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Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Some English Slipwares: 6 October – 12 December 2015 Š Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Falkner Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7DS Curator: Professor Simon Olding Curatorial support: Jean Vacher Design: David Hyde Technical support: Hannah Facey and Peter Vacher Administration: Margaret Madden and Ingrid Stocker Transport: Mark Watson Transport; Oxford Gallery The Crafts Study Centre is extremely grateful to the following makers, collectors and museums who have generously loaned work to the exhibition: Hampshire Cultural Trust; Professsor Alice Kettle; Michael OBrien; Sandy Brown; Philip Leach; Frannie Leach; Geraldine Richmond-Watson; Joanna Wason; Basil Woodd-Walker; Julia Quigley; Philip Eglin; James Fordham, Oxford Gallery; Ceramics Collection and Archive, Aberystwyth University.


Some English Slipwares

CONTENTS What is slipware? ........................................................................................................ 5 Introduction ............................................................................................................... 6 Place, tradition and iconography: Bernard Leach and Simon Carroll .............................. 7 The exhibits .............................................................................................................. 18 Philip Leach: Jug making – a Bernard Leach grandson approach ................................. 30 Joanna Wason ............................................................................................................ 34

Slipware dish, Michael Cardew: see page 19


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Square vase with rounded feet, Simon Carroll: see page 23


Some English Slipwares

WHAT IS SLIPWARE? ‘What is meant by “slipware”? It sounds like skating or sliding, not like pottery…Firstly, it is lead-glazed earthenware – firing temperature between 8900C and 11000C. Secondly, the pots are decorated with coloured “slip” before they are fired in the kiln. Slip is clay mixed with water…All work that is earthenware and decorated in any way with slips before firing is called slipware’. Mary Wondrausch, Mary Wondrausch on Slipware (2001), A&C Black, p.7


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

INTRODUCTION This exhibition reflects on the development of

The exhibition presents work that operates within

slipware in English studio ceramics from the 1920s

a convention of slipware decoration, and it shows

to the present day. It takes as a starting point a

how the fluidity and risk of the technique can

slipware jug from Bideford, North Devon dated

be utilized with artistic freedom and spontaneity.

1843. 19th century slipware pieces such as this

There are rare examples of slipware by potters who

inspired the early studio potters, Bernard Leach,

only made in this technique occasionally (Henry

Hamada Shoji and Michael Cardew. Leach stated

Hammond and Katherine Pleydell-Bouverie, for

that Cardew ‘along with Hamada and I, rescued

example). Contemporary makers such as Sandy

English slip-ware from entire loss’, and their creative

Brown, Simon Carroll and Alison Britton have used

intervention can be felt through to work made in

their knowledge of slipware technique and history

the 21st century. The exhibition places early studio

to create inventive and entirely original forms.

work alongside contemporary pieces, both to establish how a tradition is kept alive, and how it is challenged and subverted. It shows how domestic jugs can both serve a function and a message.


Some English Slipwares

place, tradition and iconography Bernard Leach

study and the study of images of work informed

In the 1920s, Bernard Leach made a series of large,

his practice. He regularly spent time in museums

slip-decorated earthenware plates. Nothing like

and commercial galleries in Tokyo, and he was a

these plates had been made in England since the

critical reader.

late 17th century, when Thomas Toft in Burslem,

The 17th century slipware chargers reached

Staffordshire and his fellow makers produced

their apogee in Ralph and Thomas Toft’s and Ralph

magnificent slipware chargers. Some 40 of these

Simpson’s work – vital and rapidly composed

works, dating back to the 1670s, and signed by

plates intended as special commemorative pieces

Toft, still survive. His designs include mermaids,

made for weddings or christenings and intended

unicorns and pelicans; portraits of King Charles II

for proud display as family heirlooms. The figures

and Queen Catherine and coats of arms. They are

that appeared on them were drawn, as Emmanuel

marked with a cross-hatched rim. They resonate

Cooper says, ‘with little or no regard for anatomical

with a national iconography and narrative.They are

detail’. The compositions fill the whole well of

celebratory, vigorous in conception and execution.

the plate and are characterized by a successful

They commonly offer praise: the praise of a system

combination of abstract and figurative designs, and

of royalty or of folk lore.

very often lettering appears on the rim: Thomas

Bernard Leach came across these bold, dynamic

Toft’s name, for example, plus a date.

pots in 1913, four years into his first extensive period

One significant source for Leach’s study of these

of residence as a young man in Japan, and some two

slipwares was a book by Charles J Lomax, Quaint

years after his first exposure to the craft of pottery.

