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L E AC H P O T T E R Y T H E SOU N D OF I T

Catalogue


L E AC H P O T T E R Y T H E S OU N D OF I T


L E AC H P O T T E R Y T H E S OU N D OF I T


C R A F T S S T U DY C E N T R E

LEACH POTTERY: THE SOUND OF IT | 3 January – 29 July 2017 © C rafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Falkner Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7DS Curator: Loucia Manopoulou Curatorial support: Jean Vacher Graphic design: David Hyde Photography at Leach Pottery, St Ives: Loucia Manopoulou Administration: Margaret Madden and Ingrid Stocker Technical support: Hannah Facey and Peter Vacher Film production: Marty Gross

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Contents Foreword by Simon Olding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Bernard Leach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 The Leach Pottery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Further reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 The exhibits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 The fireplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Analysis of a pot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Drawings and motifs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Leach Standard Ware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Bernard Leach wares . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 The kiln . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Film . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Interactive display . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

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I

Edmund de Waal saying to me that

studio. Her exhibition, completed as part of her study as the

Leach had staying power. This was in the context of some

first M Res Crafts student at UCA, encourages us to bridge the

research I was engaged in on Leach’s etchings, which had

gap of time, and reflect on Leach’s contribution to individual

not received concentrated analysis. That thought has stayed

and domestic tablewares, and his active legacy.

remember once

with me, particularly as my current research focuses on the (marginal) narrative of his personal collection of pots. Loucia Manopoulou’s thoughtful exhibition also proves that original perspectives can make us look at familiar objects in a fresh light: the exhibition room is washed with the sounds of Leach’s voice, and the viewer can listen to the sounds of the working

I am especially pleased that the exhibition has been presented in partnership with the Leach Pottery, St Ives.

Professor Simon Olding Director, Crafts Study Centre University for the Creative Arts

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“We are searching for a balanced form of self expression,

Introduction

and potting is one of the few activities today in which a

Bernard Leach was a visionary man, a writer as well as an

person can use his natural faculties of head, heart, and

artist and certainly one of the leading and influential artist-

hand in balance. If the potter is making utensils for use –

potters who transformed craft and the attitude towards

simple bowls, pitchers, mugs and plates – he is doing two

craftsmanship throughout the 20th century.

things at the same time: he is making ware that may give

Leach since of a young age was keeping notes and diaries

pleasure in use, which provides one form of satisfaction

on almost everything. As a persistent researcher he was

to the maker, and he is traveling in the never-ending

exploring, investigating, and questioning constantly for

search for perfection of form, which gives a different

wider understanding and acceptance of different civilizations,

gratification. As these two activities come together and the

spirituality, and the human essence.

potter is at one with the clay, the pot will have life in it.” (Leach, 1975:17)

Throughout his life, Leach was trying to bridge the cultures of East and the West. To him, the West represented modernity in

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the form of materialism and intellectualism and in juxtaposition,

is, a place to learn and explore pottery techniques, as well as

the East expressed spirituality and core human ideals.

acquire the appropriate knowledge of setting up and running

Even though he became known for his capacity as a mediator of East and West, there are numerous other

a creative business. People from different backgrounds in education and

elements towards his contribution to 20th-century crafts.

from different cultures shared a common passion for

One of many was the regeneration of British and European

clay. Bernard Leach as a teacher guided his students

ceramic traditions.

in aesthetics and standards, as well as the use of basic

Furthermore, he accomplished the transformation of

materials. However, he encouraged and emphasized the

the medieval perception of crafts and craftsmen. Whilst

importance of exploring the medium as a way to reflect

medieval guilds traditionally tended to be safe, shrouded in

the creator’s personality.

secrecy and predictable, Leach’s work and practice intended to be the opposite. His studio, Leach Pottery, St Ives, set the stage for the

Leach was always striving towards a spiritual coordination of East and West, for an ideal unity and wholeness.1 Using clay and drawing as mediums, he accomplished the unification of

establishment of the contemporary studio pottery. As an

the two complementary cultures. There is no unity where

international hub of creativity, Leach Pottery was, and still

there is no variety.

