Richard Batterham, Master Potter
“This fine documentary is a deep dive into one man’s world of making, and the philosophy behind a life in pottery. The sense of accumulation – of time, of clay, of conviction – is palpable in every shot. We also hear from the magnificent David Attenborough and master chef Nigel Slater (who begins every day with his Batterham breakfast bowl). Their voices remind us that often, the most meaningful things in life are rooted in the everyday, indeed, in the dirt beneath our feet.”
Glenn Adamson. Senior Research Scholar, Yale Centre of British Art
Richard Batterham is an iconic figure though he himself is a modest man who has never sought fame or favour, but found his life making pots fascinating and utterly satisfying. He has built up a very successful business on his own selling his work all over the world.
Born in 1936, Batterham went to Bryanston School, Dorset where Donald Potter (who had worked with Eric Gill and Michael Cardew) taught him. Next came National Service. In 1957 he became a student of Bernard Leach for two years at St Ives.
In 1959 he married Dinah Dunn, bought his present house and in 1966 he built his existing pottery. This film was made in his 80th and 81st year.
Batterham’s repetition throwing of similar forms is his hallmark. These have developed with his glazes over the years, underlined by refinement of form, glazes and latterly the introduction of a blue wash here and there. Rejecting notions of haste and commercialism that he feels are all too present in modern society he works with tide-like regularity preparing his own clay and glazes from the apple trees in his garden. Batterham cannot accept society’s pressure which dictates “items that you must have in your home to show everyone that you are in fashion” fed to us in colour supplements and glossy magazines. His work is based around his philosophy and the resulting pieces are not only beautiful to behold and satisfying to use but imbued with deep integrity. Tanya Harrod has said of his work, “These pots are for us – ordinary people – not for museums.” This holds true, his notable fan club love and use his pots daily and Museums have also found his work irresistible, the V&A amongst many others have acquired his work for their collection.
We felt it was imperative to make a film about Richard Batterham – the last of a line of apprentices of Bernard Leach still practicing in the UK. Richard is a great example of how one man with due talent, diligence and discipline can achieve a remarkable and successful life time’s work making pots which truly enhance life/are life enhancing. The aim of the film is to record Richard’s philosophy as a legacy which we hope will inform and inspire those who see it. We have been delighted to work with Alex J. Wright whose experience and style have been challenged and developed by making this production. We feel his skills and eye have made an invaluable contribution to the film by capturing Richard as the quiet, unassuming and gentle man he is, somehow untainted by fashion or commercialism. We are deeply grateful to Richard and to Alex for all the time they have dedicated to the film.
Richard Batterham, Master Potter is available on DVD with all proceeds going to the Joanna Bird Foundation.
£12 + P&P
To order your copy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org