Old English Pottery, which had been purchased for

He was still working through his ideas as a potter,

him by his artist friend Tomimoto. Lomax’s book

searching for an accommodation of style, motif,

had been privately published in 1909. It was a major

materials and form, doing this through the means

source book for Leach. Quaint Old English Pottery

of practice, consultation and experimentation. He

provided a commentary on a private collection

was also very persistent as a researcher, and artifact

drawn together by Charles Lomax of English 7

Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

earthenware, featuring the works of Thomas Toft

and artists. Soetsu Yanagi, for example, published a

and his family and fellow potters. It stirred Leach,

massive volume on Blake in 1914, the first in Japan,

and stimulated his desire to make slipware both in

dedicating it to Leach. It was a cultural exchange.

Japan and in St Ives. The ‘devices and decorative

But there was also an economic dimension to these

treatments’ to use Emmanuel Cooper’s phrase are

interplays. Leach wrote in A Potter’s Outlook that:

explicitly derived from such slipwares.

‘having become a potter in Japan – a land still new

Leach’s first experimental work in slipware, perhaps

to the affairs of industrialization – I did not realize

his very first, is seen on this little plate, 21 centimetres

the chasm which a century of factories had torn

wide, dating from 1917, now in a private collection.

between ordinary life and hand crafts such as mine.

It reveals something of Leach’s intense urge to cover

I thought that, as in Japan, the work would speak

surface: to crowd it with a fluid imagery and text,

for itself. But I have been forced to the conclusion

as if to load the plate with thought and reference,

that, except for the very few, this is not the case,

and then to free it from this dense context by his

and that unless the potter, weaver, wheelwright or

depiction of the bird’s rapid flight. It is as if his mind is

other craftsman, tells his own tale, no one else will

in tumult, and this tiny surface is all he has to express

or can do it for him’.

himself: as a painter, a reader, a critic and student of

And so, in this precursive Japanese-made plate,

pottery. This exceptionally rare plate, made in Japan,

Leach finds that slip-trailing from 17th century

is a precursor to his large chargers of the 1920s. The

England gives him the essential means to draw

little bird, perhaps a dove, perhaps the symbolic bird

together the creative forces of literature and poetry,

of peace, perhaps a sky lark, perhaps the precursor

and through drawing and writing in slip, he can

to an elegant cormorant that flies across many of

express the individuality of the hand made on the

his pots across his long career, is in a kind of rapt

simplest of domestic forms. It is a remarkable little

flight. The quotation form William Blake’s prophetic

plate: one in which pace, enquiry and reflection are

Book of Urizen reminds us of the significance of the

all in flux. This may be a Staffordshire pot as much

mystical poet to Leach and to his Japanese friends

as a Japanese one. Leach was reflecting on images


Some English Slipwares

of Thomas Toft’s slipware chargers and other wares

remarkable for its individuality, its melding of

made at Burslem at the same time, and their role

English and Japanese iconography. He depicts a

as exemplars of an English ‘folk art’. Emmanuel

Japanese Well head; a Griffin from English heraldry;

Cooper asserts that ‘their unselfconscious sense of

the tree of life; the Pelican in her Piety; a deer,

pattern, inventive interpretation and the placing of

an owl, this last plate placed above the fireplace in

bold designs struck him as a successful blend of

the Leach Pottery. Sometimes these images were

skill and intuitive aesthetic handling’. Leach made

embedded in the mythology of Cornwall as in the

at least one larger slipware charger in Japan, a Hare

Mermaid of Zennor plate, a dish that for a moment

Dish in raku in 1919, now in the collection of the

in time Leach intended as a gift to the Crafts Study

Japan Folk Craft Museum in Tokyo. He gave it to

Centre collection, although it was passed to his son

his lifelong friend Soetsu Yanagi and said ‘this was

David instead, and is now in the collection of the

my first attempt after having started making pots

Harris Museum, Preston.

in an alien country to get my feet on the ground

Leach’s slipwares fuse culture: East and West.

of English tradition’. He was doing so here by

They fuse time: the chargers of the 1920s could

synthesis and study, and he began to realize in 1919

not have been made without reference to those

that he could ‘make pottery under circumstances

of the 1680s. They use the techniques that were

which offer unusually favourable opportunities for

appropriate for the job at hand: raku firings at first,

the development of his art’.This he would do, from

the use of Red Devon Clay. They are transitional

1920 onwards, in St Ives.