1

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Leach, B. (1967), A potter’s Work. London: Evelyn, Adams & Mackay Ltd (p.24)


L E AC H P O T T E R Y : T H E S O U N D O F I T

Bernard Leach

According to Leach, while at Slade he found his vocation.2

Bernard Leach was born into a middle-class professional English

Following a short break from art, to become a bank clerk

family in Hong Kong in January 1887. He was an only child: his

to fulfill his father’s last wish, he attended the London School

father was a colonial judge, and his mother died in childbirth.

of Art, studying etching under Frank Brangwyn. There he met

Soon after his birth, he was sent to Japan to live with his maternal grandparents, until his father’s second marriage, when he returned to Hong Kong. At the age of ten Leach

Takamura Kotaro, who introduced him to oriental spirituality and religion. In 1909, pursuing his nostalgic memories, intrigued by the

was sent home to England to be educated at the Jesuit

writings of Lafcadio Hearn, and instructed by Brangwyn to “Get

college of Beaumont.

out, Go to Nature”, (Cooper 2003:40), Leach sails to Japan.

During his school days, he had excelled only in drawing,

Leach went to Japan stimulated with the modern aesthetic

elocution, and cricket. Those early days undoubtedly

notion of the primitive. He studied Raku under Ogata

determined Leach’s life.

Kenzan VI, and he was given the title of Kenzan VII after only

Leaving school at the age of 16 he was sent to the Slade

a year’s study. At that time he also met Yanagi Soetsu, through

School of Art to study drawing under Henry Tonks. There he

whom he was acquainted with other Japanese intellectuals

formed a lifetime friendship with the painter Reginald Turvey.

and young artists. Leach shared his aesthetic ideas and

2

Leach, B. (ed.2012), Beyond East and West: Memoirs, Portraits and Essays. London: Faber & Faber (p.23)

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knowledge from the West including the Arts & Crafts

as clay, and he published his first book, A Potter’s Book, in

movement, orientalism, primitivism and medievalism, that

1940. His work is in various major international collections,

notably influenced the Mingei movement.3

both public and private.

During his time in Japan, Leach held several exhibitions in

Going through his numerous publications, work and

Tokyo. Furthermore, he travelled to other countries, such as

practice, Leach gives the impression of a generous person,

China and Korea, in order to expand his knowledge in more

who doesn’t hesitate to share his successes and doubts.

oriental cultures.

His life story suggests a man of sound values, open to new

In 1920 Leach returned to England accompanied by his friend Hamada Shoji, to establish the Leach Pottery, St Ives. The pottery became the prominent English ceramic institution of the 20th century, producing hand made high-quality pots using local Cornish material. After three years, Hamada left

challenges and ideas, ready to tread uncharted waters and take risks, fearless of failure. Leach applauded the humble, but through his writing and work, a modest glimpse of vanity could be identified. Bernard Leach was married three times and had two sons

the pottery to return to Japan to establish his own studio

and three daughters. He passed away in St Ives in April 1979,

in Mashiko. There he used local clay along with local glaze

after having had a heart attack at the age of 92. His sons

materials that he would fire in a Naborigama Kiln.

David and Michael both became potters, setting in stone a

Leach expressed his beliefs and principles in print as well

3

family tradition.

Daniels, G and Tsuzuki, C. (2002), The History of Anglo-Japanese Relations 1600–2000: Social and Cultural perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan

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The Leach Pottery

earthenwares with decoration in coloured slips, painted or

The Leach Pottery, St Ives studio is where the wonderful

cut through, under transparent lead glazes. He worked better

magic happens, as much for the artist’s imagination as for the

on a large scale and with complex and dramatic designs.

public’s appreciation. It’s an engaging place of new concepts,

Leach’s principal endeavour was to produce high temperature

styles, and forms. Sometimes, the studio even comes to be

stoneware influenced by Chinese and Korean work of the

seen as sacred, a destination where visitors become pilgrims

Sung and Korai periods.

to the altar of arts and crafts. The modern maker’s studio is an amalgamation of the

