Ceramike - Background Information

Leach Pottery, St. Ives

Jack Doherty teabowl Leach Pottery Leach Pottery egg cup

After Major Restoration - March 2008

Pottery building housing clay room Left to right, new reception building, exhibition cube and pottery cottage
Old pottery studio area, showing board with examples of standardware glazes. Inside the clayroom, sieves, ball mill and other apparatus
Inside the clayroom, old machinery Inside the clayroon, bottle moulds
Glaze bins in the clay room Inside the old studio, looking down to the fireplace - scene of Bernard\'s talks
Old tools in the studio The fireplace in the studio
The three chamber climbing kiln Janet Leach\'s kiln
Leach Pottery, St. Ives
Leach Pottery, St. Ives
View from the walkway outside the new workshops over teh Japanese garden to the back of the pottery cottage The old Leach Pottery Showroom sign
Exhibition cube to left, new workshops to right Disused raku kiln on the verandah at the back of the pottery cottage
Bernard Leach showcase in the exhibition cube The three new kilns
Pottery cottage from the car park with the new reception building to the left rear The new reception building
The old clay bins From left to right - the new reception building with the old pottery buildings behind, the exhibition cube and the pottery cottage
John Leach cider jar in basket The old kiln room chimney

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looks much the same but the pottery buildings have been redeveloped and the old showroom or shed has gone and has been replaced by an exhibition cube.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.

September 2008 Images

Old Standard Ware Range