The Leach Pottery was reopened
after a major restoration project in March 2008. These pictures,
which were taken a couple of weeks later show the work that
has been undertaken and hopefully give the viewer an idea
of the way in which the pottery hopes to carry on the work
started by Bernard Leach in the early twentieth century.
When I last visited St. Ives the pottery
looked in a sorry state, its transformation is now complete.
The pottery cottage looks much the same but the pottery
buildings have been redeveloped and the old showroom or
shed has gone and has been replaced by an exhibition cube.
At the rear of the site are the new pottery workshops which
are accessed via wooden walkways, a Japanese style white
gravel garden fills the central space. Three new kilns have
been built at the end of the car park, these will soon be
producing a new range of standard ware and individual pots.
A permanent exhibition entitled The
Bernard Leach Story is housed in the exhibition cube.
A single large showcase with wonderful pots is complimented
by a biographical timeline detailing the life of the great
man. The pottery cottage is used as a shop and gallery space
which will be used for visiting exhibitions. The inaugural
exhibition features the work of John Leach and runs until
April 12th 2008. Also for sale in the shop is a range of
pots by British makers including an area dedicated to local
Cornish potters featuring the work of ex-Leach potters Amanda
Brier and Joanna Wason.
Inside the pottery building is a new reception
area leading to the old kiln and pottery rooms which apart
from necessary structural work have been left exactly as
they were before the restoration took place. Walking through
this area was the highlight of my visit, so good to be able
to stand next to the old fireplace where Bernard entertained
his students and to see the old climbing kiln.
At the time of writing, the feel is that
of a museum, no doubt that will soon change when production
commences under Lead Potter Jack Doherty and the new training
programme gets underway.
September 2008 Update
When I visited in September 2008, Lead
Potter Jack Doherty told me that a new range of standard
ware is to be produced by two young potters who have recently
joined the team. At first small items such as mugs will
be made and hopefully in the course of time a range of wares.
Standard Ware Range