Soon after its establishment, the Leach Pottery started to gain a reputation that brought in many students

medieval guilds and the Renaissance artists workshops

and apprentices keen to learn all aspects of ceramic

when masters taught apprentices in their spaces. By the

production – from finding, digging and preparing the

17th century, artists were inviting patrons into these spaces.

clay and preparing the glazes, to firing. Leach Pottery’s

Opening the studio turned out to be good business.

first apprentice-student was Michael Cardew, a

One of Leach’s objectives in making pottery in England

multidisciplinary talented man and refined musician, who

was to revive the traditional handmade pottery produced

assisted in re-establishing ‘country’ pottery by producing

before industrialisation. His influences come from 17th

simple domestic wares for everyday use. Other early

century slipware, particularly Thomas Toft chargers. That was

students were Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie, Norah Braden,

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and William Marshall. All of them grew to become well

they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forward.”

acclaimed and influential potters in their own right.

(Gardiner 1998:90) 5, Leach Pottery, rather than implying

Currently, the Leach Pottery is a registered charity managed

presentism, chooses the contemporary as a result of the

by the Bernard Leach (St Ives) Trust Ltd. It operates both as

dialectical method. Leach himself indicated the importance of

a museum dedicated to Bernard Leach and the Leach legacy

the discourse between the present and the past, resulting in

and also as a working pottery studio, producing a new range of

anachronistic action that develops the future, while constantly

Standard Ware and training a new generation of studio potters.4

builds the present looking at the past for guidance.

Leach’s and his studio team’s devotion to creativity, exploration, and innovation based on the unique indigenous ceramic techniques, has influenced crafts across the world. Elements of the past, the necessity of the current, as well as evolution and multicultural diversity, are the ingredients to influence trends and lead to a better understanding of the future. Reflecting on Kierkegaard’s quote: “It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But

4

Leach Pottery http://www.leachpottery.com/history/ (Assessed: on 15 October 2016)

5

Gardiner, P. (1998), Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press

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Further reading Leach, B. (1975), The Potter’s Challenge. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co.Inc De Waal, E. (1997), Bernard Leach. London: Tate Gallery Publishing Ltd Leach, B. (ed.1976), A Potter’s Book. London: Faber & Faber Leach, B. (1967), A Potter’s Work. London: Evelyn, Adams & Mackay Ltd Watson, O. (1997), Bernard Leach: Potter and Artist. London: Crafts Council Davies, P. (2007), St. Ives 1975–2005: Art Colony In Transition Leach, B. (ed.2012), Beyond East and West: Memoirs, Portraits and Essays. London: Faber & Faber Birks, T. (1990), Bernard Leach, Hamada and their circle: from the Wingfield Digby collection. Oxford: Phaeton Cooper, E. (2003), Bernard Leach: Life and work. London: Yale University Press Hogben, C.(1978), The art of Bernard Leach. London: Faber & Faber Pottery Quarterly: A Review of Ceramic Art Ceramic Review, 1970s

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The exhibits

3. Square tile Fireclay, white glaze with brushed oxide (cobalt and iron) decoration. Flower (fritillary) with stem and leaves. BL brushed in blue on bottom, left. 1920s P.82.15 4. Tile Earthenware, tin glazed. White tin glazed surface. Brushed cobalt blue leaf design in four corners which creates a central diamond shape. St Ives stamp in each quartile. Undated P.97.1

1. Teapot with three legs Cane handle, stoneware, celadon glaze. Brush decoration of birds and foliage in blue on feet and body. BL brushed on foot. Japan, 1910s P.75.71

2. Squat cup Stoneware, cream glaze. Brush decoration of bird, butterfly and foliage in blue around form. BL brushed on foot. Japan, 1910s P.75.72

6. Small milk jug Stoneware, bracken ash white glaze. Brush decoration in blue and brown on sides, rim and handle. St Ives seal impressed on foot. 1920s P.75.70 7, 9 & 11. Square tiles Stoneware, fire clay body, china clay wash, glazed. Undated P.74.159.a-d