pots. They were also notoriously difficult to make

Leach slipware chargers formed an important

without error. They often simply exploded in the

part of his output at the Leach Pottery in Cornwall

kiln or misfired. They are prone to damage and

throughout the 1920s. He followed the style of

often carry deep firing cracks. The glaze does not

Thomas Toft by giving them a cross hatched rim

always cover the surface of the slip painting. But

and he sometimes signed his works on the rim,

they are also joyous exemplars of vernacular art,

as Toft had done before him. But his imagery is

and just occasionally after the 1920s, Leach would 9

Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

make a slipware piece perhaps to remind himself of

master, explaining the finer points of making a jug,

their potency and the vital role they played in the

plate or mug to his assistants.The Owl charger took

development of his practice and his search for an

pride of place here. After Leach’s death, and perhaps

independent artistic voice.

around the time of Janet Leach’s death, these two

The slipware chargers were also important

Tang figures and the owl charger disappeared from

because they laid out a template for a related

the pottery into a private collection in St Ives:

series of large plates he made in the 1920s with

perhaps donated by Leach. The Leach Pottery

iron brushwork rather than slip painting, including

decided some years ago to clear and stabilize the

one work in the Crafts Study Centre’s collections

fireplace so that it could be lit again, and in the spirit

showing Bali shadow puppets.

of recapturing the special significance of this micro

Leach was to say that ‘only in the remnants of

site, took steps to reconstruct the tableau of pots

folk life and folk culture will you find what I call

that had played such vital testimony to the sense

pattern. It’s comparable to metaphors, to poems,

of place and the idea of conversing about ceramics

to tools, little abstract simplifications of sound,

in the sight of exemplar works. The Leach Pottery

colours, shapes which can be repeated quickly as

commissioned Philip Leach (who was born in Four

in music or dance or in poetic couplets. William

Marks, Hampshire in 1947), Bernard’s grandson, to

Blake’s are good examples’.

make a slipware charger to take the place of the

As a postscript to Bernard Leach’s slipwares,

original. Philip takes up the story:

I want to remark, briefly, on the way that he

‘Making jugs in the old Leach Pottery St Ives.

displayed one charger, in particular. I mean his owl

Full to the brim with memories: Bill Marshall,

plate, which was situated in the corner fireplace

Scot Marshall, Paul Vibert, Horatio Dunn, Uncle

of the Leach Pottery. Two Tang figures from his

David, my Dad to name a few. Mr Laposter, now,

personal collection of ceramics were placed in the

how did you spell his name, a gardener taught me

niches above the fireplace. It was a place where

to pull up stinging nettles, just grab them hard!

Leach settled and performed the role of the pottery

No, it didn’t seem to work. The owl platter was


Some English Slipwares

quite a curiosity because Bernard’s original platter

Simon Carroll

was heavily influenced I think by an owl from The

It may seem like a cultural wrench to take you

Slipware Book which inspired a lot of his work at

from the Leach Pottery to Simon Carroll, but I

that time…His owl was quite comical – brush

want to make a case for such a juxtaposition. I can

drawn, tinted possibly with an iron wash and glazed

bring geography in to my argument. Bernard Leach

in galena, I think.

settled, as we know, famously in St Ives in 1920

I decided to go for a trailed platter white slip

to establish the Leach Pottery. Simon Carroll set

on black and a honey glaze. Throwing in the old

up his first studio in his home town of Hereford,

workshop my back was near an incredibly cold

but eventually relocated to Cornwall in 2004.

damp wall and by the third morning I had managed

Here, he rented an unprepossessing but serviceable

to tear a muscle in my lower back. I realized that

Nissen Hut in a disused old airfield near Padstow.

working out of my comfort zone I was having

Carroll described, in an early artist’s statement, his

problems achieving the size of platter for this

journey from making domestic wares through to

project. A bit of potter’s bad luck crept in and the

the dramatic, vibrant, sculptural vessels with which

kiln managed to crack the two best plates so I was

he made his reputation as a ceramic artist resonate.

unable to have a worthy piece for the opening of

In this early artist’s statement he discussed this

the fireplace. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction

transition in his practice as well as the significance

with the visitors passing through and had some

of his observation of early English slipwares and

good chats…I have just read the correspondence

the part they played in his creative work:

between Yanagi and Bernard from 1912–1958

‘I have been working from traditional hand-made

and together with my own experience now I feel

pottery for a while, mainly ‘panchions’, large old

the Leach Pottery has very much a life of its own.

