Layton, Peter (4 of 22) National Life Stories Collection: Crafts Lives

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  • Recording date

    2014-11-24, 2014-12-18, 2015-01-07, 2015-01-13, 2015-01-19, 2015-03-02, 2015-03-09, 2015-03-16, 2015-04-13

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home in Worcester Park and studio in London

  • Interviewees

    Layton, Peter, 1937- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Cornford, Frances (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 4: PL stationed in Southampton docks helping ship equipment; PL working as a clerk but volunteered to go to Suez; PL also being experimented on at Porton Down to break monotony, including being exposed to mustard gas; comments on having bronchitis as a child; anecdote about being injured and being embarrassed by mother. [09:00] PL having a girlfriend who was an art student while doing National Service; PL mixing with art students, going to jazz clubs. PL having a 1929 Austin 7; PL unusual in having a car. [15:30] PL nearer to London and getting more involved in Habonim while in Southampton; singing, folkdancing and listening to skiffle; PL introduced to more serious jazz. PL committed to return to Batley but persuaded to go on Zionist youth leader course in Israel. PL working at rag factory for a year before going to Israel. PL part of European contingent of youth leaders. [21:27] Going by ship to Israel from Marseilles on Zim line and carrying on activities on board. Youth leader course of 100 people with 3 from Habonim in UK, mentions Seymour Jacobson and Brenda Burns. Expectations of Israel; PL reading up about Zionism while in RAF; wanting to see whether could live in Israel. Handicrafts as part of course taught by Israeli painter Yona Mach (YM); PL taken up by YM and taken to meet other artists; Pl liking artists way of life; PL enrolling for drawing classes at art college in Jerusalem paid for by giving English classes. PL painting while at a kibbutz in Northern Galilee. Comments on working on kibbutz. [36:00] PL loving character of Israel and feeling less inhibited there. PL enrolling in Bradford Art College on return from Israel. PL thinking would work in 2-d but gravitating toward 3-d at college and enjoyed ceramics and sculpture. PL attracted by romantic idea of being an artist. PL expected to work for Habonim on return to UK; expectation that would eventually settle in Israel; PL joining a group of potential settlers but got more involved in art. PL living in a Habonim house when moved to Central School of Art. [43:39] Doing Intermediate diploma at Bradford, mentions modelling head of grandfather. PL enjoying ceramics, mentions Hockney coming to visit with green hair. PL making hand build abstract portraits. Tutors including Eric Rimington, Leonard Stephani, Roger Dean, woman who started British Print Biennale in Bradford. Bradford as a good art school to be at. Also mentions Alan Davie, Douglas Binder. [51:15] Comments on structure of course, mentions Basic Design being taught; good guest lecturers, mentions Quentin Bell. PL enjoying sculpture and handling clay; PL a competent thrower but excited by handbuilding; appeal of tactile qualities of clay. Bruce Adams as head of ceramics. Pl reading extensively in library, mentions that every book previously taken out by Hockney. PL interested in expressionist painting and then sculptors like Brancusi and Nagucci. PL reading books by Bernard Leach and Marguerite Wildenhain; appeal of spiritual qualities of handwork. PL later meeting Bernard Leach (BL) and BL interested in kibbutz. PL at Central School of Art at a good time, mentions Dan Arbeid, Kenneth Clark, John Colbeck, Eileen Nesbit. PL not knowing about wedging and kneading clay and losing confidence for a while. Meeting Ian Auld and others; PL close to Dan Arbeid at one point and invited to help fire his kiln. Fellow students including John Chipperfield, William Hall, Robin Welch.

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