In the Studio:
KAT WHEELER (USA) Leach Pottery 2010-present day
Kat Wheeler (nee Livesey) is a potter from Knoxville, Tennessee. She studied Ceramics at the Appalachian Center for Crafts at Tennessee Tech University, where she was encouraged to find her own voice in ceramics and was taught to make well designed and crafted work. While studying towards her Bachelor of Fine Arts she worked part-time for two Knoxville studio potters, Peter Rose and Judy Brater. Kat helped fire the wood kiln and maintain the studio while learning production techniques. As a part of her coursework Kat completed a semester study abroad at the Australia National University, learning new firing techniques and kiln repair. While living in Australia, she met Jack Doherty at a weekend workshop he was teaching for her university. Six months later, after completing her BFA, Kat came to St Ives to work at the Leach Pottery as a volunteer apprentice. In January 2012 she joins the studio staff as the first fulltime Production Potter making the range of new Leach tableware designed by Jack.
ELLA PHILLIPS (UK) Leach Pottery 2010-11, 2012-present day
Ella Phillips was born in Kingston upon Thames but grew up in Cheddar. She has been studying ceramics since the age of 16 and decided to become a potter whilst undertaking a BTech in art and design at Strode College Street. She said “clay offered me the best means through which I could express my creative ideas” After completing her BA honours degree at the University of Wales Institute at Cardiff she continued on expanding her knowledge and skills at R.B ceramics Ltd, making Mediterranean Tapas for 3 years. Ella now works at the Leach Pottery making Leach Pottery standard ware alongside other potters, whilst expanding upon her own work. Ella hopes to gain practical and technical understanding of Soda firing and the use of gas kilns along with making full use out of the historical wealth of information that the Leach Pottery has to offer. In her future of ceramics Ella said: “I hope to design my own standard ware range, holding good quality in the making and well functioning forms without losing the natural and organic nature of the materials and processes.
BRITTA WENGELER (Germany) Leach Pottery 2010-11, 2012-present day
Britta Wengeler is a potter from Germany. She trained with Master Clemens Wirth for three years, learning to produce a wide range of domestic pottery, and finishing with a “journeyman” crafts degree. Although independent of the Guild, she followed the old tradition of traveling for “three years and a day” to deepen her skills, learn new techniques, and experience different cultural aspects of ceramics. As she travelled through France, Germany, New Zealand, and England, Britta’s style became much more defined. Of particular importance was her time with New Zealand potter Petra Meyboden, daughter of painter Hans Meyboden. Here Britta learned about the various possibilities of wet clay decoration, as well as firing techniques in Petra’s wood kiln. Also influential in Britta’s journey was her time spent in France, where she hopes to open her own workshop.
Britta loves cooking and the simple things of daily living and is fascinated with the versatility of reduction glazes. She therefore produces pots that are functional yet playful, while being rooted within the formal language of traditional European pottery. She joint the studio staff at the Leach Pottery in the winter of 2010/2011 as an apprentice potter and since February 2012 as a production potter where she produce the New Leach Tableware. Brittas own work is made from the French clay “Terre de St. Amand” and is fired to 1300°C in a gas kiln.