storage pots glazed on the inside and once used in

I have persevered and thrown four more platters

sculleries and kitchens for holding flour and cream.

now measuring about 16 inches and finished one

I like to consider the potters who made them,

which I think is worthy of the fireplace’.

their way of life, attitudes and approaches to the 11

Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

clay, which I feel they probably saw as churning

on pointed feet, for example) came in 2005 in

out the carrier bags of their time, having good days

preparation for his one person touring exhibition

and bad days and leaving visible evidence of their

curated by Emmanuel Cooper for Tate St Ives.

experience in their pots; scratches, finger marks,

It ended its tour at the Crafts Study Centre in

cracks and foreign bodies which affected the glazes.

2007. The Tate curators of the show, Sara Hughes

For my most recent work I have looked into

and Susan Daniel-McElroy remarked that these

17th and 18th century slipware, visiting museums

works had ‘a compelling unpredictability…whilst

to see the pots in the flesh and speaking to the

firmly rooted in the traditions of English slipware,

experts to find out exactly how they were made.

these works are not politely nostalgic and subvert

I am now attempting to create pots in the same

any expectations of the ubiquitous pot or the

way, while adding a few ingredients of my own.

perfect form’. Emmanuel Cooper also notes how

I throw my pots using raku, white stoneware, red

Carroll’s observation of the history of ceramics,

clay or combinations of these mixed with a large

and particularly English slipwares, underpins his

amount of smashed up house brick or tile, which

‘understanding and inventive use of material and in

I usually leave thick. I decorate these with white,

the fantasy of figurative, floral and abstract mark-

black and red slip and when they are almost dry

making. His loose, free approach to creating work…

I use an old wood saw to cut it up and break off

is part of a paradoxical quest for both freedom and

pieces, leaving isolated decoration on the fragments.

control, for suggestion and statement’.

Each piece is raw glazed and fired to about 1020

One might say that what Simon Carroll has

to 1060 degrees Centigrade. After firing I examine

taken from slipware is its spontaneity, the need for

what I have and re-fire the pieces, adding more

speed in the mark making, its risk and its joyful

glaze in places. Finally I reassemble the pot’.

expressiveness. Slipware is not an art of restraint

The great flowering of these tortured ‘slipwares’

here. Carroll prefers an abstract line, although in

(Carroll called them, variously, tall vases, thrown

some commanding vases a leaf like pattern, deeply

square pots, short vases or thrown square vase

gouged into the clay, appears. These are profoundly


Some English Slipwares

manipulated vessels: hit at, punched at, wrestled

Leach’s. They both, it seems to me, assimilated a

and fought over in the manner of Peter Voulkos,

tradition by observation, contemplation, handling

for example. Then they are slip-painted with

and reading. They respected this convention and

honey and tin glazes. Patches of red earthenware

then ignored aspects of its. They interpreted it in

are left untouched, sometimes, to contrast with

uniquely personal ways.

the free marking and abandoned painting. Every vessel seems both totemically still and feverishly

Why is this important to the Crafts Study

full of movement. Emmanuel Cooper remarks


how Carroll’s pots ‘freely thrown, wobbly and

First, and prosaically, because the Centre has long

wayward, are decorated with spots and drizzles

held an ambition to acquire a work by Simon Carroll

of glaze and splashes of slip in compositions that

for the collections: both to represent a significant

have all the dynamism and abandon of a Jackson

contemporary maker with a fine piece, but also as a

Pollok action painting’. They are pots of Cornwall

counterpoint to our collection of modern slipwares

by way of American Abstract Expressionism.

by Leach and Michael Cardew, who contributed

Carroll’s major touring show for Tate St Ives took

so significantly to the development of the genre.

these cultural references into play with even more

And then to stand up against the works by Dylan

vigour: Elizabethan ruffs, 18th century porcelains,

Bowen and Clive Bowen that we have acquired

decoration on Oribe Wares from Japan are all

more recently.

