Skip to content

“John Bedding: 60 Years On”

Entrance Gallery at The Leach Pottery

 Preview & Meet the Artist, Friday 24 May, 6-8pm; runs 25 May – 8 September 2024


___circular motion 23x26

It has been sixty years since John first started his pottery career at a small South London pottery. As a mark of this the Leach Pottery is staging a solo exhibition of new work by John – “60 years on”.

His illustrated pot series of striking vase and bottle forms have intricate surface decoration and richly built-up colour, resulting in pots with many layers of interest. For these John uses as a canvas, unglazed burnished surfaces for their softly polished tactile quality. His inspiration for these comes from the work of Morihiro Wada, whom he met during a residency at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan. Wada saturated his pots with abstract decoration; this led John to developing a technique for projecting tattoo like patterns onto the burnished surfaces of his pots.

Also on show are copper glazed pots of a more sculptural form, and a series of stoneware bowls, dishes, and yunomi.
John says:
I have always enjoyed exploring the chemistry of pottery. I love the thought that the materials we use are the building blocks of our natural world, and that we can recreate, to our own design, objects of nature. The inspirational core for my work comes from a desire to explore the boundaries of shape and technique, rather than following the traditional reduced high fire pots of my training. Many years at the
Leach Pottery gave me a heightened awareness of shape and proportion, and the skills and discipline needed as a craftsman.
Going forward I continue to endeavour to search for new ideas and to stretch the boundaries of a craft that has given me 60 years of creative challenge and purpose”.  

John’s pottery career began in South London in 1964, moving to St Ives in 1967 where he eventually worked with Bernard Leach as a Student-Apprentice from 1968. John went on to pot in France and travel in Europe before returning to the Leach Pottery as a member of staff making Standard Ware and developing his own work from 1973-78; this period culminated in three solo exhibitions. In 1978, John became the second potter sent to Japan by the Leach Pottery, where he worked for a year in Tamba’s Sasayama pottery town with his friend from the Leach, Shigeyoshi Ichino. Part of the experience involved firing the long wood-fired Noborigama kilns – also called dragon kilns because of the flames that roar from them in the firing’s climax. His year in Japan culminated in a sell-out exhibition at the Hankyu Department store in Osaka. John returned to Cornwall in 1980, starting out as an independent potter in Penzance before returning to St Ives with the opening of St Ives Ceramics in 1990; a dedicated ceramics gallery. He now works in the town’s Gaolyard Studios which he opened in 1998 as a place for potters to work. John continues to experiment with a wide range of pottery styles and techniques. John was deeply involved in helping to save the Leach Pottery when it was at risk of being lost in the mid-2000s. He then became a valued Trustee of the Bernard Leach (St Ives) Trust Ltd. and today is ‘Honorary Potter’ at the Leach.

John Gaolyard
Bill Marshall_Shigeyoshi Ichino_John Bedding c1970

Above: Bill Marshall, Shigeyoshi Ichino, John Bedding. Leach Pottery 1970.

Left: John Bedding.
Gaolyard Studios.

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :