Bernard Leach’s Fire Relit!

Photo | Leach Archive

If you’re heading to Cornwall this Christmas, don’t forget to pay our friends at the Leach Pottery a visit. Founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, the Leach Pottery is among the most respected and influential studio potteries in the world.

We popped down to the pottery a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe our eyes – the historic fireplace in the old workshop had been relit! The Leach fireplace was central to life in the old pottery. The team would gather there for ‘crib’ (mid-morning snack) in cold weather and it’s where Bernard sat to advise his potters, students and apprentices about the finer points of pottery making. If you close your eyes you can just imagine the workers sat around the fire on a cold December morning.

Nine years ago the Leach Pottery had to make the difficult decision to shut the fire down as it had fallen into disrepair, but with the help of donations from supporters across the world, the pottery were able to restore it back to its original charm.

Built in 1920 the old pottery workshop is steeped in history. The kiln here is believed to be the first Japanese climbing kiln in the Western world, and was used for over 50 years by many potters who came to Leach to learn and study their craft. It’s a beautiful sight to behold and definitely worth a visit.

Photo | Matt Tyas