introduced. He wrote in 2002 that ‘it has always

The work we have acquired is called Square

been a good practice for artists to draw and look

Vessel with Rounded Feet and was recently displayed

at tradition. I believe this to be fundamental and



‘Simon Carroll: Expressionist Potter’, at the





And it is in this reimagining of slipware that

Victoria & Albert Museum and then touring to

Simon Carroll’s hand reaches down the 20 miles

the Ruthann Craft Centre. The expert advisors

of coast from Padstow to St Ives and touches

on our Acquisition Committee, Alison Britton 13

Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

and Felicity Aylieff, have been champions of this

collections include Pool by Alison Britton, in a style

purchase. Felicity wrote about Carroll in support of

more carefully composed than Carroll’s. Works by

the grant applications that he was ‘one of a handful

Clive Bowen (a large bread bin and vase) contain

of artist potters to recognize and use the wheel

naturalistic imagery as well as free, abstract lines, but

as a creative tool. His inventive and often radical

they are expressly functional works. Alison Britton

approach towards the generation of form and the

says that “Simon Carroll had an extraordinary

application of coloured slips and glazes has had an

verve with the practice of throwing and took it

enormous influence on many who have followed’.

into new and inspiriting territory. But beyond this,

To my mind, Carroll’s dominance over clay and the

and outstanding in my view, was the way the freely

abandoned moment of making is replicated in the

painted surface developed with the bravura of the

work of Sandy Brown, Ashley Howard and Gareth

forms, was built up and clawed into by his hands,

Mason amongst contemporary potters.

sloshed with slip and glaze, keeping a sense of the

I made this case to our potential funders (the Art

plasticity of clay. This work expresses many of his

Fund and the V&A Museum Purchase Fund):

painter/sculptor concerns in its formal variations

‘The work by Simon Carroll is expressive, gnarled,

from plane to plane”’.

fought over and radical in its shape. Its painting and slip trailing and scorings are done intuitively


and at speed. They carry the powerful trace of the

Leach and Carroll are unlikely companions. But in

hand, not content with a graceful or mannered line,

the re-imagining of English slipware in the 1920s

or the need to control the slip trailer with over

and in the first decade of the 21st century, they

precision. This is like painting with watercolour:

found common cause as artist potters. The faint

once the mark is applied, it has to stay in place.

spirit of Thomas Toft hovers behind them: and the

Everything depends on the moment. One can

English tradition of slipware has been immeasurably

argue that immediacy and spontaneity are the

enriched by what they have achieved. These

mark of all studio slipware. Pieces in the Centre’s

magnificent and individualistic works also pay due


Some English Slipwares

reference to the potters of the past, and unleash their own sense of the worlds of painting, literature and the home. As one critic of Leach’s famously said of an exhibition held in Japan in the 1920s: ‘we admire your stoneware – influenced by the East – but we love your English slipware – born, not made’. Simon Olding, 10 June 2015 Edited from the lecture given to the symposium Shima Kara Shima E, 4 December 2014, held at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, commissioned by the symposium director Ashley Howard.


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Shallow bowl, Henry Hammond: see page 25


Some English Slipwares

Circular yellow and brown slipware dish, Michael Cardew: see page 22


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist


Slipware jug Bideford, North Devon, dated 1843

Earthenware jar Paul Barron, 1950s

Loan: Hampshire Cultural Trust

Paul Barron taught at the West Surrey College of Art & Design, Farnham from 1949 –82 with Henry Hammond, and he shared a studio with Hammond in Bentley, Hampshire. Barron has used red earthenware clay covered with white slip and sgraffito decoration. The jar was donated to Harold and Doreen Cheesman in the 1950s when Harold was a lecturer at the Farnham School of Art.

CRH 1968.121.3

Loan: Julia Quigley


Tall, lidded jar Clive Bowen, circa 1990s Thrown, earthenware, sgraffito and painted decoration, honey coloured glaze. Winchcombe recipe type. Crafts Study Centre 2011.15.a-b

Some English Slipwares

‘Pool’ Alison Britton, 2012

Thrown and altered vessel Dylan Bowen, circa 2013 Dark brown and cream slip, combed decoration below neck. Crafts Study Centre 2013.10

Built in slabs of red earthenware with poured slip and glaze.‘It was first fired to 11800C, is made of Keupers Red Earthenware, and the poured areas are first slip and then after biscuit firing, clear and coloured glaze, refired to 11000C.’ (Alison Britton) Crafts Study Centre 2014.21

‘Sgraffito scribble’ Sandy Brown, 2014 This vessel was made by Sandy Brown during a ceramic firing organized by John Edgler at Bideford in 2014. She has added an image of a rowing boat to denote her long standing activity as a rower. Loan: Sandy Brown


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Slipware plate Michael Cardew, ‘River Pattern’, circa 1970 Michael OBrien bought the plate directly from Michael Cardew when he was leaving Wenford Bridge in 1974. He notes that ‘it had probably been up in his office (ie not for sale) for a couple of years. It is made from the Wenford throwing body with combing through white slip and glazed with the then ‘Standard’ glaze, a slip-glaze and fired to Cone 8 B’. Loan: Michael OBrien


Slipware jug Michael Cardew Loan: Michael OBrien

Oval dish Michael Cardew, 1930s Slipware, Winchcombe Pottery. From the dinner service commissioned by the literary critic and Cambridge academic F. R. Leavis.

