You may be surprised to see a British potter on this blog, but Bernard Leach is one of the most influential figures in ceramics.
Leach was born in Hong Kong to British citizens. As a young man he studied art in Japan under the tutelage of the great master Kenzan VI, and worked alongside future legends Kawai Kanjiro, Tomimoto Kenkichi and Shoji Hamada. He returned to England with Hamada and established his own studio, and is credited with reviving the ceramics craft movement in the face of industrialization.
He was instrumental in reintroducing the western world to Asian pottery. Leach was a follower of the mingei movement which valued traditional crafts at a time when factories were beginning to mass produce nearly everything in our daily lives. Leach wrote one of the most famous books on pottery, simply titled A Potter's Book, 1940.