A Humble Legacy Exhibition Catalog

Upon the centennial of the founding of Leach Pottery, the Craft in America Center is pleased to present an exhibitions celebrating the cup as object and the impact of Bernard Leach on studio ceramics.

Upon the centennial of the founding of Leach Pottery, the Craft in America Center is pleased to present an exhibitions celebrating the cup as object and the impact of Bernard Leach on studio ceramics.


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7/18 - 9/19





7/18/2020 – 1/2/2021


Upon the centennial of the founding of Leach Pottery, the

Craft in America Center presents A Humble Legacy, an

exhibition celebrating the yunomi, or drinking cup, as object

and the impact of Bernard Leach on studio ceramics.

This international exhibition is organized in consultation with former

Leach apprentice, Jeff Oestreich, who worked at the pottery from


Text by Emily Zaiden

Designed by Alex Miller

A Humble Legacy is an exhibition of over two dozen historic and

contemporary cups made by a selection of artists affiliated with

Leach Pottery and others who continue in its tradition. Artists

Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada established St. Ives Pottery

(Leach Pottery) in Cornwall, England in 1920, and their imprint

on 20th century ceramics cannot be overstated. Leach’s

conception of the artist-potter and his advocacy for studio

pottery in England came at a time when industrially-produced

ceramics were dominant. His role in communicating Eastern

ceramic tradition to the West had a ripple effect on the global

history of contemporary studio ceramics, and craft overall. The

utilitarian cups featured in this exhibition speak to Leach’s

ideology and outlook.


Andy Balmer – 4-5

John Bedding – 6

Pat Burns - 7, 33

Linda Christianson – 8

Carson Culp – 9

Guillermo Cuellar – 10-11

Shoji Hamada – 11-13

Shigeyoshi Ichino – 14-15

Janel Jacobson – 16

Randy Johnston – 17-18

David Leach – 19

Warren MacKenzie – 11, 20-21

Jim Malone – 22

William Marshall – 17, 23

Jan McKeachie Johnston – 24

Jeff Oestreich – 15, 25, 33

Kenneth Quick – 26

John Reeve – 27, 35

Phil Rogers – 28

Will Swanson – 29

Shimaoka Tatsuzo – 30-31

Roelof Uys – 32

Kat Wheeler – 33-36

“The yunomi to me is a benchmark piece that potters can make to establish their

identity. Made easily and comfortably it can contain everything a potter wants

to say about balance, proportion, surface, care, but at the same time it’s a form

that is not encumbered by technical activity and complication.”

-Andy Balmer

Andy Balmer

Yunomi, 2020

Porcelain, soda fired

Portland-born and based, potter Andy Balmer trained at Berea

College in Kentucky. He and wife Pat Burns soda and salt fire

useful porcelain and stoneware pots that are meant to be handled

and enjoyed.


John Bedding

Untitled, 2020

High-fired earthenware

John Bedding apprenticed at Leach Pottery starting in 1969 along

with Jeff Oestreich and Shigeyoshi Ichino, and then joined the

staff in 1973 after a year in France. He was influenced at Leach

by William Marshall’s take on shape and form, and Janet Leach’s

sculptural approach. In 1978, urged by Janet and Bernard Leach,

Bedding went to Japan where he worked with Ichino, as only

the second potter to be sent to Japan by the Leach Pottery. He

returned to England in 1980 and set up his own practice that he

maintains today.


Pat Burns

Yunomi, 2020

Porcelain, soda fired

Minnesota-born Pat Burns shapes her quiet, understated yunomi

by keeping the gestures of holding hot liquid in mind by the foot

and rim, and embracing a cooler cup with a full hand. Burns studied

at Berea College and worked at potteries in England, Canada

and Minnesota before setting up a studio in Portland, Oregon with

husband Andy Balmer. She worked with Jeff Oestreich soon after

he returned from his Leach apprenticeship in the 1970s, and they

later shared a joint residency at Leach in 2014.


