Les Blakebrough’s career as a ceramicist began in 1957 when he was taken on as a pottery apprentice at the Sturt workshops in Mittagong, NSW. Since 1973 has has been based in Hobart. Throughout his career, production has been a central concern for Blakebrough, and in the 1990s he became particularly interested in how the handmade could be combined with limited industrial production.

In 1993 Blakebrough won a Churchill Fellowship to experience industrial processes in the factories of Royal Copenhagen (Denmark), Arabia (Finland) and Royal Worcester (UK). Between 1995-97, along with colleague Penny Smith, and with grants from the Australian Research Council, he established the Ceramic Research Unit at the University of Tasmania. This is capable of producing domestic ware in runs of up to 10 000 items. The porcelain clay used is Southern Ice, a clay that Blakebrough developed in the 1990s and is now manufactured by Clayworks Australia in Victoria.

Blakebrough‘s work was included in the exhibition 'Smart works: design and the handmade’ (2007), and several items are in the Museum’s permanent collection.

Jonathan Holmes, Powerhouse Museum
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