Michael Leach, the second son of Bernard Leach, was born in Tokyo in
1913. As a child, Michael was able to watch Shoji Hamada and Tsuronosuke Matsubayashi, as
well as his father and Michael Cardew pot at St. Ives. However, Michael
initially went to university and taught biology before finally giving in to
the urge to become a potter in the late 1930's.
After military service and helping to set up two potteries in Africa,
Michael began teaching pottery at Penzance School of Art, where one of his
pupils was Robin Welch. Michael also worked at the Leach Pottery but in 1955
left at around the same time as his brother, David.
Michael moved to North
Devon where he bought a
farmhouse near to Fremington, the site of the last of the traditional Devonshire
potteries that had been run by the Fishley family. This he converted into the
Yelland Pottery and continued to pot there until the early 1980's when ill
health forced him to retire.
The pots produced were initially in earthenware but then
stoneware and included both domestic ware and individual decorative pieces.
The latter occasionally had Michael's personal seal as well as the Y mark for
Sadly, Michael died before I became interested in Studio Pottery but
since finding out about him and his work I have found it both honest and
inspiring. I hope that you do too.