable and fit on any shelving system in the studio, meaning whole shelves of pots can be moved from one area to another with as little disruption as possible.

Experimentation with surface decoration

Experimentation with surface decoration

This shows experimentation with different surface decoration techniques, kept for future reference. Also a beautiful item in its own right.

A small selection of the tools used for surface decoration

A small selection of the tools used for surface decoration

This is just a very small selection of the many tools Bernard Leach used to decorate the pots made the Leach Pottery. You can see his Japanese influence in the use of bamboo and also the level of experimentation in his work.

The Leach kick-wheel

The Leach kick-wheel

Another Japanese influence can be seen here in the kick-wheel Bernard Leach designed as a development of the wheels he’d used in Japan. The flywheel is driven by the user’s foot via a cranked peddle, providing steady momentum to the throwing surface.

Tranquility

Tranquility

I loved this little sign in the throwing room, which simply said; “tranquility”.

Metal cup

Metal cup

I suspect this little cup was a functional item rather than kept for inspiration, but what lovely shapes and surface patina.

Elephants

Elephants

There were a few of these series of animals dotted around the studio – I’m not sure if they were a serious product development or just made for fun, but they made me smile!

One of the modern day kilns

One of the modern day kilns

The Leach pottery is now producing pottery again – new workshops were completed in February 2009 and are headed up by lead potter, Jack Doherty. Work focuses on production of the Leach Pottery’s fabulous new tableware range and on development of each potter’s individual work.

Pots by Jeremy Leach Grandson of Bernard Leach)

Pots by Jeremy Leach (Grandson of Bernard Leach)

And it’s great to see that pottery has stayed in the family, with these gorgeous jugs produced by Jeremy Leach and shown as part of the “Black” exhibition which runs until 28th November 2010.

Further reading for the especially geeky:

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5 responses to “creative spaces: bernard leach

  1. This is a great series Katie, love it! It’s so much fun to see people’s creative spaces……..Now you got me in the mood for some pottery…There are far too many things I want to do at the moment 😉

  2. Barbara Chandler

    Lovely emotive piece

  3. Thanks so much for the lovely comments Arianna and Barbara x

  4. Thank you Katie! This is the first blog I have read and responded to, – maybe not the last! Having been a potter for 30 plus years, and very influenced by Bernard Leach, I read your blog post with interest. I met both David and John Leach, and have a couple of David Leach teapots, and was down in Cornwall at the museum a couple of years ago, so was very interested to hear that the Leach pottery is functioning again. Also to see Jeremy’s pots. So thank you!

    • Veda,

      Wow I can’t believe you met them both – very exciting! Are you still potting? I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. It’s definitely worth popping in if you’re ever in Cornwall again – they’re producing some lovely work.

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Katie xx

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