SLIPWARE - STONEWARE - PORCELAIN
28 March to 23 May
The Leach Pottery, St Ives presents new work by Joanna Wason, former Leach potter and studio assistant to the late Janet Leach. Wason grew up near Bideford in Devon, and was influenced at a young age by the towns’ prestigious 400 year history of slipware production. She went on to study at Exeter College of Art and later Liverpool Art School and in 1988 came to the Leach Pottery to work alongside Janet, preparing clays, mixing glazes, making saggars for her special smoke firings and acting as her general assistant. Wason stayed on long after Janet’s death in 1997 and was one of the last staff potters at the Leach when it closed its doors in 2005. She now works from her studio near St Just making reduction fired, thrown or slab built pots in the Leach tradition, as well as creating her distinctive ceramic sculptures.
This new collection of close to 100 works showcases the sheer breadth of Wason’s output and includes porcelain, stoneware and slipware pieces and figurative sculptures. Her elegant, long necked porcelain pots are wheel-thrown and finished with the muted colour and naturally occurring surface detail of white or ash glaze while her bolder, stoneware pots are thrown, slab built or formed over ‘hump moulds’ and fired with an ash or iron glaze. Her richly coloured, functional slipware is finished with a warm honey glaze and includes bottles, bowls, platters and Japanese yunomis. Contrasting the functional nature of her pottery are Wason’s well known figurative sculptures; inspired in part by the tradition of Mycenaean sculpture, they are originally made in clay, before being casts in bronze or iron resin.
This exhibition offers the chance to see a substantial collection of work by one Cornwall’s most significant but rarely exhibited potters, and will be on show in the Pottery’s Entrance Gallery from 28 March until 23 May.