Bernard Leach Pottery

I am always very inspired by seeing the spaces creative people work in; the tools they use, the things they keep around them for inspiration and the effect of their environment on their work . Bernard Leach’s studio and the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall is one such artisanal work space, and I went to photograph it and analyse its interior.

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.

It is great to see that the pottery business has stayed in the family, with these wonderful jugs produced by Jeremy Leach and shown as part of the 2010 “Black” exhibition.

You can see from the photograph that the shelves these pots are positioned 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.

In the studio there is frequent experimentation with different surface decoration techniques, kept for future reference. They form beautiful items in their own right.

There is a large selection of tools that Bernard Leach uses to decorate the pots made in the Leach Pottery. You can see his Japanese influence in the use of bamboo and also the level of experimentation in his work.

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”.

I suspect the 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!

Further reading for the especially geeky:

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Katie Treggiden

Katie Treggiden has been writing her blog, confessions of a design geek at, since April 2010. Just six weeks after she started writing it, it was nominated for the mydeco Design Democracy Blog Awards and in September 2010 won Best Interior Design Blog in the UK. Kelly Hoppen MBE described confessions of a design geek as “a wonderful example of how blogging should be” continuing; “she is clearly passionate about her subject and her writing conveys this enthusiasm to the reader. A great mix of architecture, interiors and creative resources. All in all, a great read” While Brad Ford described it as “beautifully designed, consistent, thoughtful and (with) a very distinct point of view.” In 2010 Katie was one of the Official London Design Festival bloggers for mydeco and LDF and continues to write for the LDF blog and other design publications.

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Moveable shelving systems with pot shelves.


A selection of hand tools and brushes.


The potter’s kick wheel.


The throwing room.


Metal cup.


Black pots.

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