Before I left Cornwall, after three lovely weeks, I thought I would seek out the Bernard Leach Pottery in St. Ives. I had heard a lot about Bernard Leach and his pottery over the years but never knew where it was actually located. Parking in St. Ives can be quite difficult but, funnily enough, the pottery is located just round the corner from the big car park at the top of St. Ives on Higher Stennack. The pottery was set up in St. Ives in the 1920's but folded, I think, in the late 1990's. The pottery passed to Janet Leach, Bernard's third wife, after his death in 1979. However, as we learnt on the guided tour, Janet didn't really have a business head and the pottery folded after her death and the death of her then partner, Mary Redgrave. The pottery, besides producing art pottery, had produced a range of standard ware pottery and had also trained many apprentices.
Bernard Leach was born in Hong Kong in 1887 but, unfortunately, his mother died giving birth to him so he was sent to Kyoto in Japan to live with his maternal grandparents. When he was ten years old he was sent to England to continue his education but seemed to only excel at art. He was seventeen when his father died in 1904 and, although he decided to go into banking to earn a living, he soon became disillusioned and returned to Japan where he discovered raku and the art of ceramics.
He returned to England in the 1920's after he was invited to set up a pottery by a wealthy philanthropist called Frances Horne.
A Trust was set up in the early 2000's to restore the pottery which reopened in 2008 as the Leach Pottery studio, museum and gallery to celebrate the work and legacy of Bernard Leach. Alongside the original Leach Pottery building is a modern, purpose built studio where students and apprentices work to produce standard ware for the pottery and to develop their own practices.
After the tour of the pottery, of course, there is an opportunity to buy and after careful consideration I decided to buy two little pots by Russell Gibbs.
Below is a selection of just a few of the pots and pieces I have collected over the past few years.
The two little pots are by Russell Gibbs and the little dish is by Luck Taylor.
The owl pot is by Paddy Peters and the fish pot is by Ken Luckhurst.
Howling at the Moon by Paddy Peters.
Vase by Yo Thom