It was all about bathrooms on this week’s Throw Down, and the potters were competing to go through to the final. The brief for the main build was a fully functional pedestal basin.
Peter chose not to use a former for his basin, while the others used plaster moulds. He chose luggage trunks for both the pedestal and the bowl, harking back to travelling as a family for his father’s work. He had a few stress cracks after the bisque firing, but the judges praised his finished piece, saying it had a lovely, flush bottom and felt like proper suitcases. The basin filled with no leaks, and drained evenly and well.
Hannah chose an ambitiously large slab-sided pedestal, decorated in her usual painterly fashion, with a woman on one side and a cobalt vase with flowers on the other. Some teeth-sucking from the judges when they saw the size of the slab proved justified after it broke into several pieces in the bisque firing, but Hannah gamely tried to fix it back together with glaze. The finished piece was still cracked, but Keith did tear up as he said that despite it being a mish-mash, it worked, “because it’s from you”. That said, it did have a slight leak.
Jodie went for a dragonfly theme, to match a tattoo she has on her back. The square pedestal did warp slightly during the first firing, and the judges would have liked to see a curve to the top edge, to seat the bowl more neatly. Her layered, muted colours were dreamy and the use of sprigs and relief was praised. The basin filled and drained very well, but overall, the form was judged to be a little safe, and conventional.
Throughout the series, Adam has shown a flair for sea-themed builds and he didn’t disappoint. An intricate coral basin decorated with white glaze and copper oxide highlights sat on top of a mermaid’s tail, with each scale picked out in soft colours. The judges appreciated the amount of work that had gone into the build, and Adam was awarded Potter of the Week. CONTINUES BELOW…
The spot test challenge was to decorate a chamber pot, dedicated to someone special. Jodie chose her grandmother, and picked memories of things they had done together when Jodie was a child (second place). Hannah had trouble getting started, but dedicated her delicate flowers to her friend Beth’s new daughter, Libby (third place), while Peter returned to his recurring theme of family, with a lovely motto (fourth place). Adam’s nephew was the recipient of his dedication, and the pot was covered in witty lavatorial innuendoes sprawled across images of the globe, with a good use of colour. This won him first place.
After much deliberation, sadly Hannah was the potter who didn’t make it to the final next week.
When did you start pottery and who inspired you?
I started pottery when I did a mature students’ art foundation course in Weston Super Mare, at age 24. I did it alongside my job and I could only afford to do the first half of the course but the first half was enough to get me inspired!!! I was inspired by an amazing tutor called Simon, who was so passionate and philosophical about clay.
Where do you do your pottery?
I live in the same city as my parents – I was feeling quite low (and quite unemployed) at one point a few years ago and they gave me a room in their house to use as a studio… and I’ve been using it ever since!
Did you enjoy being in the midst of pottery country in Stoke, and filming at the Gladstone Pottery Museum?
Yes, the buildings are gorgeous it was very exciting. Ironically I did not go into the museum because of Covid, so the extent of my inspiration was the pottery mosaic by the toilets!
Was it liberating to be filming this series?
It was an adventure. A very controlled adventure.
What was it like, walking in on the first day?
Fun and terrifying!
Pottery is usually a relaxing hobby and a lengthy process so what was it like to be working under quite strict time constraints that first week?
I do love deadlines and adrenaline so partly it was exhilarating and partly it was awful. You’re just totally nerve-wracked, being in a new place with new people and thinking about how so many people are going to see this awful thing that you’re hurriedly making.
Which judge did you want to impress the most?
I was really interested to hear what Rich had to say. Siobhan was great at diffusing the stress.
What were your best and worst moments in the series?
I’d have to say my best moment was ironically during my final episode. When my sink came out of the kiln in three pieces it was oddly the most liberating feeling. I thought things literally cannot get worse than this ERGO I have NOTHING TO LOSE, so I felt completely free to glaze it exactly how I wanted and it was the most fun, exciting process. I had so much fun, I felt so free – and when it came out the kiln I absolutely loved it. I didn’t like it when any of the other potters were doing badly. The worst moment was the unveiling of my cheese set, –no explanation needed.
Do you think your friends were surprised to see you on television?
Yes, it will have been a shocker.
Was it hard to keep it secret?
Yes it was!!
Which is your favourite build technique?
I love hand building because that’s what I started off doing – I didn’t have a wheel (#cash) and so started just building with slabs – and found that there are a million things you can do with hand-building; the options are ENDLESS and UNDERRATED.
What is the best piece of pottery you’ve made, and are there any memories attached to it?
The best piece of pottery I ever made was a massive pot for my mum. It is really big and wonky and heavy, it was so exciting to use that much clay; scale matters. It was the first time I started to understand and experiment with mixing glazes.
What is your favourite thing to make for friends and family, and do you get any special requests around Christmas or birthdays?
I like making prints with slip. I get requests for mugs but I hate making mugs, for some reason I find myself making them anyway because I am weak,
What do you feel that you will take away from your experience on The Great Pottery Throw Down?
How powerful a deadline (and national TV) is in helping you to make lots of stuff in a short amount of time – WOW.
What’s next for you in the pottery world and what are your hopes and ambitions after The Great Pottery Throw Down?
I would love to study fine art in some capacity! I want to learn more and experiment!!!
Next week the potters will be inspired by the roaring ’20s, and produce an Art Deco punch bowl and decanter, and throwing miniatures. Watch the show on Channel 4, Sunday at 8pm.
For more updates on previous shows, see here