Matthew Foster
Stanley Picker Trust
Autumn | 2017

Matthew is a Fine Arts graduate who has been awarded a QEST apprenticeship for his final apprenticeship year at Leach Pottery in Cornwall. Matt received his apprenticeship post at Leach through a rigorous selection process of more than 50 applicants.

Being aware of the fact that traditional crafts skills are disappearing more and more, Leach Pottery regard it as a duty to preserve the cultural asset of pottery for future generations by teaching people the craft in accordance with the ideals of Bernard Leach. The goal of the apprenticeship programme at the Leach Pottery is to teach the apprentices the way of working in a production pottery environment, where he/she will learn about the whole process, as well as the basic theoretical knowledge which will enable the apprentice to become an independent potter with good crafts skills.

Matt feels he has much more to learn in this unique environment and intends to be able to take these skills into the future where he can teach, inspire and carry on the Bernard Leach legacy. Working at a production studio with 6 other potters will give Matt the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to create production tableware and other related skills such as customer relations, marketing and selling the work as well as working with other students and apprentices at different ability levels.

Matt hopes to learn more about the aesthetics and philosophy of Bernard Leach as well as learning skills passed down through the generations. Furthermore, this apprenticeship will allow him to work as part of a production studio and also develop his own work onsite in his own time. Through the apprenticeship Matt will be able to learn how to make larger pieces, learn more about kiln firing and decorating. Matt already has a distinctive style that is influenced by the aesthetics of Leach Pottery, but hopes to develop this further.

Matt’s long term goal is to eventually be able to establish his own pottery studio. The apprenticeship will allow him to build not only his pottery skills, but his business skills as well.


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