My name is Hugh Leishman, I live in West Yorkshire. I'm a self-employed craftsman and I have a small woodturning and carving workshop. I make bowls, dishes, chopping boards, bakers peels, spoons and other wooden objects that are designed to be used. I work mainly in British hardwoods and I finish my work with "food-safe" oils. I have been a maker for over 30 years.
“ In the early 1970's I spent 4 years drawing and painting at Art School, but secretly I had always harboured the ambition to work with wood. We were living in Orkney when I decided to become committed to being a craftsman. I wanted to make beautiful, simple, pure, objects that would enrich everyday life and be accessible to everyone. Anyone who has tried to make "simple" and "pure" objects will know this is very hard and takes a very long time. I still have these aims and, very occasionally, I catch a glimpse of what I am aiming for!
Everything begins with the material. I love working with wood; it's a great material and it has an amazing history and tradition. My work is made to be handled and touched and I hope the objects I make will, in time, develop a patina through use. I design forms that don't overpower the innate qualities of the wood, but allow it to speak with its own voice. I strive for form, balance, proportion, lightness and simplicity.
The major influence on my work is what I call the vernacular craft tradition. I've always been attracted to this kind of work - often made by anonymous makers. I can remember years ago, when I was just starting to think about how things were made, standing in the Corrigal Farm Museum in Orkney and looking at the objects in the room and knowing that I wanted to be part of that tradition – a tradition which encompasses the Arts and Crafts Movement, The Shakers, George Nakashima,and both Japanese and Scandinavian traditional and contemporary craft and design.
I try not to get bogged down with too much theory - I want to make objects that people feel a connection with.”
Hugh Leishman 2014
The William Morris Gallery, Walthamstowe, London E17