Some English Slipwares

Slipware dish Michael Cardew, 1930s

Large teapot with a cane handle Michael Cardew, c. 1935

Plate Michael Cardew, 1930s

Moulded, trailed slip decoration.

Earthenware, red body, galena glaze over all excluding unglazed rim to lid and band at base.

Slipware, red body, combed decoration within circle.

Crafts Study Centre P.74.66

Crafts Study Centre P.74.56



Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Slipware jug Michael Cardew, 1930s Sgraffito decoration through white slip.

Circular yellow and brown slipware dish Michael Cardew, early 1930s

From the dinner service commissioned by F. R. Leavis and his wife Queenie.

Clear iron oxide glaze over sgraffito decoration through white slip.

Crafts Study Centre P.82.4

Crafts Study Centre P.82.1


Oval baking dish Michael Cardew, c. 1930s Thrown and altered, red earthenware, dark slip and white trailed decoration, galena glaze. Crafts Study Centre 2009.1

Some English Slipwares

Set of five soup bowls Michael Cardew, early 1930s Slip-trailed decoration under honey-coloured glaze. Part of a dinner service that was commissioned by the literary critic F. R. Leavis and his wife Queenie. Crafts Study Centre P.82.5.a-e

Square vase with rounded feet Simon Carroll, 2005 Hand-built vessel, slip and glaze. Purchased with the support of funds from the Art Fund and the V&A Museum Purchase Fund. Crafts Study Centre 2015.8


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Pitcher jug W Fishley-Holland, 1949 Jug ‘Slipping the Trail’ Philip Eglin, 2015

‘Swirl’ jug Philip Eglin, 2015

Made for a solo exhibition for the Ceramic Centre and Archive, Aberystwyth University, ‘Slipping the Trail & Responding to the Buckley Pottery in the Aberystwyth Collection’, 2015 and then touring in 2016.

Made for a solo exhibition for the Ceramic Centre and Archive, Aberystwyth University, ‘Slipping the Trail & Responding to the Buckley Pottery in the Aberystwyth Collection’, 2015 and then touring in 2016.

Loan: Philip Eglin with thanks to the Ceramic Centre and Archive, Aberystwyth University and the Oxford Gallery

Loan: Philip Eglin with thanks to the Ceramic Centre and Archive, Aberystwyth University and the Oxford Gallery


Slipware, sgrafffito decoration of a farm and animals round form. ‘Fill me with liquor sweet for that is good when friends do meet. When friends do meet & liquor plenty - fill me again when I.B.M.T.’ inscribed around form beneath handle. ‘To Bernard Leach from W. Fishley Holland Potter 1949’ inscribed at foot. Part of Bernard Leach reference collection Crafts Study Centre P.79.65

Some English Slipwares

Large dish T.S. (Sam) Haile, 1945-6

Shallow bowl Henry Hammond, 1946–51

Slipware with white slip trailed decoration under a clear glaze and black slip over a red earthenware clay body.

Turned foot, earthenware, red clay body, black slip coated interior, transparent glaze, white slip trailed decoration in a stylized leaf pattern over a resist outline.

Crafts Study Centre P.80.2

Crafts Study Centre P.89.5

Large harvest jug The textile artist Alice Kettle and the potter Alex McErlain often collaborated when they worked together at Manchester Metropolitan University. Their interest in collaboration was also made explicit in the ‘Pairings’ exhibition (Stroud International Textiles) as they sought to create ‘a dialogue between makers and materials in order to learn and understand an alternative perspective and reflect back on one’s own’. Loan: Professor Alice Kettle


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Dish Bernard Leach, 1953 Baluster-shaped slipware vase Bernard Leach, 1933 –35

Slipware, sgraffito decoration inside rim. Made in Fujina Pottery, Japan.

Made in Dartington, Devon.

