In the 1930s Leach met Mark Tobey, a fellow artist and teacher at Faith. In 1934, Tobey and Leach traveled together through France and Italy, then sailed from Naples to Hong Kong and Shanghai, where they parted company, Leach heading on to Japan. Leach formally joined the Bahá'í Faith in 1940. A pilgrimage to the Bahá'í shrines in Haifa, Israel, during 1954 intensified his feeling that he should do more to unite the East and West by returning to the Orient "to try more honestly to do my work there as a Bahá'í and as an artist...
Many potters from all over the world were apprenticed at the Leach Pottery, and spread Leach's style and beliefs. His British associates and trainees include Michael Cardew, Katherine Pleydell-Bouverie, Nora Braden, David Leach and Michael Leach (his sons), Janet Darnell (whom Leach married, 1956), William Marshall, Sylvia Hardaker, Kenneth Quick and Richard Batterham. His American apprentices include Warren MacKenzie (who likewise influenced many potters through his teaching at the University of Minnesota), Byron Temple, Clary Illian and Jeff Oestrich. He was a major influence on the leading New Zealand potter Len Castle who travelled to London to spend time working with him in the mid-1950s. Many of his Canadian apprentices made up the vibrant pottery-scene of the Canadian Westcoast during the 1970s in Vancouver.
Leach was instrumental in organizing the first and only International Conference of Potters and Weavers in July 1952 at Dartington Hall, where he had been working and teaching. It included exhibitions of British pottery and textiles since 1920, Mexican folk art, and works by conference participants, among them Shoji Hamada and US-based Bauhaus master potter Marguerite Wildenhain. Another important contributor was Japanese aesthetician Soetsu Yanagi, author of The Unknown Craftsman. According to Brent Johnson, "The most important outcome of the conference was that it helped organize the modern studio pottery movement by giving a voice to the people who became its leaders…it gave them [Leach, Hamada and Yanagi] celebrity status…[while] Marguerite Wildenhain emerged from Dartinghall Hall as the most important craft potter in America.
East Meets West in Potting World; ANTIQUES & COLLECTING SALLY HOBAN on the Career of Potter Bernard Leach Whose Original St Ives Studio Is under Threat
Feb 16, 2008; Byline: SALLY HOBAN If someone asked you to name a valuable piece of antique china or pottery, you'd probably say an item of...
Preview: `A Marriage between Use and Beauty' Exhibition by Bernard Leach # National Museum and Gallery, Cardiff
May 09, 2003; Byline: Hannah Jones # Arts and Media Editor BERNARD LEACH is regarded as the founding father of studio pottery and one of the...