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winchcombe pottery exhibition

updated tue 24 nov 98


Caroline and Hedley Saunders on mon 23 nov 98

There is a wonderful exhibition of Winchcombe Pottery at Cheltenham Museum
and Art Gallery (UK) until Dec 5th. It then goes to The Potteries Museum
and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent (6th March to 4th May 1999) and Penlee House
Art Gallery and Museum, Penzance, Cornwall (15th May to 26th June 1999).

Having just seen the exhibition I would highly recommend it, there are some
truly fabulous pots presented in a clear and interesting manner. For those
members of Clayart who are not familiar with Winchcombe Pottery it is still
very much an active pottery which was reopened by Michael Cardew in 1926, he
describes this in detail in his autobiography, A Pioneer Potter. Ray Finch
joined Michael Cardew in 1936, buying the goodwill from him in 1946. Ray
still makes wonderful pots (at 84 next Sunday) though the Pottery is now
managed by his son Michael Finch. One of the reasons Winchcombe is so
special is that it has been a training ground for a vast number of great
Potters over the years, even John Leach spent time there.

There is a book; Winchcombe Pottery The Cardew - Finch Tradition, by Ron
Wheeler that tells the story of Winchcombe followed by the catalogue of the
exhibition with lots of excellent colour photographs. It is available in
hard back or paperback the latter costing 12.95 pounds, if you are outside
the UK you can fax the publisher White Cockade Publishing on 01865 514034
(put in relevant international code and delete first 0) for details.

Yesterday I attended a Winchcombe Pottery Study day at the museum in
Cheltenham. It was an honour to listen to Ray Finch describe (with slides)
the way they originally dug the clay and prepared it for use, how they
worked and especially how they fired the bottle kiln. He is such a gentle
unpretentious man....the essence of Yanagi's unknown craftsman.

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