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Life as a third generation Leach potter

PUBLISHED: 16:49 27 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:28 20 February 2013

Life as a third generation Leach potter

Life as a third generation Leach potter

There was never any doubt which career Somerset potter John Leach would follow. Eldest grandson of the renowned Bernard Leach and son of acclaimed potter David Leach, John grew up using handmade pots every day and throwing pots for a Sunday treat.

There was never any doubt which career Somerset potter John Leach would follow. Eldest grandson of the renowned Bernard Leach and son of acclaimed potter David Leach, John grew up using handmade pots every day and throwing pots for a Sunday treat.

No pressure was put upon him to become a third-generation Leach potter; it was what he always wanted.

Following a five-year apprenticeship which began at his grandfathers famous St Ives pottery, in 1965 John and his wife Lizzie bought an old thatched farmstead at Muchelney, near Langport, in the heart of the Somerset Levels. Here he set up his own pottery to design and hand-make a repeat range of kitchen stoneware pots based on the simple strength of English mediaeval and early American folk pottery.

This range of cooking, serving and storage pots has been in constant production ever since. Loved and used daily in kitchens in many parts of the world, the pots are sold in the Muchelney Pottery shop, through selected retail outlets, by mail order and, increasingly, from Johns online shop,

Johns customers speak glowingly of their relationship with their Muchelney kitchen pots. We never tire of looking at, cooking with and eating from your hand-made pots they enhance any food or drink, one couple wrote recently.

another regular buyer of his kitchenware told John: We have over forty pieces of your work in our home, including signed pieces, plates (various sizes), mugs, jugs, casseroles, storage jars, bowls, garlic potsetcetera. I don't think there is anything we want to cook or eat for which we cannot use some of your pottery.

Kate Adie, a long-time Muchelney pot user, admits: My cooking may not be a work of art; but at least I cook in a work of art.

A hand-made pot is like a good friend

In his kitchenware catalogue, John describes his hand-made pots as good friends for life. And nothing pleases him more than to hear of pots still in daily use after 30 or more years!

Each Muchelney pot is hand-thrown to the same design concept but each is unique with its own personality. The pots exteriors are left unglazed, allowing the flames in the kiln to produce the distinctive Muchelney "toasted" texture and colour.

They are then strengthened by wood-firing in the Muchelney kiln which was derived from a climbing Japanese style adapted by John and built in 1997 to create three chambers totalling 350 cubic feet to take up to 2,000 pots.


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