The Leach Pottery’s third Leach-Seasalt Apprentice, Annabelle Smith is preparing to host the first solo show of her career in November 2020.
Marking the end of her three-year apprenticeship in the iconic Pottery’s centenary year, Annabelle’s exhibition, titled, ‘Annabelle Smith: An Apprenticeship’, will run for six weeks in the Leach Pottery’s Shop Gallery from 6 November to 18 December, with all works for sale.
Annabelle is the Leach Pottery’s first female Apprentice. Echoing the past, her Apprenticeship has also enabled her to work in the original workshop space as the very first ever Leach Pottery Apprentice, William (“Bill”) Marshall.
A true contemporary Cornish collaboration, Annabelle’s Apprenticeship is funded by popular and hugely successful Cornish brand, Seasalt. Her three-years of training will culminate in a final exhibition, taking place in the Pottery’s Shop Gallery featuring a rich display of functional and imaginative forms, including; teapots, chargers, flat platters, lidded bottles, bud vases, wine cups and utensil drainers.
Annabelle’s work draws inspiration from nature, using found materials to create tactile, carved surfaces and warm glazes. Expect an innovative range of domestic tableware and more unexpected thrown and joined forms, showcasing the skills that she has developed and refined over the course of her three-year traineeship.
At the forefront of artistic-pottery innovation for 100 years, the Leach Pottery is a vital historical site founded by two key figures of 20 century studio pottery, Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. A working studio in the beating heart of St Ives’ renowned artistic community, the Leach Pottery continues to be an embodiment of the pioneering nature of the artist-craftsman.
In 2013, Seasalt’s Founder, Neil Chadwick, came up with the idea of the Seasalt Bursary to support a new trainee at the Leach Pottery and in 2014 the search for the first Leach-Seasalt Apprentice began. Annabelle Smith is the third potter to complete the Leach Apprenticeship programme.
2017 – 2020 Apprentice, Annabelle Smith said: “This Studio environment has totally changed my life. I feel myself transforming into a competent, confident artist within my work-time and my own practice and it’s all thanks to the Leach Studio team.
“Each person subconsciously puts their own swing on the lessons and techniques that the Lead Potter, Roelof Uys, has taught us. This then feeds down the line to the Apprentice. Watching how people work here has shaped the potter I am becoming, but some core aspects of my work have remained a fascination and will always be a recurring theme.
“Texture and pots go hand-in-hand and using found objects helps me to create layers for the hands and fingers to run across. Mostly I use natural found objects and aim to never copy nature but try to hint and suggest towards it by creating patterns. Slips and oxides are great for enhancing different surfaces for the glaze to react with.
“My hope is that the bright colours of my work show the fun side of what you can do with production pottery and show the possibilities of wares you can make by joining thrown pieces together.
“I really enjoy making pots with two pieces to become a whole, for example, lidded jars, corked bottles, and sticking thrown pieces together to create something the pottery wheel couldn’t do in one go.”
Sonya Corrigan, director of brand at Seasalt said: “Seasalt and The Leach Pottery have a long-standing relationship, and seeing Annabelle, the third Seasalt Leach Apprentice, graduate is testament to the work the Pottery puts in to progress its students and ensure Cornwall continues to foster a thriving arts scene.
“Through the Apprenticeship scheme, we have watched Annabelle’s progression from novice to professional and it has been such a joy to see, as has reading her blogs and videos she’s created for us as she’s documented her journey in pottery.”
Libby Buckley, director at Leach Pottery said: “Since the 1920s, the Leach Pottery has championed the creative development of potters and the Apprenticeship scheme is a crucial element of this.
“Annabelle is a very talented potter and we are pleased to have supported her on her journey, whilst continuing the legacies of Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. I would very much like to take this opportunity to thank Seasalt, who provide the opportunity for Apprentices to train and study at the Leach Pottery as part of their Leach-Seasalt Bursary.”
Annabelle’s exhibition will run from 6 November to 18 December 2020 for six weeks in the Leach Pottery Shop Gallery.
Follow the Annabelle on here Instagram: @annabellesmithpottery
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