Board of trustees
Professor Simon Olding
Simon Olding is a writer and curator, with a special interest in ceramics and craft organisations, particularly those located in South West England. He is Director of the Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts. The Crafts Study Centre is the public home for the major Bernard Leach collection and archive, with many objects and the core archive having been a foundation gift by Bernard himself. Professor Olding is the author of The Etchings of Bernard Leach, and is currently researching his personal collection of ceramics. He is President of Walford Mill Crafts, a Patron of Stroud International Textiles and a member of the editorial boards of The Journal of Modern Craft and Craft Research. He has been a Trustee of the Leach Pottery since 2010.
Since January 2001 Jane Sutherland has been Director of Creative Skills, the Continuing Professional Development agency for practitioners working in the Creative Industries in Cornwall www.creativeskills.org.uk providing advice and support to develop both professional practice and business skills. Creative Skills is part of Creative Kernow, an Arts Council England funded National Portfolio Organisation. Previously she was Marketing Manager for Kneehigh Theatre, Cornwall’s international theatre company. Other employment since moving from London to Cornwall over 40 years ago has included: ceramic technician; editor of the only holiday magazine for Cornwall – ‘Cornwall Holidays’ and Retail Manager for Lands End, Cornwall’s dramatic cliff top visitor attraction. She is a member of the board of Miracle Theatre and a member of the Corporation board of Plymouth College of Art. She has a Masters in ‘20th Century Art and Design – Histories and Theories’ from University College Falmouth.
Helen is a craft practitioner specialising in ceramics and mixed media. She has been practicing for 15 years, exhibiting nationally and internationally. A senior lecturer on BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts at Falmouth University, Helen is currently registered for a PhD exploring the communication of archaeology through digital craft practices, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Helen presents her work and publishes papers nationally and internationally.
My background is in teaching and governance in the secondary sector of education. I grew up in St. Ives and was introduced to ceramics at my school by Dennis Mitchell. He was a renowned sculptor and also a part time teacher. I followed my interest in ceramics at University, but family and teaching prevented me from continuing. This was until I joined Jason Wason’s ceramic class at the Art School in Penzance towards the end of the 1980s. Jason renewed my passion for ceramics which I continued as a hobby potter. On leaving teaching, I decided to turn this hobby into a small business. The business is slowly growing and my skills in all areas of ceramics are – I believe - improving.
I have volunteered at the leach Pottery since 2008. I take tours around the old workshop museum and do demonstration of throwing and turning to a wide audience from Primary school to The Third Age groups. During the tours I attempt to communicate the influence of the Leach family on the world of ceramics. Also how the Bernard Leach Trust is ensuring that Bernard Leach’s philosophy of studio pottery is kept alive and at the same time influential in the 21st century.
Our family arrived in St. Ives in 1965 when my parents brought the Garrack Hotel. Leach Pottery soup bowls were used in the hotel restaurant with an underplate and salt and pepper pots. This was my first connection with the Leach. I joined my parents in the hotel after 2 years training at Claridges. The Garrack Hotel has 18 bedrooms, a 2 rosetted restaurant and a leisure complex. This I owned in partnership with my brother until 2014 when we sold up to be able to move forward with new projects.
In 1988 my father was one of a large group of townsfolk who saw the possibilities that a Tate Gallery could bring to the town’s tourism numbers. When I heard that we could lose the Leach Pottery to housing in 2005, I joined Lady Carol Holland’s fundraising team – job done – Pottery saved, renovated and handed over to the Trust.
In 2008, I volunteered to help Jack Doherty, Richard James and Joe Finch build the kiln shed and three kilns. In 2010, I was asked to join the Board of Trustees as a member from tourism.
Kieran Mahon worked in Financial Services for over 20 years, latterly as a Partner at Odey Asset Management and Caxton Associates LLP. Today he is an active investor in businesses involved in Property and Modern British Art. He holds a BA (Hons) degree from University College London. He is married with three sons and lives in London.