Matt Foster, Seasalt Cornwall's Leach Pottery Apprentice

I started at The Leach Pottery in October and my first month was mainly spent familiarising myself with the studio. In my first couple of weeks, I helped with and observed many tasks, from glazing and waxing to kiln loading and bisque firing, whilst getting to grips with my main responsibility of clay preparation (made from reclaim-recycled clay).  I have to make sure there is always enough good clay for the production team.

In my second month my involvement in the glazing, waxing and finishing of pots that have been bisque fired, increased and my time was split between this and my weekly duties with the clay. I also spent a lot of time watching and helping load the glaze firings. Towards the end of this month I also began throwing; this started with the seemingly straight forward task of throwing cylinders!

Throwing pots at the Leach Pottery in Cornwall

For six-eight hours a week I would throw cylinder-esque forms which would then be cut in half to check the profile of the pots. When I achieved a good even profile I began speed exercises which involved reaching a certain height in just three movements whilst maintaining a good even profile. A lot of the progression comes from learning through touch and repetition.

This month I have (as well as my general clay tasks!) been throwing egg cups for Seasalt. I have really enjoyed throwing and learning the importance of finishing thrown forms. I have also started learning to mix glazes and follow simple recipes.

Inside the Leach Pottery studios in St Ives, Cornwall

Check back next month to see how Matt gets on with his glazes and how he’s progressing with his time at the Leach.