Week two in the house.. oh, that’s the wrong show! In the most recent – rather controversial, perhaps – episode of the Throw Down, Irina was the second to leave.

Discover more about Irina, and her thoughts on being involved with the show

When did you start pottery and who inspired you?
I started five years ago in a local pottery studio at Leigh-on-Sea. Those sessions were about 2.5 hours, 2-3 times a week. My close friend inspired me; I liked what she made and decided to try myself.

Can you say something about the best piece of pottery you have ever made, even if it was your first piece – and any memories that are attached to it.
About two years ago I made a tall vase by the method of coiling. It was perfect to my taste. It has a tall and elegant body with curved neck. Glaze was a success too. I displayed it on the side table in our dining room and called it the “Butterfly” vase. But in the middle of summer, my lovely cat Riz knocked it off and it broke to pieces. Bless him, he was very scared. He only wanted to scratch his back against it.

Where do you make your pottery, do you have a shed or a workshop that you share?
I have a studio on the top floor of our garage. Perfect for pottery, and I have everything a potter needs, materials, tools, glazes, wheel, kiln. I feel very lucky to have a place for my hobby.

What is your favoured technique – hand built or thrown – or both?
I love handbuilding, it makes me feel very relaxed. I see it as a more creative technique, more liberating.

Pottery is usually a relaxing hobby and a lengthy process. What was it like to be working under quite strict time constraints that first week?
It was a very stressful experience, as everything seemed to go wrong that week.

What is your favourite piece of pottery that you make for friends and family? Do you get any special requests around Christmas or birthdays?
All my pottery I give away, I love to give presents, and yes two of my friends requested Christmas houses. I made one as a tester and it came out nice. They spotted the house and made requests 😊 so I am working on it now. Favourite piece I gave away was a mug. It has funny features on it, and very personal to the guy. He loves it, and it makes me happy.

How was it, walking in on the first day?
I enjoyed the walk in, but it was quite intense in the studio.

Which judge did you want to impress the most and why? Did you find Siobhán a great support when the going got tough?
Siobhán was great fun; very supportive and funny. It was great to see the judges for real. I didn’t want to impress one judge in particular, I just enjoyed seeing them all.

What do you feel that you will take away from your experience on The Great Pottery Throw Down?
Now I know how the programme is made, it’s fascinating. It was nice to meet all the other potters, and filming crew. They were amazing! This is very important to me.

Did you enjoy being in the midst of pottery country in Stoke, and filming at the Gladstone Pottery Museum –  did it inspire you?
Gladstone Museum was a good choice, perfect for filming.  It’s a very picturesque area.

Do you think your pottery friends or work friends were surprised to see you on television?
Yes, I think they were!

How hard was it to keep a secret?
Not at all.

What’s next for you in the pottery world and what are your hopes and ambitions after The Great Pottery Throw Down?
I will continue to enjoy it, and if my pottery takes me on to the next level I will go with that. If not, it will continue to be my perfect hobby.

 

Next week

It’s fruit bowls and the dreaded blindfold challenge!

Will you be watching?  Make-along with the show, and send us photos of your work, to be in with a chance of winning over £100-worth of prizes! See more here

For our 18-page feature on the show, buy issue 47, available for pre-order here