The Leach Pottery, 1952 (2nd Edition) - NEW October 2012!


Updated version, with new commentaries by Bernard Leach and American potter Warren MacKenzie
32 minutes, black & white



"In early 2010 I was asked by the Leach Pottery, where I work as a volunteer, to have a look at some audiovisual material which had been presented to the Pottery by the photographer and film maker John Anderson, shortly before his death in December 2009.

Anderson is particularly remembered for his series of six short 'Films for Potters', made between 1963 and 1985, and distributed through rental and sale among the studio pottery community in the UK. The material given to the Leach Pottery for safekeeping included the video master tapes of five of these films, notably those illustrating the working techniques of David Leach, Bernard Leach's eldest son, and of Geoffrey Whiting. The sixth, and best known, is devoted to the Yorkshire country potter, Isaac Button, the master tape of which is preserved in the Yorkshire Film Archive.

Subsequently Anderson's widow was kind enough to send us some further material she had found in her late husband's studio. This included an old silent VHS tape containing a version of the film footage shot at the Leach Pottery in 1952, a different print of which forms the basis for the present DVD. In addition there was a broken reel of audiotape, which, when mended and transcribed, proved to our amazement and delight to be a spoken commentary by Bernard Leach which was clearly written to accompany the film footage. We were very pleased to be able to share this discovery with Marty Gross, and this new edition of the Leach Pottery DVD, enabling Leach's words to be heard alongside the film footage, is the result."

Paul Wright, Cornwall, England January 2012


"Several months after our release of the First Edition of this DVD, I visited St. Ives to present copies to the many kind people who had assisted me with the project.

While preparing the restoration of the film in 2007 there was a persistent rumour that people remembered having heard Bernard Leach himself in a commentary on this film. It was hard to be sure that such a recording really existed and how, or if, a useful copy might be found. Had Leach just given a talk as the silent 16mm film was running on a projector? Or was there an actual recorded tape? No one seemed certain.

As Paul Wright has described above, a 1/4 inch audio tape reel was discovered in 2010 in a box of films donated by the widow of John Anderson. Mr. Wright gave me the recording which we have edited onto this new Second Edition DVD of The Leach Pottery, 1952.

The timing of all this was fateful indeed. My first thought was disappointment that I had not found this remarkable recording earlier, but had it been in my possession at the time I might never have visited American potter Warren Mackenzie to record his memories. As a result, in this Second Edition we now have separate but complimentary narrations by both Mackenzie and Leach. Their memories and viewpoints are quite different. I believe this enriches the experience of watching the film and our understanding of the meaning and importance of The Leach Pottery."

Marty Gross, Toronto, Canada October 2012

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