As the Leach Pottery celebrates its 100 year anniversary this year, a stunning new exhibition will see the diverse and personal work from each member of the studio’s international team come together to showcase the rich and creative talent of the potters who produce the Leach Standard Ware.
Since 1920, the Leach Pottery has been bringing potters from across the globe together to develop and share their skills. Joining an elite collection of established ceramic houses, the Leach has played an integral role in shaping Britain’s ceramic history and today, its contributions to the realm of pottery are as important as ever. 100 years on and the camaraderie has grown from strength to strength within today’s studio team, who utilise their individual backgrounds to contribute to the Leach Studio’s collective environment. Here, ideas flourish, grow, rebound and challenge each potter to push their personal work forward, resulting in a diverse body of work that allows each Studio potter’s personality to shine, from functional ware to sculptural pieces, each unique piece contains elements and aesthetics that connect them to the wider world of Leach Pottery.
Running in the Leach Pottery Entrance Gallery, Leach Studio Potters: 100 Years On, will be a gathering of these potter’s personal work. Here you can find out more about who will be featuring and what life at the Leach means to them…
Roelof Uys, Lead Potter, said: “It remains a great honour to be leading such a creative and dynamic team: looking back over the last few years I’m reminded constantly of how far we’ve come, not just as a team but also as individuals. Working together towards a common goal in a creative setting is one of Bernard Leach’s most enduring legacies. He wanted to bring people, cultures and ideas together and the fact that there’s still a working pottery on this site is testament to the power of his vision.”
Britta James said: “There are many factors influencing the mix in the Studio: the individual potter’s backgrounds is one, as is where they find their inspiration. All these factors come together, break down, merge and form a new substrate. Ideas and inspirations are shared and often influence work and, occasionally, you see an idea rippling through the Studio, morphing, changing, spreading, and echoing back. Such a rich environment means that development can happen faster than it would if I worked by myself: seeing other potters developing or working on new things encourages me to do the same.”
Matthew Foster said: “Preparing for this exhibition, I reflect on how the creative process of the Studio enhances, and is enhanced, by the divergent thinking of a group of individuals trying to achieve a single objective in making our Standard Ware. In a group like this the constant development of each individual, fully consumed by this craft, challenges the rest of us to follow suit – pushing the work of the individual and the Studio.”
Annabelle Smith said: “In the Leach Studio, it is important that there are people who have apprenticed elsewhere. You can see how they reach the same goal, the ‘same’ pot, using different techniques. Everyone works in individual ways in their own practice. Following peoples’ creative process day-to-day helps me think differently when it comes to manipulating clay effectively for the pot I want to make.”
Callum Trudgeon said: “Working in a studio environment has a huge influence on my personal work. When you have several other people to discuss your ideas with, it forces you to question your intentions and you get to learn from everyone’s successes and failures. I feel you progress much faster in this environment.”
Laurence Eastwood said: “The Leach Pottery has taught me to work efficiently and swiftly because of the high volume of pots that we make. I am now capable of making a perfect pot in 5 to 6 stages. Bernard Leach set high standards so I make every effort to mirror this in my work: only the best pots will make it into this exhibition.”
Leach Studio Potters: 100 Years On, will be running from 15th February to 10th May 2020 in the Leach Pottery Entrance Gallery.