Leach Pottery 2014 – the invitation – the Back Story


My arrival at the Leach Pottery in 2014 is due to a series of events that go back to 2008 when I was approached by Phyllis Schwartz bearing a large card file box filled with 1960s glaze recipe cards belonging to Glenn Lewis [former Bernard  Leach apprentice 1961 – 63].  Phyllis’s son had found the box in the UBC Ceramic Department, inside an old kiln.  Phyllis recognized the historic value of these glaze files and approached me about a project to publish them as part of the Leach legacy in BC.  Our first task was to find Glenn, who had been living in Robert’s Creek for many years.  To our surprise, Glenn has just returned to Vancouver, and he joined in the project with enthusiasm and we all worked together over the next 2 years.  Phyllis and her husband Ed Peck did all the heavy lifting – scanning and creating a digital format for these colourful glaze recipe cards.  Glenn advised and I did some historical research and edited.  We all contributed essays about the meaning of these glaze cards. In 2010, with the help of the Potters Guild of BC,  we published, on line and in hard copy,  Seeking the Nuance, Glaze Experiments of the 60s and 70s from the  Ceramic Studios at UBC.  ISBN 098-0-9696077-1-7.  In 2011, Alex Lambley, Research Fellow and Doctoral Candidate at Falmouth University in Cornwall, UK,  found Seeking the Nuance on-line and contacted me.  I invited her to stay at my home in Vancouver for a month while she conducted interviews with the dozens of people influenced or trained by Bernard Leach.  The end result was that Julia Twonlow, Director of the Leach Pottery, invited both Glenn and I to be artists in residence, Glenn in 2013, 50 years exactly after his apprenticeship, and myself in 2014.  In 2013 Terry and I briefly visited  Alex in St Ives and visited the Leach Pottery.   At that time the new studio in Beagle Cross did not yet exist, and everyone was wondering where I would work. But a year later I arrived to a brand new studio space – perfect for non-wheel work.