Born in Wimbledon, Surrey, Michael became interested in pottery while he was a child, but it was whilst at Oxford (where he was reading Greats) that he announced to his surprised contemporaries his intention of becoming a country potter. He was taught to throw by William Fishley HOLLAND at Braunton in North Devon where he spent his holidays and visited Lake's Pottery in Truro, then came to the Leach Pottery as its first student (1923-26). He shared an interest in slipware with Bernard LEACH, and was greatly influenced by the pots of HAMADA. He also worked with Leach on the first craft exhibition of their pottery at the Newlyn Art Gallery (Christmas 1924).
After 3 years he left to re-found the century-old but derelict pottery at Winchcombe in Gloucestershire. He experimented in industrial design at Stoke, and he founded and later enlarged the Wenford Bridge Pottery near Bodmin in Cornwall (1939), producing earthenware and stoneware. He worked in Ghana in West Africa from 1942 to 1948 as an instructor, and from 1951 to 1965 he established and ran a pottery and training centre at Abuja. He also traveled extensively, touring America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand making pots, demonstrating, writing and teaching. On his return to Wenford he wrote his autobiographical Pioneer Potter about his world travels, published in 1969.
works and access
St Ives Pottery Gallery July 1993
misc further info
Cardew (1969) Pioneer Potter;
Chanter, C (2012) His Beloved St Ives, The Painter Gerard Wagner (photo)
Edgeler, John (2010) Slipware and St Ives
C Frayling (1988) in B Ford, ed The Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain, Chp 6: 'The Crafts'
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall;
Marriott (1948 revised from 1943) British Handicrafts #13 in 'British Life and Thought' series (illus)
Whybrow (1996 revised 2006) The Leach Legacy: St Ives Pottery and its Influence (photo likenesses)
Tate (1985) St Ives 1939-64, Twenty Five Years of Painting, Sculpture & Pottery;
Tovey (2010) Sea Change
The Digital Museum of Cornish Ceramics www.cornishceramics.com 2004