Board of Trustees
Professor Simon Olding- Chair
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.
Gary Topp is a CEO with both UK and international experience. He is currently CEO of Culture Central- a collaborative development agency for culture in the Birmingham city region. He has previously been CEO of Yorkshire Culture, Curzon Community Cinema and Greening Australia. He is Chair of Trustees at Circomedia and an RSA fellow. He began his career as a visual arts curator and maintains a strong interest in contemporary ceramics.
David Griffin - Vice Chair
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 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.
Zara is Senior Visitor Experience Manager at Tate St Ives and part of the Senior Management team tasked with launching New Tate St Ives and key organisational projects.
Zara has previously worked in London for a bespoke framing, gilding and restoration company. She is also a print maker and collage artist and has exhibited in mixed and solo exhibitions across the country and delivered printmaking and paper making workshops in schools and colleges.
She has strong personal and family ties to the St Ives arts community.
Sam has been involved with many exhibitions and projects around the country. He was recently elected as a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists and has exhibited at a number of well known galleries in Cornwall and has been a part of a number of exhibitions in London and the home counties. His paintings and illustrations have been used in many different contexts including music album covers, artist led exhibitions and the public art projects.