Wednesday Wanderers: Leach 100 Project

In line with the Leach 100 years celebrations in 2020, the Wednesday Wanderers are working on a project of their own.

Who are the Wednesday Wanderers?

The Wednesday Wanderers are a group of people in the St Ives area who live with memory-loss issues and dementia. They and their carers meet up each week to walk in the Cornish landscape and use nature as inspiration for ceramic artwork here at the Leach Pottery. The aim is to enhance physical and mental wellbeing and help to reduce isolation and loneliness.

This project is an innovative arts and well-being project, a collaboration between the Leach pottery and the Sensory Trust.

What’s the plan?

Group members are going to research and design their own nature-based motifs inspired by the nature walks and drawings by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. They will explore brushwork and make decorated ceramic work such as plates and tiles then and hold a celebration meal at the end of the project.

They will build on skills following a brushwork demonstration from one of the residency potters Liu Xiouyu in 2019.

As well as making motifs the group are also going to look at making brushes like Hamada:

“One morning , while Hamada was decorating his pots, he stepped outside and collected some dry autumn grasses, tied them together with a bit of string… There it was, beautiful Hakeme.”  

Janet Darnell Leach taken from the preface to ‘Hamada Potter’

Each walk will have a theme such as ‘grasses’, ‘leaves’, ’fish’ and group members will be encouraged to document these themes through photography, drawings and by gathering materials.

Where did the idea start?

The team of researchers at Leach Pottery discovered that Hamada was particularly interested in countryside pursuits such as fishing and hunting during his time setting up the pottery in St Ives between 1920 and 1923. So he was heavily inspired by his time in nature.

The group have already started the walks and will be going into the studio in March to start making.

I will keep the blog updated with how the project goes throughout the year.


A guest blog written by Jackie Clark, Learning and Participation Officer at the Leach Pottery.

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