5. Teapot with three feet Without lid, cane handle. Stoneware, celadon glaze. Brush decoration in cobalt of bird. BL and SI brushed on base. 1920s P.75.73

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8. Round shouldered jar with flattened rim Stoneware, olive glaze. BL and St Ives seal near foot. 1970s P.75.85

10. Round shouldered jar Stoneware, blue glaze with tenmoku glaze on lip. BL and St Ives seal near foot. 1970s P.75.84

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12. Circular dish Unglazed. Slip decoration sprayed through a textile stencil. D seal impressed on foot. Dartington, Devon, UK, 1950s P.75.55

14. Circular dish with notched edge Earthenware, unevenly fired. Repeat slip trail pattern. St Ives seal impressed on foot. 1920s P.75.56 15. Leaflet St Ives, Bernard Leach. Spring 1927 CSC reference library, found in a copy of A Potter’s Book

13. Documents The Leach Pottery, St Ives: Cornwall leaflet; letter to customers, 1951; accounts. 6621/19 – 6606/2


L E AC H P O T T E R Y : T H E S O U N D O F I T

16. Letter From Henry Bergen to Bernard Leach. Two sheets, one of which contains drawings of designs for jugs, dishes, cups and saucers. LA.2389

17. Bowl Standard Ware, general use bowl. Stoneware. Undated CSC 2004.64.2

20. Documents 6611 - 6606/3

Letter From Katherine Pledyell-Bouverie to Bernard Leach. Handwritten in ink, covering two sides of a single sheet of headed notepaper from Kilmington Manor. 5184 List Written by Bernard Leach of Bergen’s criticism. August 7th/13th 1937 LA.3212.a

19. Shallow, circular slab dish Buff clay earthenware, interior coated with white slip, overlaid with lead honey-coloured glaze. Wavy, combed stripes across dish revealing white slip through glaze. St Ives, impressed. 1920s P.88.3

18. Shallow butter or side dish No foot rim, reduction fired stoneware. Exterior unglazed, revealing course clay. Interior glazed with a pale grey, possibly dolomitic glaze. Unmarked. Undated P.92.4

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21. Plate with wide rim Fine grained grey body. Grey glaze overall, exterior and foot glazed in brown. BL and St Ives impressed seal. 1930s P.74.64.a

24. Small soup bowl with a turned foot Stoneware, transparent glaze, white where thick. Broad band of grey glaze edged with iron oxide banding. Repeat brush stroke pattern in oxide. St Ives seal impressed. P.92.2

22. Bank book Interesting old Barclays bank book, covering the period 1935–1938. The page shown here shows the transactions for January to March 1937. BHL 6608

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23. Cutsided vase with a high neck Stoneware, blue ash glaze. BL and St Ives seal on foot. 1970s P.75.96

25. Small mug with a one-finger handle Reduction fired stoneware, dipped in iron oxide; smooth opaque, possibly dolomitic glaze, with large crackle. St Ives and England stamps. P.92.5


L E AC H P O T T E R Y : T H E S O U N D O F I T

26. Small wide bowl Stoneware, pale grey glaze inside with green/brown glaze outside. BL scratched on foot. P.75.112

27. Unomi Slipware. BL seal. 1930–1935 P.75.59.a

30. Ash pot Black slipware, inverted rim. Zigzag pattern in trailled white slip between lines. BL seal, impressed near foot. Dartington, Devon, 1930s P.75.52 31. Books A selection of BL books: A Potter’s Book, originally published 1940; A Potter in Japan, originally published 1960; Drawings, verse and belief, originally published 1973. CSC reference library

28. Selection of Standard Ware Leach Pottery selection from the contemporary Standard Ware collection. On loan 29. Cylindrical vase Stoneware, cream brown glaze overall excluding foot. Dark brown brush decoration. Continuous curves between bands. BL and St Ives mark, impressed near foot. 1950s P.74.94

