About the Film - The Leach Pottery, 1952
NEW DVD Edition

With New Narration by
Warren Mackenzie


by Marty Gross, Filmmaker

Bernard Leach at the Leach Pottery 1952 In 1975 I ventured to St Ives to meet Bernard Leach. I was then planning a film on
village potters in Japan, which eventually become Potters at Work, completed in

In my reading of Leach’s writings, I had been intrigued by a reference to films that he himself had made in Japan in 1934-35, and realized that the only way I could learn more about these was to go and speak with him directly.

After some initial hesitation, Bernard Leach and Janet Darnell Leach welcomed me warmly, and confessed that they’d been wondering what to do with 16mm films that Leach had filmed, collected, or been involved with, during his long life. Most were by then mouldy, scratched and torn from multiple uses and repairs. One of the films in an old box was this extraordinary work, The Leach Pottery, 1952 which records, with simplicity and elegance, the daily activities of the Pottery at the time.

Janet Leach later told me that this film had been made by members of a local camera club, but she seemed to know no more. Bernard Leach was in his ‘90s and almost totally blind by then. Although we had many long and memorable conversations, I was not thinking ahead to the days when we could renew and put this film into people’s hands in the form of a DVD, and so neglected to question him about the history and origins of this rare and historic work.

In 2007 I asked Warren Mackenzie, who had worked at the Leach Pottery from 1950~52, to share his memories of the period. One cold winter day in his home in Minnesota, Warren watched the video version once, then twice and a third time, as we recorded his thoughts and recollections. Those recordings have been edited to the film as commentary.

The Leach Pottery - UrnsOnly a few weeks before completing this DVD project, Warren Mackenzie sent me a box of old films he’d saved over the years. At the bottom was a small reel of black and white footage Warren had taken himself in 1952, featuring some of the key craftsmen at the Leach Pottery at the time. This precious material has not been seen for decades. We are grateful to have received this in time to have been able to add it to the DVD as a special bonus feature.

We are proud to be releasing this DVD and hope that it will contribute to continued appreciation and understanding of the legacy of Bernard Leach.

Marty Gross
Toronto, 2009

The Leach Pottery - Turning a CupThe Leach Pottery - Dipping an Urn

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Contact Marty Gross Productions, Inc. 416.536.3355 or
email videos@martygrossfilms.com for more information about purchasing or licensing this film for broadcast.



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