Crafts Study Centre P.75.44

Crafts Study Centre P.75.46


Lidded oven dish Frannie Leach, Springfield Pottery, circa 2014 Loan: Frannie Leach

Some English Slipwares

Trailed bowl Philip Leach, Springfield Pottery, 2015

Large jug Philip Leach, Springfield Pottery, circa 2014 Experimenting with pouring and marbelling with black and white slips, then adding brushed on colours before glazing in a borax glaze, electric kiln firing. Loan: Geraldine Richmond-Watson

‘I made the bowl shortly after watching Michael Cardew throw a bowl when he was practically in his 80s on a video clip. He slowly thumped the clay on a wheel into a fairly even ring, and then with a slurry mix threw up the bowl on an old kick wheel. It was great to listen and to watch’. Loan: Philip Leach

Large jug with Minoan and traditional influences Philip Leach, Springfield Pottery, 2015 Hakeme brushed white slip over black, slip trailed octopus fully round the jug, poured honey lead bisilicate glaze with copper blue alkaline glaze overlapping, reduction firing in gas kiln bringing out the red copper. Loan: Philip Leach


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Two harvest jugs Emilie Taylor, 2014

Large dish Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie, 1961 Brown and white slipware, clear glaze over trailed and combed white slip decoration on interior, unglazed with incised decoration on exterior. Crafts Study Centre P.84.7

Emilie Taylor was artist in residence at Manor Estate, Sheffield and Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire in a project led by Yorkshire Artspace. Stoker Devonshire writes that ‘Emilie has brought together what were once both Cavendish Estates, by contrasting The Manor today with historic decoration from the Chatsworth in the Baroque age’. This juxtaposition of a great historic house and a low rise housing estate with acute levels of social depravation enables her to use a conventional commemorative style on a standard ceramic shape, some with contemporary images that as Sara Roberts says are ‘provocative and politically challenging’. These jugs contrast the items requested to be donated to the growing number of free food banks on the Manor with the grocery items available at the Chatsworth organic shop. Loan: Basil Woodd-Walker


Some English Slipwares

Two vases Joanna Wason, 2015 Made for a solo exhibition at the Leach Pottery. Loan: Joanna Wason

Plate Joanna Wason, 2015 Made for a solo exhibition at the Leach Pottery. Loan: Joanna Wason

Cider jar Mary Wondrausch, circa 1976 The jar commemorates the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II, and is decorated with images of Elizabeth I, Elizabeth II and the Royal Coat of Arms. Mary Wondrausch is renowned for her contribution to the development of slipware both through her significant book ‘Mary Wondrausch on Slipware’ and other writings and the slipwares made at her studio in Compton, Surrey. Loan: Hampshire Cultural Trust


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

PHILIP LEACH Jug making:

your left hand inside, right hand out, thrust out the

a Bernard Leach grandson approach

belly as the neck starts to sink a little. The elasticity

Not stuck in a traditional slipware rut

in that clay is very forgiving and when you look from the 10lb clay lump to the finished jug there is

As a child I remember growing up, a Leach water

a thrill. Throwing and coiling on large pieces I can

jug was on the dinner table the handle springing

understand but I prefer the challenge of throwing

from about half way between the middle and the

largish jugs in one, without producing the the gas

top and attaching a hand’s width down the jug,

bottle and loads of flame and steam. North Devon

a barrel form, stoneware glazed over a dark slip

jugs, made to carry water, cider and also carrying

outside, a well formed spout quite a homely form.

records of events, pottery poems and drawings

Much later when I first began throwing jugs

from the very small to the large, fat Harvest Jugs.

with Clive Bowen the handle sprang from the jug’s

The history of the Harvest Jug, my take being, the

rim or a little bit below there was a neck and the

potter would make one or two a year in the summer

handle tended to find a point on the shoulder of

months when the evenings were long. Free thrown

the bellied base. My father, possibly quoting, said

jugs with combed slip, or a good simple glaze,

the adage that a good handle can save a pot. I prefer

maybe some flashing in the kiln can be a very fine

the handle to be roughly pre-pulled before I take

form and carry the same weight and poise as the

it to the jug, and then finally pulled on the form to

integrity in a Japanese tea-bowl. We have two very

give a spring to the handle and corrections to its

good jug makers in North Devon – Clive Bowen

thickness before attaching it to the jug.

and Sven Bayer.

