Janet Leach


Janet Leach, ‘Upright vase’ c.1965
Upright vase c.1965
© The estate of Janet Leach, courtesy Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham
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Janet Darnell Leach (15 March 1918 – 12 September 1997), was an American studio potter working in later life at the Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall in England. After studying pottery at Black Mountain, North Carolina under Shoji Hamada, a visiting artisan, she traveled to Japan to work with him. She studied with him for two years and always considered him to be her principal mentor. She was the first foreign woman to study pottery in Japan and only the second westerner.

After returning to the US from Japan, in 1955 she married Bernard Leach, the noted British studio potter, whom she had earlier studied with. They returned to Great Britain to operate his studio at St. Ives. Janet Leach continued to be influenced by Japanese aesthetics in her pottery and ceramics, and her work has increased in popularity. In 2006-2007 there was a major retrospective of her work at Tate St Ives.

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