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“Making Waves”

The hundred-year legacy of the Leach Pottery

11th September to 6th November 2021

In 1920 Bernard Leach, and his friend Shoji Hamada, came to St Ives and set up the Leach Pottery. Their ambition – to turn the tide of industrial production and introduce again the beauty and values of handmade pottery. In this small town at the very end of the British Isles, they started the first ripples of an emerging studio pottery movement.

This exhibition is the story of how those ripples turned into waves, that influenced generations of Potters around the world and gave the Leach Pottery an enduring legacy that has lasted a hundred years.

Making Waves is a selling exhibition, and is part of a programme of events orchestrated by the Leach Pottery to celebrate the Leach Centenary, postponed in 2020 and now rescheduled throughout 2021.

The exhibition is separated into three distinct time periods  that marked significant changes in the development of its history, and is illustrated by the work of the potters that worked there at the time.

The early years 1920 – 1955. The struggle to survive and establish Bernard’s teachings, and philosophy, against a background of mass produced pottery. – The arrival of the first students and local apprentices. – Partnership with his son David and the establishment of a consistent standard ware and a formalised catalogue.   

The Janet years 1955 – 2003 Janet Leach Bernard’s wife takes over management of the Pottery. – A liveable if subsistence wage structure is introduced for students, allowing for a more varied demographic in their selection. The retirement and death of Bernard leading to the ending of the student/apprenticeship programme. The death of Janet and sale of the pottery to a local businessman.  

The Restoration Years 2003 to present day. The forming of a group of people dedicated to saving the pottery from extinction.- The sale of the pottery to Penwith, later Cornwall Council, and a complete restoration of the buildings. – The formation of a museum, workshop and training centre and the revival of a new generation of apprentices and students.

Linked events

Leach Studio Potters: 100 Years On

Century of Connections

Tomoo Hamada


Potters Exhibiting;

The early years

Bernard Leach :  1920 – 1979

Shoji Hamada: 1920 – 1923

David Leach: 1930 – 1955

Michael Cardew: 1923 – 1926

William Marshall: 1938 – 1977

Warren Mackenzie 1949 – 1952

Derek Emms 1954 -1955

The Janet years

Janet Leach: 1955 – 1997

Richard Batterham: 1957 – 1958

Shinsaku Hamada: 1963 visitor

Trevor Corser: 1964 – 2005

John Bedding: 1968 – 1970 & 1972 – 1978

Alan Brough: 1968 – 1972

Shigeyoshi Ichino:  1969 – 1973

Jeff Oestreich: 1969 – 1971

William Klock: 1975 – 1976

Jason Wason: 1976 – 1981

Nic Harrison: 1979 – 1980

Joanna Wason: 1988 to present

Tomoo Hamada: 1995 visitor

2003 to present day

Jack Doherty (First Lead Potter): 2008 – 2013

Jake Bodilly: 2008 – 2010

Kat Wheeler: 2009 – 2019

Ian Morrison: 2014 – 2015

Laura Crosland: 2014 – 2016

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