John Leach is the eldest son of David Leach and the eldest grandson of Bernard Leach. He was born at Pottery Cottage at the Leach Pottery in St Ives in 1939. He studied under his grandfather and father at St Ives, under Colin Pearson and Byron Temple at Aylesford and under Ray Finch at Winchcombe.
In 1963 he went to the USA to teach and opened a pottery in Northern California. He returned to England in 1964 and set up Muchelney Pottery in the tranquil countryside one mile south of the village of Muchelney in Somerset. The pots he made were functional part-glazed stoneware. The kiln was oil fired at first, but later wood fired.
In 1983 John started to make one-off studio pieces in a range of styles. Notable amongst these is the 'Black Mood' range; very different from John's bread-and-butter pottery, and very striking. In recent years John has lectured and staged demonstrations in Europe, Scandinavia, North America and the West Indies. He is a big, striking man; friendly, communicative and with a keen sense of humour.
Conscious of his debt to the environment, John has planted 4,000 broadleaf trees on his land and has established a one acre pond sanctuary for wildlife and vegitation.
Muchelney Pottery was started by John Leach on his return from the USA in 1964. John changed from oil to wood for firing in 1976, and in 1998 built a new wood fired climbing kiln on oriental principles with a capacity of 350 cubic feet. The stoneware produced at Muchelney is glazed on the inside and on the outside shows the beautiful warm flame marks produced by the toasting of the 1300°C firing.
Working at the pottery with John are Nick Rees, master potter and Mark Melbourne. The oven-to-table ware is of very high quality, as are the studio pieces produced at the pottery.
A new Gallery was built adjacent to the pottery's kitchenware shop in 2003 for signed pots by John Leach, Nick Rees and Mark Melbourne together with John's personal selection of work from his favourite artists and makers.In 2006 John Leach opened an online shop to sell 95 repeat designs from the Muchelney kitchenware range.