Glaze Alchemy

18 July to 6 September 2015

The Leach Pottery proudly presented Glaze Alchemy, a colourful and engaging selling exhibition of work by 6 potters and ceramicists whose practice progressively engages with glazed surfaces and effects. This exhibition was inspired by the current Museum exhibition Emmanuel Cooper: Connections & Contrasts at the time. Emmanuel made glaze research and development a central focus of his practice, just as these makers each explore different aspects of glaze and its processes.

Exhibitors included:

  • Peter Beard

  • Emmanuel Boos

  • Greg Daly

  • Katrina Pechal

  • Linda Styles

  • Louisa Taylor


This exciting exhibition featured across two areas of the Leach Pottery. Emmanuel Boos presented a body of installation-based work placed in proximity to the Cube Gallery where Emmanuel Cooper was being exhibited: Cooper served as Director of Studies on Boos’ PhD which examined the ‘Poetics of Glaze’. Previously, Boos had undertaken apprenticeships in Paris and was also awarded an advanced apprenticeship with Living National Treasure Jean Girel. Emmanuel says:

‘My practice of glaze does not aim mastery nor domination. I do not have those ambitions nor do I wish to turn into a jealous potter as described by Claude Lévi-Strauss. I wish to slip into the glaze and develop a friendly relationship with chaos and eventually trust chance.’

The Museum Gallery hosted the pots of the exhibition, presenting the work of Peter Beard, Greg Daly, Katrina Pechal, Linda Styles, and Louisa Taylor. Peter Beard is an established maker recognised for his complex use of multiple glazes that are built-up in layers to create stunning patterns made of shiny and matt surfaces:

‘I make thrown and hand-built pieces in oxidised stoneware fired to 1280°C, using combinations of shiny, matt and semi-matt glazes, built up in layers prior to firing to create textural surfaces in a range of pastel shades and some stronger colours. Wax resist is used extensively to create patterns and to isolate the glaze layers during application.’

Greg Daly is an Australian potter of over 40 years’ experience whose current work with lustre glazes is truly astonishing. A consummate craftsperson, Greg says:

‘One gets to know how to read a glaze like an open book, and you start to realise that the materials that go into a glaze are not the only ingredients. The way you fire the pot is about more than just turning the powdered materials into glass. It is about developing a surface, a colour, a depth. Small changes in the firing cycle can dramatically alter the final piece. It is a lesson that is most evident in my lustre work, where very small changes in the temperature of the kiln, the degree of reduction and the length of the reduction cycle produce radically different results from the same glaze.’

Returning to potters in the UK, Katrina Pechal’s work presented a striking volcanic glazes and a preoccupation with the development of the vessel as a form:

‘I try to capture the essence of time in my work, something that can be seen in weathered surfaces, pebbles or crustacean covered sea objects. All my pieces are vessels with a growing form to them. They are all thrown, often upside down or in sections. Sometimes cutting sections away from the thrown piece and re-joining altering the form. Shapes evolve from piece to piece, carrying through ideas from one to another.’

Linda Styles, a Cornwall-based potter, often works with glaze in a bright and expressive manner to produce vibrant works that represent the qualities of both potting and painting. Says Linda:

‘Although I am outwardly immersed in colourful chaos, this freedom of expression is necessarily underpinned by formal elements of design and a level of introspection that manifests in tangible objects that reflect upon love and all that is beautiful in this World.’

Finally, Louisa Taylor is a London-based potter whose focus is tableware inspired by a subtle colour palette and the way that domestic pottery enhances social occasions:

‘The source of inspiration for my work stems from museum collections of eighteenth century porcelain wares. The subtle colour palette of the range is directly influenced by the hand painted decoration on historical tureens and grand vessels. I am fascinated by the rituals of dining and the role of tableware in contemporary dining…I like the suggestion of how eating meals together can build stronger bonds/relationships within the family unit.’