A new range of collectible pottery is being launched by the Leach Pottery as part of its centenary celebrations.
Lead Potter Roelof Uys is creating a Limited Edition range in honour of 100 years since the Leach Pottery was established. All in all, there will be 12 items of functional and beautiful tableware created, with each design limited to only 100 pieces.
The first 100 will be available to purchase from the Leach Pottery’s online shop from midday on August 17th.
Launching the range will be one hundred cups or ‘yunomi’; each of which are unique and collectible, and will be stamped with the Leach 100 commemorative seal. Over the coming months, Roelof will continue to make batches of one hundred Limited Edition items, made up of a variety of functional pieces including bowls and plates.
With its Japanese origins, the Limited Edition Yunomi embodies the initial collaboration between Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada when the Pottery was first founded in 1920. At that time, the two craftsmen forged new and innovative connections across countries and traditions, broke fresh ground and repositioned the importance of pottery in our culture. A century later, their vision is still going strong, and the values and passion the two men brought to the art form remain at the heart of the Leach Pottery today.
The yunomi is a tactile and highly individual creation, traditionally used for daily tea drinking in Japan. Typically cylindrical and without a handle, they are cradled between the hands to savour the warmth and aroma of the tea. In the West, the yunomi is now used as a drinking vessel for anything from water to wine – yet it still embodies its original function as a piece of pottery that is used, and loved every day.
Roelof Uys, Lead Potter at the Leach Pottery, said, “The reason I decided to make yunomi for the first batch of the 2020 Limited Edition range is because they were the first ever examples of the Leach and Hamada tradition I encountered almost thirty years ago. It was at an arts festival in South Africa that I picked up this odd shaped mug without a handle. It was smaller than your average mug and glazed with a white grayish glaze that broke orange on the lip and edges of minimal incised decorative markings. It had a roughly cut foot and looked as if it had been subjected to hellfire in the kiln.
“The carefree simplicity of this odd little cup was its most attractive quality. The potter who made it went on to explain the history behind it and how it became a staple in the repertoire of makers in the West who worked in the Leach Hamada tradition. He then gave it to me saying that “they don’t really sell because people prefer cups with handles”.”
Roelof continued, “So in a way, that chance encounter with a yunomi was the start of a journey that led me to St Ives and eventually to the Leach Pottery. I don’t believe in fate or destiny. What brought me here was that spirit of generosity and kinship that potters share. It’s hard to explain why these humble little cups are so revered by makers and collectors alike. Perhaps it is because they are little works of art that are fairly inexpensive, each one a unique commentary on the secrets of beauty and function.”
The new Limited Edition Yunomi is a unique and expressive statement to honour the Leach Pottery’s centenary. Each piece is truly original, collectible, varying in shape, size and design, and comes with its own certificate of authenticity. The Limited Edition Yunomi are priced between £45 and £65 and will make a valuable addition, or first piece, for anyone’s pottery collection. Additional Limited Edition ware will be launched throughout the year.
Other centenary activities include ‘Pottery for People’, a digital exhibition inviting people to share pieces of pottery that have significant meaning to them – whether it is an everyday mug, a sentimental piece or a family heirloom.
For more information about the Limited Edition range please visit: www.leachpottery.com/limited-edition