33. Small lidded casserole Stoneware, with two applied lugs. Undated CSC 2004.64 a-b

34. Small, shallow ramekin bowl With a curved in rim and small handle. Reduction fired stoneware in buff clay Interior glaze of smooth grey with subtle crackle. Inscribed banding or turning lines around exterior of pot. St Ives impressed seal. 1950s P.92.3 32. Small lidded casserole Stoneware, with two applied lugs. Undated CSC 2004.65 a-b

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35. Small Standard Ware dish With two applied lugs. Stoneware. Shown with Leach Pottery sales catalogue of 1951. 2003.8

36. Dark brown bowl with two lugs Earthenware, unglazed outside. Incised decoration. Pair of horizontal lines around form. St Ives seal on base. 1920s–30s P.85.3 37. Standard Ware bowls Three of four similar bowls, stoneware, semimatt glaze up to inside rim, outside unglazed revealing buff clay. Undated CSC 2004.62

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40. Tea bowl Stoneware. Exterior has wax resist and brushed iron pigment decoration. BL impressed near foot. 1950s P.75.122

38. Sales catalogue, 1951 Side two of photographic sheet (loose) illustrating Leach Pottery standard ware sales catalogue. Leach Archive LA.1933.5 39. Kiln plan Original design by Bernard Leach for the Leach Pottery, St Ives, possibly for second kiln. 1920s 2002.23

41. Book A Potter’s Book - Chapter VII: Kilns. Originally published 1940 CSC reference library


L E AC H P O T T E R Y : T H E S O U N D O F I T

42. Tall jug Slightly reverted rim, with handle from rim. Stoneware, shiny green, raw ash glaze overall. 1970s P.75.77

43. Vase Brown and grey slipware. Pair of incised horizontal and brushed zigzag lines around form. St Ives seal brushed on base. 1920s–30s P.85.6

45. Tea caddy Stoneware, square based with circular neck and domed lid, grey body with Tessha glaze overall, excluding inside the lid and foot. Wax resist, opposing sides decorated with cross hatching, alternate sides with rose motif and press mould hatching on lid. BL and St Ives and D (impressed) on foot and bottom respectively. 1920s P.74.86

44. Photograph Bernard leach, David Leach and students by the fireplace at the Leach Pottery, St Ives. LA.13267

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46. Tea caddy Stoneware, square based with circular neck and domed lid, grey body with Tessha glaze overall, excluding inside the lid and foot. Wax resist, opposing sides decorated with cross hatching, alternate sides with rose motif and press mould hatching on lid. BL and St Ives. 1924 P.74.4 A

47. Jug Slightly everted rim, with handle from rim. Stoneware, tenmoku glaze. St Ives & BL seal below handle. 1970s P.75.78

49. Covered dish Also referred to as a muffin dish. Slightly domed lid with looped handle. Stoneware, tenmoku glaze. BL and St Ives seals on foot. 1970s P.75.123

48. Lidded jar Stoneware. Four-sided with sloping shoulders, domed lid with curved handle, tenmoku glaze. Thrown and squared by beating. Iron bearing stoneware body, reduced. Incised cross hatching on alternate sides. St Ives seal impressed on base, BL seal is also located on opposite side from St Ives seal on base. 1960s P.74.27 50. Pagoda pot or lidded casserole Stoneware, black slip under clear glaze. Incised decoration. BL and St Ives seal on foot. 1970s P.75.105

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51. Ceramic Review No 50, March–April 1978 CSC reference library

52. Tall bottle Barrel form with short narrow neck, stoneware, matt cream glaze with brushed iron. Brushed pairs of leaping fish in two bands bounded by horizontal lines. 1970s P.75.99

53. Round shouldered bottle With small standing neck. Stoneware, white slip. Incised vertical lines. Brushed iron decoration between. BL and St Ives seal impressed on foot. 1960s P.75.101

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56. Handbill Advertising the Leach Pottery, its opening hours, and times of demonstrations. LA.1910 57. Photograph The interior of the Leach Pottery showing work areas [9/22]. Black and white photographic emulsion on paper. 1940s LA.9036 59. Bank book Interesting old Barclays bank book. Front cover, ink on canvas. 6603 60. Small bowl Slipware. Wet slip decoration inside, marbling technique. Two lines round outside. BL seal impressed near foot. Fujina Pottery, Japan, 1950s P.75.74

