Thursday, 28 January 2010

Objects of Desire 1

Celadon Bowl by David Leach
As a collector of modern studio ceramics this bowl is a powerfully realised piece.
Its maker, David Leach, died in 2005 at the age of 93 after a lifetime's work in the teaching and making of studio ceramics.  David was born in Japan in 1911 during the time that his illustrious father, Bernard Leach, was assimilating the techniques and philosophy of handmade ceramics that would see him acknowledged as the founder of the 20th century studio ceramics movement in Britain.
This pot, from David's later years, is a wonderful demonstration of the skills of throwing, carving and glazing that have rendered these fluted bowls iconic emblems of 20th century craft.  The porcelain body, of a mix of clay developed by David and widely adopted, is faceted with narrow flutes, the exposed edges speckled rusty red in parts, possibly where rust from the knife has smeared the damp clay and then reacted with the overlying glaze.  The relationship between the angle of the foot, the dimensions of the fluting and the overall size of the piece are finely judged. The care with which these relationships are expressed demonstrates the immense control brought to bear in the creation of the piece, and speak of a lifetime's achievement in absorbing the skills and design awareness necessary.
This is not, though, a demonstrative pot - it has a simple purity, an unshowy 'right-ness' that reflects the reticence and humility of its maker and gives it a quiet presence, despite its size.  As an object it has much to teach us about the value of skill and that much abused concept, craft.

1 comment:

  1. Paul
    In another life I made my living as a potter. Leach senior was a 'god' when I was a student.
    Have only now discovered you've 3 blogs.
    Many common interests!