‘Substance and surface’ at The Leach Pottery

Images of work produced by nine students in the first of these two day workshops at The Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall. Students had varying prior experience with clay which added to the inventiveness I feel. I provide a variety of handouts including technical detail and recipes, one of which I have copied below (resurrected from formal teaching days).

The power of imagination.

This course is about exploring the power of imagination as opposed to the skill of the hand. Some people find it easy to function intuitively; others have to reach out consciously to activate their powers of perceptive imagination.

Often, when you have total control of what you think/do/make, you end up with thoughts/actions/objects that are not instinctual, filled with the intrinsic essence of you/me/us. A static object…how is it possible to achieve an energy/essence of the maker?

What are the meanings inherent in the term imagination? Imagination is the inner force that allows us to experience what was, what can be and what might never be, it can transcend the limitations of space, time and reality. Sometimes imagination may be a leap into fantasy, often expressed through dreams that reflect inner thoughts and desires. Imagination is, of course more than involuntary illusion, it allows voluntary turning of ideas in the mind, trying new combinations, uncovering unexpected insights through a constant guiding of visual invention.

Louis Pasteur pointed out that invention springs from the prepared mind. Visual perception is the source of preparation for the Artist. Perception is the mental grasp of objects or images through the senses leading to insight and intuition.


Of course perception extends well beyond mere recognition and identification. To see only on an elementary level leads to visual poverty. To achieve penetrating observation one has to intensify seeing which involves a high degree of attention and concentration. As visual skills develop it is possible to discover a wealth of stimulating possibilities in images and every conceivable object in the environment. Surrounded by millions of possible stimuli, it is important to select and focus on specific images and disregard others to achieve clarity of vision….So stop procrastinating and get cracking!

Please follow this link for more information on future courses…


P1130165 P1130163 P1130213_2 P1130226 P1130224 P1130160 P1130225 P1130223 P1130150


5 years ago

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *