The Leach Pottery in St Ives was established by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada in 1920. One of the great figures of 20th century art, Leach played a crucial pioneering role in creating an identity for artist potters in Britain and around the world.
Today, following a restoration and rebuild project which was completed in 2008, the Leach Pottery includes the historic workshop and kilns, a dedicated museum space, contemporary gallery and shop and working production studios where the new range of Leach tableware is made by a small international team of potters and apprentices. A new education and research space is being developed on site with support from Cornwall Council and Heritage Lottery Funding.
Museum, Gallery, Artist studio or collective
March - October
Open every day
10.00 - 17.00, Sundays 11.00 - 16.00
November - February
Open Monday - Saturday
10.00 - 17.00
Last admissions to museum 30 minutes before closing
Closed 24, 25 & 26 December
Concessions: £4.00Under 18s: Free if accompanied by an adult
Production studios on site where tableware is made. This is available for sale through the shop, mail order and through other high quality outlets
Mark Griffiths 40 Years
- 30 May — 11 July 2015 *on now
The Leach Pottery St Ives presents a celebratory exhibition of work by Shropshire based potter Mark Griffiths to mark his 40th year as a professional potter. Mark set up his first workshop in 1975 with the help of a New Craftsman Grant awarded by the Crafts Advisory Committee, and began his career making domestic stoneware. In 1982 he relocated to Shropshire and set up home in a redundant village school, where he established his current working studio, kilns and pottery showroom.
Known as a ‘big ware’ thrower, Mark continues to make high-fired stoneware in between commissions for large scale garden pots, and over the last twenty years has created hundreds of outdoor pieces for historic venues such as the Powis Castle estate and Hampton Court’s spectacular formal gardens.
In this, his first ever solo show at the Leach Pottery, Mark will showcase both his large, standalone pots and smaller domestic ware. The unifying focus of the collection is one of ‘bold form’, of strong shapes created in a variety of ways, usually thrown in one piece or multiple sections before being altered, or slab built, and decorated with a brush and oxides or by cutting through wet slip to reveal the clay beneath. Mark's interest in making pots that reflect a sense of ‘place’ continues to influence his selection of clays, glazes and firing methods, and native wood ash, granite dust from local quarries and found materials such as ochre and iron slips from local pools and stream banks are included in his glaze recipes.
‘I feel incredibly privileged to have spent forty years making pots, often more by luck than judgement. It has been, and continues to be, a huge challenge to make pots that please both me and others, and I still feel that the pots that reach out and make the whole task mean anything are still to be made’. Mark Griffiths
To introduce the exhibition, Mark will hold a throwing demonstration at the Leach Pottery’s Beagle Cross site on Friday 29th May, 1 to 3pm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.
- Any age
Free for exhibition only, £4.50 (£4 concessions) to visit the museum
Emmanuel Cooper - Connections & Contrasts
- 12 June — 6 September 2015 *on now
Dr Emmanuel Cooper OBE, 1938-2012, was a distinguished craftsperson, curator, writer, teacher and broadcaster. His pots are represented in numerous public and private collections, both in the UK and overseas. He authored nearly thirty books and was the founder and editor of one of the world’s leading craft magazines, Ceramic Review. For over a decade, Emmanuel Cooper was visiting Professor of Ceramics and Glass at London’s Royal College of Art, and a regular broadcaster on television and radio. He was appointed OBE for his services to art in 2002.
His skills, first honed through the production of repeat domestic tableware at his London workshops, were increasingly expressed in the more nuanced making of individual artistic pieces. His glazes, surfaces, and forms, speak of the urban environment, from deeply textured detail to soft vibrant colours often accentuated with the addition of subtle gold highlights.
Emmanuel Cooper’s books include acclaimed biographies of Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie, David Leach, and Janet Leach. He also wrote on the history of pottery, and contemporary ceramics, and published a series of technical books on glaze practice that have become the go-to manuals of many workshops and studios. His contribution to ceramics was hugely significant, both to makers on a personal level and to the wider public-standing of the genre. Interest in his work has increased significantly over the past three years.
Between June and September 2015, we will present a major exhibition of Emmanuel Cooper’s ceramics in our Cube Gallery. It will be a fitting recognition of Emmanual’s place in the story of studio ceramics and a timely return to the gallery where he curated the first exhibition that marked the re-opening of the Leach Pottery, as a musuem, in 2008.
Emmanuel Cooper: Connections & Contrasts will examine his work and career in the context of Leach, especially his relationship to Bernard Leach which began with a speculative letter from Emmanuel, in 1967, and turned full-circle, in 2003, with the publicaiton of Emmanuel’s detailed biography of Bernard. Indeed, Emmanuel became the chronicler of the wider Leach family of potters with books on both David and Janet, making him a central figure in the recent Leach story.
A further connection can be found in the philosophical influence of Bernard’s A Potter’s Book, which guided Emmanuel’s early practice and production towards making domestic pots in the urban environment of London. There were many contrasts too, as shown, for example, by the way that Emmanuel side-stepped overtly making in the Leach 'tradition'. Emmanuel favoured a more metropolitan and Scandinavian aesthetic led by experimentation with glazes and surface decoration, ultimately resulting in the production of his trademark surfaces and glazes, sometimes textured, often colourful, but always reflecting the intensity and contrasts of the urban environment.
£4.50 (£4 concessions)
Leach Pottery, Higher Stennack