54. Vase Stoneware, iron under transparent glaze. Two incised willow trees. Brushed iron decoration under transparent glaze. 1970s P.75.94 55. Diary Entries on page dated Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th May, 1913, in Lett’s Indian and Colonial Rough Diary, kept by Bernard Leach. Doublepage spread with pencil sketches of ceramics and ink blobs on left-hand page of blotting paper and thumbnail sketches of ceramics with dimensions and prices, in pencil, on right-hand page. LA.10876.27

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58. Exhibition catalogue Retrospective exhibition of the English potter Bernard Leach. Illustrations. Square 4to., original brown card wrappers, printed list of exhibits. Okohama, Tenmaya Department Store. 1971 CSC reference library

61. Photograph Bernard Leach’s workbench, showing pots, some of his working sketches, and his seals (see elsewhere in the collection). Black and white photographic emulsion on paper. LA.8170


L E AC H P O T T E R Y : T H E S O U N D O F I T

62. Milk jug White and brown stoneware. Sgraffito. Inscription around belly reads ‘Milk’. Decorated border between lines around neck. Lines incised on handle. St Ives and BL seals on base. 1920s P.85.1

63. Straight sided jug Slipware. The words by William Blake, ‘A little flower is the labour of ages’ are in sgraffito around the rim. There is a flower beneath the rim and BL and WB either side of the handle. St Ives seal, impressed on foot. 1920s P.75.40

64. Mug Slipware. Handle with scroll at base, galena glaze, sgraffito decoration. ‘The pot & the pipe, The cup & the can - Have quite undone, Many a man -’ in Roman lettering round form. 1920s–30s P.75.133 65. Coffee cups and saucers Earthenware. Light brown exterior glaze and dark brown interior glaze. 1936 P.74.101.a-d 66. Small jug Golden brown slipware. Dark brown spots at intervals. BL seal impressed on foot. Dartington, Devon, 1930s P.75.47

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67. Black and white photographs From an album illustrating the range of Standard Ware available from the Leach Pottery. LA.2038.7 and LA.2038.6

68. Standard Ware jug Slipware, with golden brown exterior and dark brown interior, glena glaze. St Ives seal impressed on foot. 1920s P.75.127

69. Unomi Slipware, with ochre slip inside and on top of outside, honey glaze outside. Incised green dots in two bands around middle. Double incised lines near top. BL seal, impressed. 1920s P.75.58 70. Sketches For cream and milk jugs. Pencil and black ink on paper. LA.1045 71. Large circular deep rim dish Earthenware, with honey and brown slip on a yellow background. Brushed shadow puppet, Prince Rama, in centre. BL on foot. 1930s P.75.53 72. Coffee set Dark brown slipware. Includes one coffee jug (P.75.45.a) and one cream jug. 1933 P.75.45.a-o

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73. Coffee pot with lid Handle from rim, stoneware, tenmoku glaze. BL and St Ives seal below handle. 1970s P.75.79

78. Sketch of pots Including a teapot at ‘actual size’. Pencil and brown ink on paper, scored with red lines. LA.1055 79. Sketches of pots On the address side of an envelope, including ‘Japanese country style teapot, large’. Pencil, brown and black ink on paper. LA.1049

75. Lid Turned knob, white and grey slipware, clear glaze. 1920s–30s P.85.5 76. Lid (damaged) Turned knob, orange and red slipware, decoration over white slip with clear glaze. 1920s P.85.4 74. Ceramic Review No 58, July–August 1979 CSC reference library

80. Sketches of pots, etc Ink drawing of bottles and dishes. Red, blue, black ink, pencil. 1960s LLA.1370 81. Sketches of beakers With notes on different decorations and glazes, priced ‘2/-’. Black ink on paper. LA.1089 82. Sketch Large bowls for stewed fruits, puddings etc., for serving salads. Ink on paper, with pencil workings-out. LA.1033 83. Sketches for a plate With the design of a house and mountains. Pencil and blue coloured pencil, on lined paper. LA.1072 84. Sketch of a pot Including ‘mould for lid’. Black ink on paper. LA.1354 Sketch of a teapot Brown ink on paper. LA.1302

