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
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)
- 18 July — 6 September 2015 *on now
The Leach Pottery proudly presents Glaze Alchemy, a colourful and engaging selling exhibition of work by 6 potters and ceramicists whose practice progressively engages with glazed surfaces and effects. This exhibition is inspired by our current Museum exhibition ‘Emmanuel Cooper: Connections & Contrasts’. Glaze research and development was a central focus of Emmanuel’s practice, just as these makers also explore different aspects of glaze process and aesthetics. Participants include:
Peter Beard http://www.peterbeard.co.uk
Emmanuel Boos http://www.emmanuelboos.info
Greg Daly http://www.gregdaly.com.au
Katrina Pechal http://www.katrinapechalceramics.co.uk
Linda Styles http://www.lindastylesceramics.co.uk
Louisa Taylor http://www.louisataylorceramics.com
This exciting exhibition features across two areas of the Leach Pottery. Emmanuel Boos presents a body of work that is largely installation-based and placed in proximity to the Cube Gallery where Emmanuel Cooper is currently being exhibited: Cooper served as Director of Studies on Boos’ PhD which examined the ‘Poetics of Glaze’. Previously, Boos had undertaken apprenticeships in Paris and was also awarded an advanced apprenticeship with Living National Treasure Jean Girel.
‘My practice of glaze does not aim mastery nor domination. I do not have those ambitions nor do I wish to turn into a jealous potter as described by Claude Lévi-Strauss. I wish to slip into the glaze and develop a friendly relationship with chaos and eventually trust chance.’
The Gallery hosts the pots of the exhibition, presenting the work of Peter Beard, Greg Daly, Katrina Pechal, Linda Styles, and Louisa Taylor. Peter is an established maker recognised for his complex use of multiple glazes that are built-up in layers to create stunning patterns made of shiny and matt surfaces:
‘I make thrown and hand-built pieces in oxidised stoneware fired to 1280°C, using combinations of shiny, matt and semi-matt glazes, built up in layers prior to firing to create textural surfaces in a range of pastel shades and some stronger colours. Wax resist is used extensively to create patterns and to isolate the glaze layers during application.’
Greg Daly is an Australian potter of over 40 years’ experience whose current work with lustre glazes is truly astonishing. A consummate craftsperson, Daly says:
‘One gets to know how to read a glaze like an open book, and you start to realise that the materials that go into a glaze are not the only ingredients. The way you fire the pot is about more than just turning the powdered materials into glass. It is about developing a surface, a colour, a depth. Small changes in the firing cycle can dramatically alter the final piece. It is a lesson that is most evident in my lustre work, where very small changes in the temperature of the kiln, the degree of reduction and the length of the reduction cycle produce radically different results from the same glaze.’
Returning to potters in the UK, Katrina Pechal’s work presents striking volcanic glazes and a preoccupation with the development of the vessel as a form:
‘I try to capture the essence of time in my work, something that can be seen in weathered surfaces, pebbles or crustacean covered sea objects. All my pieces are vessels with a growing form to them. They are all thrown, often upside down or in sections. Sometimes cutting sections away from the thrown piece and re-joining altering the form. Shapes evolve from piece to piece, carrying through ideas from one to another.’
Linda Styles, a Cornish potter, often works with glaze in a bright and expressive manner to produce vibrant works that represent the qualities of both potting and painting. Says Linda:
‘Although I am outwardly immersed in colourful chaos, this freedom of expression is necessarily underpinned by formal elements of design and a level of introspection that manifests in tangible objects that reflect upon love and all that is beautiful in this World.’
Finally, Louisa Taylor is a London-based potter whose focus is tableware inspired by a subtle colour palette and the way that domestic pottery enhances social occasions:
‘The source of inspiration for my work stems from museum collections of eighteenth century porcelain wares. The subtle colour palette of the range is directly influenced by the hand painted decoration on historical tureens and grand vessels. I am fascinated by the rituals of dining and the role of tableware in contemporary dining…I like the suggestion of how eating meals together can build stronger bonds/relationships within the family unit.’
For Further Information, Contact
Matthew Tyas, Exhibitions Coordinator
07891 189892 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Twomlow, Leach Pottery Director
01736 799703 | email@example.com
- Any age
Admission free to exhibition only. Admission to museum £4.50 and £4 concessions
Heritage Open Days: Leach Pottery
- 10 — 12 September 2015
Visit the museum and see the climbing kiln, built in 1923 the first in the western world. You will also see the original work rooms, Glazing area, Wheel room and Clay room. There are Three exhibitions to see, Two in the reception gallery and the third in the exhibition cube. You can also take the guided tour and watch throwing demonstrations on the kick wheel.
- Family friendly
Leach Pottery, Higher Stennack