Ray Finch, Craftsman potter of the modern age - John Edgeler

01 Apr 2006

2006 Marks the 70th Anniversary of Ray Finch Starting Work At Winchcombe Pottery
This title is being published in conjunction with a major retrospective show in Winchcombe featuring some 200 pots from 1936 to the present day.
Details are as follows:
Reduced A4 stitched and bound softback
Traditionally printed on 160 pages using good quality paper with a layout by a graphic designer
Using studio quality digital photography with more than 40 pages of colour illustrations
Rare archive photography and material and includes interviews with Ray Finch and his past and present colleagues
It provides a comprehensive biography of his working career

Editor's Comments:
This book was published on 3 June 2006. . It can only be purchased from the exhibition or by post and as the initial print run is only 2000 it is sure to be a sell out, I suspect. This book has previously unseen/unpublished information and images and is likely to become a sought after addition to the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in studiopottery.

A brief Review...

The book consists of a series of essays, from recent interviews between Ray Finch and John Edgeler to an Appreciation by Phil Rogers and a Tribute by David Whiting and more. It includes many previously unpublished pictures which have come from Ray's family archive. The interviews with Ray discuss his philosophy and his techniques. John Edgeler describes Ray Finch at one point as "a modest and delightful man" This shines through throughout the book. This is a man who has given much to others, has created in Winchcombe a wonderful tradition of hard work and excellence.

In Japan he would undoubtedly have been awarded the status of National Living Treasure. In his work and the community at Winchcombe something very special has been created. This book captures the essence of Winchcombe and by the combination of photographs of work, photographs of the team, and the interest and revelation of the different essays and contributions makes it very clear the remarkable achievement of this approachable and modest man. The editor, John Edgeler has created something special, but he did have a rich seam from which to mine!

Having read the book briefly, I want to go back and read again - the Essay by Ray himself written in 1976 about working at Winchcombe in 1936, a reprint from the Crafts Advisory Committee in 1976 is a fascinating account which I had not previously read "Charlie's special job at this time was rolling 'snakes' or wads from fire clay to go between each saggar, and at regular intervals Michael (Cardew) would shout MORE snakes Charlie"

A recollection by Esias Bosch of their experience in 1953 "He is such a calm person, I was the first to work on stoneware at Winchcombe. Ray said to me he was too busy on slipware to be able to carry out proper testing and I was happy to do it.....the results were exciting...We put the pots down and as they cooled they exploded. Ray just stood there very calm and said 'My, my my' It was the high silica content"

There is a sequence of pictures showing the poured glaze technique of Ray Finch and there is much more that it seems as if there must be a lot more than 150 or so pages.

This book is a great read about a truly great individual, but also gives a real insight into how Winchcombe has become the highly respected centre of pottery that it is. Please try to get a copy and enjoy it.

Stephen Dee - Editor

ISBN: Pages: 160
Illustrations: 40 pages in colour
Price: 20.00 (plus Post and Packing)
Publication: 3 June 2006, Cotswolds Living Publications
Binding: Softback

For more information please contact:
Cotswolds Living Publications, Queen Anne House, High Street, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5LJ. TEL: +44 (0)1242 602319