77. Cigarette stand Slipware. Light and dark slip decoration on inverted rim. Matsai, Japan, 1950s P.75.51

85. Sketches for condiment pots Including a salt and a pepper shaker. Brown ink on paper. LA.1063

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86. Photograph (facing page) Fireplace at the Leach Pottery, St Ives museum. 87. Film The Leach Pottery 1952. A Marty Gross Film. 88. Interactive display (right) Including ceramic materials. 89. Glaze tests Contemporary ceramic glazes.

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The fireplace

Analysis of a pot

A meeting point to exchange ideas and contemplate,

Pots are the product of the integration of the potter and

usually during the afternoon tea. Bernard Leach initiated

the culture upon which he draws. The foundation of the

discussion, always sitting on the iron kettle, surrounded

synthesis is based on the perception of the process, where

by his students and other staff. Subjects would vary

contradictory components are coordinating to form a new

from the topical and lightweight to the substantial and

whole. Abstract ideas translated to clay, bringing vitality

philosophical, pondering of the world, religion, and pots.

to the pots. “They are full of poetry in which man and nature sing together rhythmically.� Soetsu Yanagi (Leach, 1940:xx).

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Drawings and motifs

Leach Standard Ware

A culmination of intelligibility and introspection. Leach

Large scale production ware, based on the amalgamation

is a draughtsman who became a potter, developed a

of Arts & Crafts and Mingei movements and philosophy.

spectacular vocabulary of marks and motifs influenced

True to material and method of production, and plain to

by nature, mythology and primitivism. Leach considered

eliminate cost. Designed by Bernard and David Leach and

drawings to be “...one step out of the world of

made collectively by the production team. Ninety two

imagination into the clay actuality, conceived in joy,

items listed in the 1952 catalogue.

and born in labour.� (Leach, 1967:32)

Ovenproof stoneware and hard porcelain glazes: black to rust, tenmoku, mottled grey-brown, pale celadon green.

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Bernard Leach wares

The kiln

The types of wares, forms, and shapes that Leach

The construction of the kiln, the characteristic of the

produced in St Ives throughout the years are decisively

fire as well as the method of stocking it, creating the

defined by their use: bowls, vases, jars, jugs, mead jugs

atmosphere upon which the pot will result.

and beakers, dishes, plates, pots, tea pots, coffee pots, boxes and tiles. Individual pieces signed B.L. marked with St Ives Pottery seals. Ware

1920: Leach and Hamada build a first of its kind in Europe: a three chamber climbing Japanese type kiln, fired with wood.

Kiln temperature

Raku 750° Slipware 1,000°

1922: A second kiln was built by Tsuronosuke Matsubayashi.

Stoneware 1,250°–1,500°

1937: Converted to oil firing for simplicity and cost

Porcelain 1,250°–1,350°

efficiency. Wood firing still used for the final stage.

Saltglaze 1,250°–1,300°

32

1957: Janet Leach builds a kiln for firing saltglaze ware.


L E AC H P O T T E R Y : T H E S O U N D O F I T

Film

Interactive display

A silent, amateur, 16mm film originally made by two of

“You must approach art through the senses by

Leach’s American students: Alix and Warren MacKenzie.

learning the steps towards producing it.”

Two different but complementary commentaries by

(Leach, 1975:34).

Bernard Leach and Warren MacKenzie provide a glimpse of the atmosphere and lifestyle of the Leach Pottery, St Ives in 1952.

Brief segments of sounds of the current working environment, samples of glazed pots as well as a display of photographs of the production studio featuring then and

The film extract has been made with the kind permission of

now, are highlighting a normal sequence of work at the

Marty Gross.

Leach Pottery. A display to incorporate hearing, sight and touch.

33


LEACH POTTERY: THE SOUND OF IT  

Catalogue to accompany the exhibition 'LEACH POTTERY: THE SOUND OF IT' held at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, Surrey, January to July 201...

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