Clay Craft

Friday, December 29, 2006

Leach on Jugtown. From A Potter's Eye

"On a pottery trip to England in 1976, Vernon Ownens
and I joined upstate New York potter Bill Klock to visit the famous
potteries of Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew among others. As Mark
Hewitt reports, the small round salt-glazed jug we took to Michael
Cardew was Mark's first sight of North Carolina pottery. We took a
similar jug to Bernard Leach, by then blind, who fondled i constanly
during our teatime visit, saying, "This IS the tradition. I told them
at Alfred in 1952, when Hamada and I were on the lecture tour that
Jugtown was important, but I don't think they listened to me. And
now I tell you that to keep this tradition is the most important thing
that can happen in pottery in America." Upon learning that Vernon had
begun turning pots when he was four years old, Bernard said, "There
it is. You ARE the tradition." He then confided to us that, having
come to making pots late, he never was much of a thrower. "My
contribution was calligraphy and even more than that, writing--getting
a message across about the pottery." He suggested to me, "Maybe
you'll have to do as I did. Do what you can with pots, but also write
and try to increase understanding."