creative spaces: bernard leach

Katie | November 22, 2010

I’m always very inspired by seeing the spaces creative people work in; the tools they use, the things they keep around them for inspiration, the effect of their environment on their work – so this is the first in a series on that very subject; featuring Bernard Leach’s studio and the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall.

Leach pots

The shelves these pots are on are moveable and fit on any shelving system in the studio, meaning whole shelves of pots can be moved from one area to another with as little disruption as possible.

Experimentation with surface decoration

This shows experimentation with different surface decoration techniques, kept for future reference. Also a beautiful item in its own right.

A small selection of the tools used for surface decoration

This is just a very small selection of the many tools Bernard Leach used to decorate the pots made the Leach Pottery. You can see his Japanese influence in the use of bamboo and also the level of experimentation in his work.

The Leach kick-wheel

Another Japanese influence can be seen here in the kick-wheel Bernard Leach designed as a development of the wheels he’d used in Japan. The flywheel is driven by the user’s foot via a cranked peddle, providing steady momentum to the throwing surface.


I loved this little sign in the throwing room, which simply said; “tranquility”.

Metal cup

I suspect this little cup was a functional item rather than kept for inspiration, but what lovely shapes and surface patina.


There were a few of these series of animals dotted around the studio – I’m not sure if they were a serious product development or just made for fun, but they made me smile!

One of the modern day kilns

The Leach pottery is now producing pottery again – new workshops were completed in February 2009 and are headed up by lead potter, Jack Doherty. Work focuses on production of the Leach Pottery’s fabulous new tableware range and on development of each potter’s individual work.

Pots by Jeremy Leach (Grandson of Bernard Leach)

And it’s great to see that pottery has stayed in the family, with these gorgeous jugs produced by Jeremy Leach and shown as part of the “Black” exhibition which runs until 28th November 2010.

Further reading for the especially geeky:

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Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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