Featuring the work of Jack Doherty (First Lead Potter): 2008-2013, Jake Bodilly: 2008-2010, Kat Wheeler: 2009-2019, Ian Morrison: 2014-2015 and Laura Crosland: 2014-2016
Click on the images below for the Restoration Years’ shop
Alan Gillam, a local businesman, bought the Leach pottery and cottage in 1998, after the death of Janet Leach. He made some changes and improvements, and struggled for a few years to bring it into profitability, but in 2003 he put it once again on the market.
A group under the leadership of Lady Carol Holland formed a steering committee with the intention of raising the money to buy and restore the pottery, and bring it into public ownership. With the support of Penwith Council, various funding bodies, and private donations, they raised the money and purchased the property in 2005. The fabric of the building by this time was in a poor state of repair, but after three years of work it was reopened in 2008.
Shoji Hamada’s hometown of Mashiko had sent money and support during the restoration. His grandson Tomoo was at the opening ceremony along with a small delegation from Mashiko. This was the beginning of a renewed friendship between the two towns, and a lasting memorial to the two lifelong friends, that in 1920 started this long journey.
The pottery has been restored with a newly built workshop and kiln shed. The original workshop and kilns are now a museum that is open to the public. There is also new gallery as well an exhibition space, and a new showroom. An adjoining property which was built for Michael Leach’s family (Bernard’s second son) has now been added to the site. This provides accommodation for the Potters that work in and visit the pottery. There is also a small educational room, where schools and the local community can enjoy the experience of handling clay.
But the heart of the pottery is still the workshop. Originally this was led by Irish Potter Jack Doherty, but is now in the hands of Roelof Uys, an experienced Potter from South Africa. A new domestic range has been designed and produced for a public far more knowledgeable than earlier years. Its success is a testament to the long journey Bernard Leach and others had striven to educate the public, to the enjoyment that can be had, from owning and using pots made by the human hand.
Through the process of making this new range, a new generation of Potters are being trained under Bernard’s philosophy of rubbing shoulders. He once stated “pottery cannot be taught, it can only be learnt by observation”. A philosophy proven by the hundred plus students that have passed through the doors of the Leach pottery.