Linda Christianson

Yunomi, 2020

Wood fired stoneware, wheel thrown

Christianson’s daily practice in rural Minnesota begins with the

making of four cups. While seemingly a simple form, the cup contains

all the challenges she likes: the paring down of an essential

lively form, comfortability that is visually compelling, and a volume

that suggests a specific liquid. Being put to the lip, Christianson

views the cup as the most daunting personal pot one could

make. It has the capacity to change daily life. In her household,

the favorite cups never make it into the cupboard because they

“always end up in the shard pile, for they are loved to death.”


Carson Culp

Yunomi, c. 2019

Glazed stoneware

Collection of Jeff Oestreich

For Culp, the process of throwing a yunomi is more meditative than

any other wheel-based process. Culp worked under Roelof Uys,

lead potter at the Leach Pottery, in 2017 and is based in Portland.


Guillermo Cuellar

Yunomi, 2020

Glazed stoneware, wheel thrown

Cuellar, like many, first fell in love with pottery in college where he

discovered Bernard Leach’s A Potter’s Book, which defined a set

of values celebrating beautiful handmade objects that resonated

with his love of nature, asymmetry, imperfection, and irregularity.

At the same time, he met Leach Pottery apprentice Clary Illian and

visited her studio nearby his Iowa college. In 1981, as an aspiring

potter in his home country of Venezuela, he met Leach Pottery apprentice

Warren MacKenzie at a workshop in Caracas. Every summer

for two decades, MacKenzie shared his studio in Stillwater,

Minnesota with Cuellar and their friendship continued through the

years. Cuellar’s decorative kaki glaze is an American recreation of

a Japanese glaze Shoji Hamada often used.


Warren MacKenzie & Guillermo Cuellar inspect

the results of a firing, 2015. Courtesy of Guillermo Cuellar

Shoji Hamada & Bernard Leach. Courtesy of Clary Illian.


Shoji Hamada (1894 - 1978)

Brushwork Yunomi, 1959

Glazed stoneware

Collection of Nate Saunders

Shoji Hamada, one of the most important potters of the 20th century,

was a master Japanese ceramicist and central figure of the Mingei

movement. He had a tremendous influence on potters around the

world through both his work within Japan and his involvement with

Bernard Leach. Influenced by English medieval pottery, Korean

ceramics, and Okinawan stoneware, Hamada produced unique works

that drew upon these diverse folk craft traditions. His designs focused

on function as much as they did aesthetics, which conveyed simple,

but elegant and beautiful forms.

Hamada’s artistic input and technical knowledge were vital to the

formation of the pottery at St. Ives, where he contributed to the

construction of their climbing kiln. After three years working with

Leach in St. Ives, Hamada returned to Japan in 1923 and established

his own pottery in the town of Mashiko. The studio was known for

using locally sourced clay and sustainable, hand-crafted glazes and

brushes. In 1955, Hamada was honored by the Japanese

government, designated as a Living Nation Treasure, the first time

such an award was given to someone from the folk craft tradition.


“No craft is easy to master. Pottery is among the most difficult to

encompass...The right way lies in plainness and naturalness..”

- Shoji Hamada


Shigeyoshi Ichino (1942 - 2011)

Yunomi, 1971

Ash glazed stoneware

Collection of John Bedding

Shigeyoshi “Shige’ Ichino was born into a family of potters in 1942

in Tachikui, Tamba, Japan, where ceramics have been made for

hundreds of years. Ichino studied at Kansai University and met

Janet Leach when she stayed with his family to study in Japan

from 1954 to 1955. She later invited him to come and work at the

Leach Pottery. In 1969, he went to Leach Pottery and after a year

embarked on a tour of Europe along with potter John Bedding.

Shigeyoshi, who died in 2011, combined traditional firing and

modern methods to make useful pots for everyday life.


Dinner at Bernard Leach’s home (l-r):

Shigeyoshi Ichino, Bernard Leach, Jeff Oestreich, 1970.

Courtesy of Jeff Oestreich.