I seem to prefer the traditional North Devon

I was drawn to the vitality of earthenware

slipware jug form whether throwing small or large.

even though I grew up surrounded by some

There is something exciting about jug throwing,

beautiful tenmoku, celadon and ash glazes –

especially with the Fremington clay which allows

white china plates were a rare thing! I have a

you to take the thrown cylinder and then with

rather poor knowledge of chemistry (physics-


Some English Slipwares

with-chemistry ‘O’ level grade 6) but have

more colours and I was keen to move into that

experimented with low temperature glazes. I’m

territory. I remember in my teens drawing an old

receptive to influences from my travels and quite

shed in a mine workings, and then colouring each

happily bring those to my work. During my early

panel with blocks of different colours – this was

years whilst trying to escape from ‘pottery’ and

met by furious rage from my dad for some reason!

‘Leach’ I ended up in Iran for six years. There

I still seem to want to challenge the working surface

I found the copper blue alkaline glaze which

with some distraction.

was a great excitement and you might say has

With two of my latest jugs, I’ve tried the Minoan

become a trade mark to our pottery (Springfield

form with their characteristic pouring lip, with

Pottery). More recently, my wife Frannie and

white slip I trailed an octopus over the entire jug

I were visiting Crete where we not only saw the

over a brushed-on black slip. A challenge! The slip

magnificent Larnaxes and jugs with birdlike spouts

was a little runny. After the biscuit firing with a

decorated with flowing octopi, but we also came

large ladle – the Japanese use handled bamboo

across a beautiful 15-inch 12th-century Persian

ladles for glazing – I poured down the jug streams

dish glazed in a clear alkaline glaze over delicately

alternately of Honey LBS and Blue Alkaline glazes.

painted floral pattern in cobalts and copper. We

The result was exciting, good quality glaze, a lot of

were also able to dig up Minoan and Roman

copper reduction where the copper blue glaze has

shards at an ancient palace site on a mountain top.

thinned over the honey glaze, the gas kiln is great

We came back inspired and enthused, tried out a

for that.

new glaze. To work with other potters and artists is something I’ve ventured into and we collaborated with a German artist, Matti Braun, who wanted me to throw large platters so he could use the Palette of our glazes and colours. He also wanted to add 31

Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

Large jug with Minoan and traditional influences, Philip Leach: see page 27


Some English Slipwares

‘Swirl’ jug, Philip Eglin: see page 24


Crafts Study Centre : Exhibition handlist

JOANNA WASON I grew up in North Devon, near Bideford where

My gas kiln is in a granite shed. My porcelain

for at least four hundred years slipware has been

pots are wheel-thrown and usually glazed with

made for local use and for export. Bideford library

white or ash glazes, which show up well on the pale

had a permanent display of old slipware jugs which

porcelain. My stoneware pots are thrown, formed

I always really liked. Now the Burton Art Gallery

over ‘hump moulds’, or slabbed, and they are usually

in Bideford houses the amazing R. J. Lloyd slipware

decorated with iron rich glaze or ash glaze. Both


the porcelain and the stoneware pots are fired to

Having made a few pots and figurative sculptures

1280 degrees C in a reduction atmosphere in a gas

since the early 1970s, I came to work for Janet Leach

kiln. These clays are from John Doble, whose sand

in 1988, mixing her clays and glazes, making saggars

and clay pit is just outside St. Agnes.

for her special smoke firings and acting as her general workshop assistant until her death in 1997.

The terracotta pots are sometimes thrown, but more often slabbed and constructed.The terracotta

I continued to make pots in the old Leach

dishes are thrown or formed in slump moulds. The

Pottery workshop until it was converted into the

terracotta pots are decorated with coloured slips,

Leach Pottery Museum and I moved my wheel

glazed with honey or transparent glaze, and fired to

into an old showman’s caravan once belonging to

1080 degrees C in an electric kiln.

a Danish circus but now on Penwith moor where I live. It became my workshop, complete with its cut-glass light-fittings, sturdy plank flooring and beautifully rounded and finished features. Sadly that old caravan gradually collapsed and was replaced by a rather charmless static caravan made of flimsier aluminium, and colder than the old one, even though the door of this one shuts without the need of an old railway sleeper leaning against it! 34

Some English Slipwares  

Catalogue to accompany the exhibition 'Some English Slipwares' held at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, Surrey, October to December 2015.

Some English Slipwares  

Catalogue to accompany the exhibition 'Some English Slipwares' held at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, Surrey, October to December 2015.