As part of its programme of 50th Anniversary events, the New Craftsman, established in 1962 by Janet, wife of Bernard Leach, presents a solo exhibition by ceramicist Jack Doherty in celebration of the gallery's historic relationship with Leach Pottery.
The New Craftsman exhibition brings together Jack's own uniquely beautiful pots, cups, dishes and bowls, which explore ideas of function and are based on archetypal ceramic forms, alongside a display of domestic tableware made to his design by the apprentices and trainees at the Leach Pottery.
'The challenge for me was to design a new range of pots which had their roots in the philosophy of the Leach pottery and which would function and look comfortable in our contemporary environment.
The starting place for my research came from two quotations. The first from Yanagi, To me the greatest thing is to live beauty in our daily life the other from Bernard Leach We must make pots which show the nature of the clay.
The clay that I decided to use comes from St Agnes and is essentially the same as the Leach standard ware body. It has an addition of iron oxide to give a darker colour. It is not a refined material but is a real clay and it says something to me about the nature of Cornwall.
To Bernard's statement I added and the nature of the fire It is important to me that the soda kiln leaves its imprint. There is no decoration added to the work, just the traces of the sodium vapour as it drifts among the pots giving each an individual character.
The forms came from necessity. When I came to St Ives, I left behind a house full of pots most of which were in daily use. I had a space to think about which were the essential forms. The things which I needed everyday were mugs and cups for drinking from, bowls and plates for cooking and serving food. So I started by making pots for myself.
I had to remember that the tableware would be made by our apprentice potters. I believe that the best pots are made by potters who have learned to understand rather than to control their materials and techniques. Working with simple processes, throwing accurately, turning foot rings and pulling handles gives them grounding in the grammar of making pots. Making work consistently and in quantity gives an insight into the discipline and commitment which they will need in order to survive as independent potters.
Almost all of the pots in the exhibition were made by our four apprentice potters. Kat Livesey from Tennessee, Ella Phillips from Somerset, Midori Endo from Mino, Japan and Britta Wengeler from Marburg, Germany.'
Please contact the gallery for more information about the pieces available.