Every seat was taken at the George Hotel on Saturday 7 February for a two hour lecture on the life and work of Bernard Leach by renowned artist-potter Emmanuel Cooper.
The capacity audience emphasises the great interest that is building up generally in studio pottery. The Stormont Studio arranged the lecture. Elaine Robertson, wife of Stormont Chairman Colin Robertson, was Headmistress of a London Girl’s school when Emmanuel Cooper worked there teaching pottery two days a week.
Widely recognised as the father of studio pottery, Bernard Leach (1887 – 1979) played a pioneering role in creating an identity for artist potters in England and around the world. He was born in Hong Kong and educated in the West of England, throughout his life Leach perceived himself as a courier between the disparate cultures. His exquisite pots reflect the inspiration he drew from East and West as well as his response to the basic tenets of modernism – truth to materials, the importance of function to form, and simplicity of decoration. This outstanding biography provides for the first time a vivid and detailed account of Leach’s life and its relation to his art.
Emmanuel Cooper, himself a potter of international reputation, draws on a wealth of previously unpublished documents and the recollection of the artist’s family, friends and students to tell Leach’s story in his lecture and in much more detail in the book he has written.
Cooper explores Leach’s working methods, the themes of his pottery, his writings and philosophy, his recognition in Japan and in Britain, and his continuing legacy, bringing into sharp focus a complex man who captured his work as a potter the ‘still centre’ that often eluded him in his tumultuous personal life.
This outstanding biography provides for the first time a vivid and detailed account of Leach’s life and its relation to his art.
The book is as captivating as Cooper’s lecture and a ‘must’ for all true lovers of pottery.
“Rye’s Own ” March 2004
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