Roelof Uys (South Africa)
South African born ceramicist Roelof Uys took up the role of Lead Potter at the Leach Pottery in May 2013. Roelof studied Art at East London Technical College, South Africa, and founded his first ceramics studio in Limpopo Province in 1992, where he collaborated with potter Solomon Matatoko. He went on to work in Kysna as a Resident Potter at Bitou Crafts, founded by Clementina van der Walt, before starting his own production pottery in Cape Town, where he also served on the Committee of the Western Cape Potters Association. As part of the pottery’s senior management team Roelof supervises the training of apprentices and visiting interns, and oversees the production of our Leach Standard Ware.
Kat Wheeler (USA)
Born in North Carolina, Kat Wheeler studied ceramics at the Appalachian Centre for Crafts at Tennessee Tech University. While studying for her Bachelor of Fine Arts she also worked part-time for Knoxville studio potters Peter Rose and Judy Brater, maintaining the studio and expanding her knowledge of production techniques. As part of her course Kat spent a semester studying abroad at the Australia National University, and on completing her BFA came to St Ives to work at the Leach Pottery as a volunteer apprentice. In January 2012 she joined the studio staff as our first full-time Production Potter, making the new range of Leach Standard Ware. She is also Deputy Studio Manager.
Britta Wengeler-James (Germany)
German born potter Britta Wengeler-James trained with Master Clemens Wirth for three years producing a wide range of domestic pottery, before completing a "Journeyman" Crafts Degree. She then followed the old tradition of travelling for "three years and a day" in order to deepen her knowledge of cultural ceramics. Of particular importance was her time with New Zealand potter Petra Meyboden, daughter of painter Hans Meyboden, where Britta discovered the possibilities of wet clay decoration and various firing techniques in Petra's wood kiln. She joined the Leach Pottery in 2010 as an apprentice potter and since February 2012 has been part of the studio team producing the new Leach Standard Ware. Britta also acts as Apprenticeship Coordinator for the studio.
Laurence Eastwood (UK)
Laurence first started working with clay at the age of eleven. He was given a chance to make pots at one of the weekly evening throwing classes as an apprentice for the Upwey Potters where he learned the values of being a potter. When he finished school, he studied art and design at college and spent the other days working as an ornamental plasterer.
Two or three years later, Laurence started to get itchy feet and began looking for opportunities to develop his skills. He was offered a volunteer placement at the Leach Pottery in 2015 and for the past year has worked on the Leach standardware and learned new production techniques. He has now joined the Production Team for the next 12 months whilst Britta is on Maternity Leave. Laurence said "For me, pots are not complete until they have been loved and used regularly. I enjoy using my pots after they have been made just as much as I enjoy making them."
Callum Trudgeon (UK)
St Ives-born Callum Trudgeon joined the Leach Pottery in May 2014 as the first of our Seasalt apprentices funded by a bursary set up with Cornish clothing company, giving him the chance to train and study with our Production Team. Callum said 'These sorts of opportunities don’t come up very often especially at somewhere like the Leach Pottery. I feel very lucky to have been chosen – it’s pretty much a dream job.' Callum has proved himself valued member of the Team.
Matt Foster (UK)
Matt Foster, from St Ives, is the latest of our Seasalt apprentices who joined us in September 2015 to train and work alongside our Production Team. With no formal background in pottery but an obvious creative interest, Matt’s artistic talents include drawing, painting and making things from scratch. Matt says, ‘This is an unbelievable opportunity, to have the chance to do something that gives you satisfaction and that you enjoy as a job. I am proud to be a part of the Leach Pottery, which is such a big part of the art history of the town I grew up in.’
Annabelle Smith (UK)
Annabelle (born 1994 in the South West) studied Fine Art at the University of Gloucestershire and specialised in contemporary Installation art. She soon realised her dream of being a production potter when an electric wheel arrived in the 3D room. After graduating, Annabelle never looked back and started volunteering in various Potteries around Devon & Cornwall. She is now the Leach Pottery’s third Seasalt apprentice 2017–2020 and will learn to create towards a standard for as long as it takes.