A Visit to Muchelney Pottery September 19, 2015 19:05
John Leach is the eldest grandson of Bernard Leach and son of David Leach both of whom were potters. Born in St Ives, he continues the family tradition at his own pottery in Muchelney on the Somerset Levels which he set up with wife Lizzie in 1965. Master potters Nick Rees and Mark Melbourne work alongside John to produce the range.
Each pot is individually hand thrown on a potters' wheel and enjoys its own special character and qualities as a result of the wood firing process. Firing takes place around 6 times a year and when the latest firing took place a few weeks ago we were lucky to be able to visit and take a closer look.
It was a wet and miserable summers day outside but inside the kiln shed it was a different story as temperatures inside the kiln had already reached over 900°C. The firing was around 9 hours in to a 37 hour stretch. It's hot and exhausting work and has to be managed around the clock by a team of 6 who work in shifts stoking the kiln and monitoring the temperature which eventually reaches 1320°C as flames toast the pots.
The kiln has 3 chambers and was designed by John following a traditional Japanese climbing kiln. It can hold around 2,000 pots all carefully stacked according to size, the results of 2 months labour.
Pleased to escape the heat of the kiln we headed over to the pottery to catch up with John who was throwing some pots. He made it look so effortless and it was a pleasure to watch.
The Somerset Levels are well worth a visit and if you find yourself in the area we would recommend stopping off at Muchelney Pottery. They are currently showing an exhibition to celebrate their 50th anniversary, on until 3rd November 2015.
We are pleased to stock a selection of Muchelney Pottery's ceramics in our store.