Warren MacKenzie, 2010


Janel Jacobson

Untitled, 2020

Porcelain, wheel thrown

Jacobson, who founded Sunrise Pottery in Minnesota in 1975,

delights in the tactile nature of yunomi and explores the contrasts

between interior and exterior. Although the yunomi as a form “is

unremarkable in that it pushes no boundaries of technical wizardry,

it presents the touch of the hand by leaving the finger rings

from the throwing process. Such features can sometimes influence

the carbon deposition during the firing.”


Randy Johnston

Yunomi, 2020

Stoneware, coarse shino glaze, iron slip and iron brushwork

Johnston, who incorporates Japanese methods and a Mingei

approach to making his innovative pieces, has been at the forefront of

American wood kiln technology. He studied with Warren MacKenzie at

the University of Minnesota, and in Japan at the Pottery of Shimaoka

Tatsuzo, who was a student of Shoji Hamada. He shares a studio with

wife Jan McKeachie Johnston and is professor emeritus at the University

of Wisconsin – River Falls.


“The reality that is the starting point is the choice to

investigate the formal range of the vessel structure in

clay, and the belief in the potential that the pieces

must entertain, suggest a narrative, and allude to

things outside themselves.”

-Randy Johnston

L-R: Michael Cardew, William Marshall, Bernard Leach.

Taken while picnicking at Cardew’s pottery, 1970.

Courtesy of Jeff Oestreich.


David Leach (1911 - 2005)

Yunomi, n.d.

Celadon glazed porcelain

Collection American Museum of Ceramic Art, gift of Bill Burke [2009.2.124]

David Andrew Leach was the eldest son of Bernard Leach and

Muriel Hoyle Leach. David was born in Tokyo, Japan, around

the time when his father first met Shoji Hamada. In 1920, he was

brought back to England with his parents, and in 1930 he began

an apprenticeship with his father at the Leach Pottery. He eventually

would be tasked with managing the pottery, modernizing its

equipment, and selecting the workforce and apprentices. In 1955

Leach left St. Ives to set up the Lowerdown Pottery in Devon, where

he became known for his porcelain. In contrast to Bernard’s rough,

thick and bold work, David made ceramics that were thin, smooth,

precise, translucent. He was chairman of the Craft Potters

Association of Great Britain in 1967 and his work was widely

exhibited internationally. In 1987, he was appointed OBE and

recognized for his work in craft and studio pottery.


Warren MacKenzie (1924 - 2018)

Grey & Kaki Yunomi, 2012


Collection of Nate Saunders

After studying at the Art Institute in Chicago during the 1940s,

MacKenzie and his wife, Alix, traveled to England to become the

first American students at Leach pottery from 1949-1952. His

utilitarian, wheel-thrown pottery was heavily influenced by Shoji

Hamada while at St. Ives and also by Korean and Japanese

pottery. He went on to a luminous career and to teach pottery in

the US at the University of Minnesota, bringing the Mingei-Hamada-

Leach aesthetic and ideology to the St. Croix Valley in Minnesota

where it took root. The area became known as “Mingei-sota,” a nod

to the Mingei movement and the inspiration MacKenzie imparted

on his students. MacKenzie embodied his own philosophy of pottery

with a dedication to the ideals of simplicity, serviceability and rough

beauty. Following the death of Alix in 1962, MacKenzie continued

his work and teaching, influencing the next generation of potters in

the region and far beyond from his own studio in Stillwater, MN.


Warren MacKenzie (1924 - 2018)

Yunomi, n.d.

Porcelain, reduction fired, tenmoku

Collection of Will Swanson & Janel Jacobson

Warren MacKenzie (1924 - 2018)

Yunomi, n.d.

Porcelain, reduction fired, carbon trapped

Collection of Will Swanson & Janel Jacobson


Jim Malone

Yunomi, 1995

Stoneware, reduction fired

Collection of Jeff Oestreich

Malone became a studio potter after seeing Korean ceramics

at the Victoria & Albert Museum as an art student and reading

Bernard Leach’s A Potters Book. He set up his first pottery on the

Horseshoe Pass at Llandegla, Wales, with a gas fired kiln for

producing a range of domestic ware, digging clay locally for

his slips and glazes and experimenting with porcelain. Over the

years, he built various kilns and experimented with materials.


