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Tuesday, July 27, 2004


A pottery master and mosquitoes

Bernard Leach

John writes that his parents will be hosting Japanese friends in the U.K. this coming autumn.

"They've expressed the wish to visit Bernard Leach's pottery and home in Cornwall. How can I get information?"

The English potter Bernard Leach spent many years in Japan. As a leading member of the important "mingei" or folkloric movement in the early 20th century, he is regarded as a near god in Japanese ceramic circles. Exhibitions showing his work always draw large crowds.

Most Japanese can distinguish different ceramic styles from all over the country, and will spend at least a small part of a meal appreciating the ceramics on which food is presented, and how a recipe has been matched to a dish for the best possible visual display.

Until recently, John's parents' friends would have been shocked to find Leach's heritage near sunk into oblivion in his home town of St Ives in Cornwall. Right now the Leach Pottery, built in 1920, is up for sale, and supporters are actively raising funds to buy and restore it.

A recent drive brought in enough to create a brochure advertising the need and benefits to the local community of a renewed Leach Pottery. It's cultural importance on the international ceramic map is without question.

What visitors can see in the meantime is an exhibition in the Leach family home. The first room contains works by Bernard and Shoji Hamada (of Mashiko fame), dating from the 1920s to 1960s. The middle roomshows work made by potters who used -- and still use -- the workshop after Bernard's death. The third room displays work by Leach students (1921-1981).

I suggest John checks out the following Web sites. For information on the Leach Pottery Appeal: www.theleachpotterystives.co.uk

For a brief history of Leach's life and a gallery of his work: www.studiopottery.com/potters/leachbernard.html

For general touristic info on St Ives -- maps, accommodation, scenic trails, beaches, etc: www.stivesholiday.co.uk/tate_gallery.htm


Japanese mosquitoes are finding recently arrived Mandy much to their taste. "I'm going crazy. Are there sprays? And what do I use if bitten?"

Yes,there are sprays against "ka" (mosquitoes). Ask at any chemist or pharmacy. Also check out the popular product Kinkan; it comes in a brown bottle and you just rub the affected spot. Catch the bites quick and irritation and swelling will fade fast, unless of course there is an allergic reaction, in which case seek help from a doctor.

If any readers know preventative measures and cures, let us know.


Ans of ANSWER COUNSELLING -- (03) 3417-7028; e-mail: kobashi@kt.rim.or.jp -- wants us to know that her family name is Kobashi-Schoot (not Kobayashi-Schoot) and that her title is Drs (Dutch Doctorandus, not Dr).

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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