To celebrate and honour 100 years of the Leach Pottery, Lead Potter Roelof Uys is crafting a new Limited Edition range of 1200 pieces of tableware. The first 100 Limited Edition Yunomi are now available to buy exclusively through the Leach Pottery website.
Below, Roelof explains why he has chosen the humble but elegant yunomi to launch the range.
A chance encounter with a yunomi
To launch the range I have made 100 cups or ‘yunomi’. Each of these are unique and are stamped with the Leach 100 commemorative seal. Over the coming months I will continue to make batches of 100 pieces, consisting of a variety of functional, beautiful tableware which will include mugs, bowls, teapots and chargers.
The reason I decided to make yunomi for the first batch of the 2020 Limited Edition range is because they were the first ever examples of the Leach and Hamada tradition I encountered almost 30 years ago.
It was at an arts festival in South Africa that I picked up this odd shaped mug without a handle, it was smaller than your average mug and glazed with a white greyish glaze that broke orange on the lip and edges of minimal incised decorative markings. It had a roughly cut foot and looked as if it had been subjected to hellfire in the kiln. The carefree simplicity of this odd little cup was its most attractive quality. The potter who made it went on to explain the history behind it and how it became a staple in the repertoire of makers in the West who worked in the Leach Hamada tradition. He then gave it to me saying that “they don’t really sell because people prefer cups with handles”.
So in a way that chance encounter with a yunomi was the start of a journey that led me to St Ives and eventually to the Leach Pottery. I don’t believe in fate or destiny, what bought me here was that spirit of generosity and kinship that potters share. It’s hard to explain why these humble little cups are so revered by makers and collectors alike, perhaps it is because they are little works of art that are fairly inexpensive, each one a unique commentary on the secrets of beauty and function.
Lead Potter, Leach Pottery
Shop the Limited Edition range
Visit our website to purchase your own Limited Edition Yunomi. With 100 yunomi to choose from, each piece is truly original and varies in shape, size and design. Due to their variations, prices range between £45 and £65. A certificate of authenticity will also be included with your purchase.
About Roelof Uys
Roelof is Lead Potter at the Leach Pottery. He studied Fine Art at East London Technical College, South Africa and founded his first ceramics studio in Limpopo Province in 1992, where he collaborated with potter Solomon Matatoko. He went on to work in Knysna as a Resident Potter at Bitou Crafts, founded by Clementina van der Walt, before starting his own production pottery in Cape Town, where he also served on the Committee of the Western Cape Potters Association. After leaving South Africa in 1998, Roelof worked for David Small at Four Seasons Pottery in North London before moving to St Ives in autumn 1999 where he worked as a Studio Potter at the Gaolyard Studios founded by Leach Apprentice John Bedding.
Now as Lead Potter at the Leach Pottery, Roelof supervises the training of student apprentices, visiting interns and oversees the design and production of Leach Standard Ware.