William Marshall (1924 - 2007)

Yunomi, 1970

Stoneware, reduction fired

Collection of Jeff Oestreich

William “Bill” Marshall was an English studio potter, born in St.

Ives, Cornwall, and cousin to fellow potter Kenneth Quick. In

1938, he became the first local apprentice at Leach Pottery at the

age of 14, eventually being appointed foreman. In Leach’s later

years, Marshall threw his larger work, which Leach would then

complete themBy the time he left the Leach Pottery in 1977 to start

his own workshop in Lelant, Marshall had clearly developed his

own style inspired by potters like Kitaoji Rosanjin and Shoji

Hamada, as well as the traditional pitchers and salting pots of

his native Cornwall. These influences would combine to evoke the

spirit of the Cornish coast in his work, fluid and assured,

characterized by a physicality that reflected the textures and color

of the landscape.


Jan McKeachie Johnston

Yunomi, 2020

Glazed stoneware, 446 glaze*, iron oxide, gas reduction firing

For this yunomi, Johnston used a historic glaze that she learned

about through mentor Warren MacKenzie-- the fourth glaze developed

at Leach pottery in 1946. McKeachie Johnston has created

ceramics for over four decades and works alongside husband

Randy Johnston in their Wisconsin studio. In addition to her

practice, she has advanced the Leach/Hamada philosophy

through her teaching across the U.S. and in Chile.


Jeff Oestreich

Yunomi, c. 2015

Glazed porcelain

Minnesota ceramic artist Jeff Oestreich was introduced to ceramics

by Warren MacKenzie while in college at the Bemidji State

University and the University of Minnesota. After receiving his BA,

he was apprenticed to Bernard Leach at St. Ives in Great Britain

from 1969 until he returned to Minnesota in 1971. His geometrically

designed functional pottery is primarily salt or soda fired, and his

work melds a foundation in British, German, and Asian ceramics with

American originality and a passion for Art Deco design. Oestreich

has been a leader in the Midwestern ceramic community and he has

taught numerous students over the decades at his studio.


Kenneth Quick (1931-1963)

Yunomi, 1960


Collection of Jeff Oestreich

Kenneth Quick, cousin to potter William Marshall, was born in

St. Ives in 1931. He joined the Leach Pottery in 1945, and was

regarded as one of the most promising apprentices. Quick

eventually taught many of the overseas students to throw,

including Alix and Warren MacKenzie. He went on to open

Tregenna Hill Pottery in St Ives in 1955, where he made

stoneware and red earthenware for the kitchen and table. He

took a six month teaching position in the U.S. in 1960 and was

then persuaded by the Leachs to return to the St Ives Pottery.

Tragically, in 1963, while on a Leach Pottery sponsored visit to

Hamada’s pottery in Japan, he drowned in a swimming accident.


“I make pots, and am forever fascinated by forms in space, by the way that

potters (including myself) make things with their hands, by the subsequent use

of pottery in the ordinary and extraordinary ceremonies of living.”

-John Reeve

John Reeve (1929 - 2012)

Yunomi, 1976

Celadon glazed porcelain

Collection of Pat Burns

John Reeve was the first Canadian to travel to England for an apprenticeship

with Bernard Leach. After his studies from 1958-1961,

Reeve returned to Canada, but continued to teach and make pots in

the United States, Canada, and England. In 1962, he began regular

visits to Minnesota where he worked alongside lifelong friend

Warren MacKenzie. Over the years, he worked to develop a

translucent porcelain clay body suitable for use in studio pottery. In

the late 1980s, Reeve moved to New Mexico where he created the

studio-based program at Santa Fe Clay.


Phil Rogers

Yunomi, 2020

Slip glazed stoneware with iron oxide pigment

The Leach and Hamada ethos and language has had a profound

impact on Welsh studio potter Phil Rogers, who has lectured

internationally and authored books on ash glazes and salt

glazing. Rogers views Hamada especially as an absentee mentor.

