This weekend, I took some time to visit the Crafts Study Centre, and look at my friend’s exhibition ‘Leach Pottery: The Sound Of It’.
Loucia Manopoulou is a current MRes student of the university and I have worked with her previously at the New Ashgate Gallery. As part of her final examination, she must curate an exhibition here where I work.
This exhibit looks at familiar Leach pottery and a selection of books, sketches, documents and letters from the Crafts Study Centre archive. She has also included some work which is part of the current production ware from the Leach Pottery studios, which still runs today down in St. Ives.
The range of works she has selected for exhibition vary from hand painted tiles and glaze tests pieces to full sets of ceramic ware. Many of the cabinets are curated in a way that places the imagery or relevant sketchbook notes alongside the physical works, which is a particularly visual way of curating.
Personally, I find I am always more drawn to the artist’s sketches and notes than I am to the pieces themselves. It was so nice to see so much of these unseen papers in the exhibition and I have heard similar feedback from other visitors over the last few weeks.
One particular piece of writing that was lovely to see was this:
I just found it to be so grounded and respectful. You could really get a sense of who Leach was and what he was trying to achieve during his practices at this time.
The final part of the exhibition explores Loucia’s interest in the connections between craft and the senses. There is film of some people working inside the Leach studios, commentated by Leach himself and also an interactive display; with brief segments of sounds which have been recorded from the studios in more recent times. These sounds correlate to images of different parts of the studios and example pieces of ceramics or tools.
It is clear that Loucia’s focus in her curation is to sensually connect the viewer to the studio environment. You can get a clear glimpse into the running of the Leach Pottery studios throughout its history. She has picked out this lovely quote of Leach’s that I think must have really resonated with her:
“You must approach art through the senses by learning the steps towards producing it.”(Leach, 1975:34)
I really recommend that you come along to see this exhibition, which runs until December. It is very fascinating!
Well done Loucia!