Rick Henham: born London May 1952, died Penzance October 2016.
I had just returned from a holiday in Turkey and was shocked to be told of the sudden death just a few days before of Rick at his home in Penzance. I like the rest of the incumbents at the Gaolyard Studios was badly hit by the news.
Rick trained at Harrow from 1993 to 96 where he earned a BA honours degree; from there he set up a studio in the “Chocolate Factory” Stoke Newington. Before Harrow he had worked as an antique restorer, and a silversmith, but pottery was to become his future passion. He had long aspired to find a new way of life away from London, and in 2004 he came to Cornwall and joined us at the Gaolyard Studios in St Ives. He soon became popular with the group and found an apartment in Penzance to live which overlooked Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount. His pots remained urban in style and reflected his character – quiet and meticulous. They were studied in construction, his glazes soft and uniform, his forms clean and sharp; they leant more towards design than to the Leach style of craft. He was a prolific maker and had outlets and exhibitions throughout the UK, and as a comparative latecomer to the craft he had carved himself a successful niche in the market.
Now looking into his studio, pots carefully wrapped in plastic keeping moist ready to finish, and a new batch of recently ordered clay on his table, gave me to thinking of how few Potters die in retirement, our obsession remains with us to the end. To lose one of our numbers so suddenly has impacted us greatly at the Gaolyard, and Rick will be sadly missed by us all, his studio sits there with unfinished pots awaiting the craftsman that will never come to lay hands on them – Rock on Rick.
By John Bedding, Head Gaoler at Gaolyard Studios, St Ives Cornwall. Member of:
Craftsman Potters Association
Cornwall Crafts Association
Hidden Arts Cornwall