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Several years ago, when I was *very* new to clay, I attended my very first clay conference. It was really my first introduction to the clay community. I remember it being a wonderful and unforgettable experience. I got to try rakuing for the very first time at the preliminary workshop hosted by Ottawa Valley artist Leta Cormier in her, as I remember, extremely immaculate studio. I also got to take part in my first mug exchange in which I remember receiving a lovely salt-glazed mug by potter Jackie Seaton. My name was even drawn and I won some nice oriental brushes. But that was not all (and this was the pinnacle for me), John Leach, of Muchelney Pottery, was the main presenter. His pots were like nothing I had seen before (I told you I was new to clay) and I was impressed by what a real person he was … very gracious, generous, and down to earth. He left a lasting impression on me.
I recently discovered John’s brother Simon Leach has posted a series of videos on YouTube over the last year or so, showing demos, kilns, visits back to England and to friends’ studios, his philosophies, etc etc. What I like is he presents things face on and shares his victories and disappointments, the good and the bad, taking it all in stride. I don’t think a lot of people are aware how hard it can be to be a potter and that things, quite beyond your control, can go extremely wrong after many, many hours of hard work, and all for naught. Here is the 2nd of 2 of Simon’s videos taken while unloading Seth Cardew‘s kiln: