This exhibition explores and appreciates the Bernard Leach legacy and the Leach Pottery workshop in St. Ives whilst reflecting on Bernard Leach’s quote ‘Potting is one of the few activities today in which a person can use his natural faculties of head, heart, and hand in balance’. Leach’s lifestyle approach expresses an appreciation of the importance of the close relationship and interdependence of the individual with nature, society, science, and metaphysics.
The showcase features Leach’s work and the Standard Ware from the Crafts Study Centre collection, alongside a group of current production Standard Ware from the Leach Pottery. A display of his sketches, books, and other documents and letters, as well as a film of Leach in his private workspace highlight a more personal side of Leach. He wanted his pots to have ‘vitality, to follow the rhythm of the essence of energy and life’.
A juxtaposition of then and now emphasises that the Leach Pottery workshop, a hub of creativity, was and still is a place to learn, to master pottery techniques as well as acquire the appropriate knowledge of setting up and running a creative business.
People from different backgrounds in education and from different cultures shared a common passion for clay. Bernard Leach as a teacher guided his students in aesthetics, standards and the use of basic materials. However, he also encouraged and emphasised the importance of exploring the medium to reflect the creator’s personality.
The showcase is further enriched with photographs of the old pottery alongside the contemporary and an interactive display with tools, brushes and sample glazes, and an interactive audio display.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the Crafts Study Centre and the Leach Pottery St. Ives, and is curated by Loucia Manopoulou in partial fulfilment for the requirements of her MRes Crafts course.