He says, “the tireless work ethic and independent lifestyle of many

potters is a direct result of Hamada in particular.”


Will Swanson

Faceted Cup, 2020

Stoneware, reduction fired

Will Swanson uses stoneware and porcelain clays to create serving

dishes and other useful pots for the kitchen and table. His pots are

wheel-thrown, and some are altered or assembled from wheel-thrown

parts. In all his work, he wants the character of the earthen materials

and the hand-making process to be evident. Swanson earned his MA

at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, and he currently lives and

works in the St. Croix River Valley in Minnesota in a studio he shares

with wife, Janel Jacobson.


Shimaoka Tatsuzo (1919- 2007)

Shimaoka was one of Japan’s leading Mingei potters, named a

Japanese Living National Treasure in 1996. Upon his release from

military service after WWII, he returned to study pottery as an

apprentice at Hamada’s pottery in 1946. Shimaoka went on to

work at the Tochigi Prefecture Ceramic Research Center in 1949,

where he developed a rope decoration that stemmed from Korean

tradition and would become his signature style, known as the

jomon zogon technique.

His method involved applying white-slip and impressing the clay

surface with cords, similar to the braids made by his own family of

historic makers. Shimaoka also perfected the Western salt-glaze

technique first established by Hamada, and introduced a rich

variety of glazes to his utilitarian pieces. Shimaoaka founded his

own pottery in Mashiko in 1953, next to his former teacher. He

toured, exhibited, and taught his methods around the world,

inspiring a new generation of ceramicists.


Shimaoka Tatsuzo (1919- 2007)

Yunomi, 1975


Collection of Jeff Oestreich

Shimaoka Tatsuzo (1919- 2007)

Rope inlaid yunomi, c 1980s


Collection of Nate Saunders


Roelof Uys

Yunomi, 2020

Stoneware with terracotta, wax resist pattern, porcelain slip,

and iron bearing semi-matte glaze; fired in cone 9

Uys is lead potter at the Leach Pottery, where he is dedicated to

perfecting utilitarian wares. He has worked as a studio potter in

the UK since moving from South Africa in 1998. Before joining the

Leach team, he worked at Leach apprentice John Bedding’s Goalyard

Studios. Uys supervises the training of student apprentices

and visiting interns, and oversees the design and production of the

new Leach Standard Ware.


Pat Burns, Kat Wheeler, and Jeff Oestreich firing the soda kiln at the Leach Pottery.

Courtesy of Matthew Tyas


‘Working production for 10 years in such an intensive environment

as the Leach Pottery had a profound impact on me and my work.

I enjoy the repetition of throwing simple forms and using contrasting

slips to create texture and individuality to my range of pots.”

-Kat Wheeler

Kat Wheeler

Yunomi, 2020

Glazed, incised earthenware

Kat Wheeler moved to St. Ives to work at the Leach Pottery in

2009, eventually becoming the Deputy Studio Manager from

2014-2019. Now, Kat Wheeler works in her workshop at the

Gaolyard Studios in St. Ives, Cornwall. In 2015, Kat went to

Mashiko and did a 10 week residency at the Hamada Workshop.

Her experimentations with Hakeme brush decorations in Mashiko

became a catalyst for her recent work in St Ives.


CRAFT IN AMERICA is a Los Angeles-based non-profit with a

mission to promote and advance original craft through educational

programs and resources in all media–accessible to all via

a PBS documentary series that has aired since 2007, an archival

website, as well as in-person at the Craft in America Center

(the Center) in Los Angeles. We are dedicated to the exploration

and celebration of craft, the work of the hand, and craft’s

impact on our nation’s evolving cultural heritage and economy.

The Center is a micro-museum, library, and programmatic

space where visitors engage directly with art, artists, and ideas.

We give voice to traditional and contemporary craft, ranging

from functional to purely conceptual, through personal engagement.

We organize exhibitions, artist talks, scholarly lectures, a

reading group, book signings, hands-on workshops, demonstrations,

student field trips, concerts, and publications.

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