Episode 4 Miles pulling handles

Miles

Was it liberating to be filming this series?
It was completely liberating to be on The Great Pottery Throw Down. A chance to experiment and explore creatively alongside other potters. I was humbled by the whole experience and would do it all again tomorrow!

 

What age or time in your life did you start pottery and who inspired you?
I learnt pottery a little at school. As many artists would say, it was my first art teacher, Miss Nichols, who inspired me. She taught me to make a coil pot, which I still have! I then went on to do an A-Level in pottery at college, where I pushed my work into a more figurative form. Years later, while living in California, I joined an evening class with Mark Churchill, who completely blew my mind with his passion for clay and what you can do when you put your mind to it.  Mark taught me how to throw and about shape and balance.

 

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?
I think it’s hard to express to others why your best piece is your best. Mine is a very small bowl. To me it is my best because it’s a perfect shape, the glaze changed colour because it was next to something in the kiln which affected it, it’s something I use every day and, above all, I felt something during the making of this tiny insignificant object which is personal to me.

 

Where do you make your pottery, do you have a shed or a workshop that you share?
I have a shed at the bottom of the garden where I throw while listening to music and looking out of the window over our beautiful garden. It’s a very calming place to be.   I also make at community pottery in Hereford, where I’ve been a member since it opened in 2019. I love the exchange of ideas and how every member does their own thing and there is wonderful support you feel from the group. It’s as close as I’ve ever been to the Throw Down studio atmosphere.

 

What is your favoured technique – hand built or thrown – or both and give reasons why?
It depends which day you ask me. I love to throw; to make things exactly and create functional pieces, but I also love to handbuild, mostly through coil and pinch to quite large scale. I can express myself much more in this way.

 

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?
It was the hardest thing to work to a set time. Usually, you make and fiddle until you feel it’s right and then you can keep going back to check on your pieces and refine over days.

 

What is your favourite piece of pottery that you make for friends and family, and do you get any special requests around Christmas or birthdays?
I have recently been getting special requests for teapots. I suppose it’s because it’s a semi-decorative piece that is ceremonial, so it’s nice to have a piece made by someone you know as opposed to just buying one from a high street shop.

 

How did you find filming walking in on the first day?
So surreal! From the moment I found out I had been selected to be on the show, I didn’t quite believe it. When the sliding doors went back and the judges came out to talk to us I couldn’t stop laughing. I kept thinking to myself it was like being in a dream. In fact, that night I dreamt that I was on the GPTD and Keith cried but actually all that had happened!!! Still can’t believe it.

 

Which judge did you want to impress the most and why?
Of course, I wanted to impress Keith and Rich. I admire and respect them so much as potters and mentors.

 

What do you feel that you will take away from your experience on The Great Pottery Throw Down?
I feel blessed. I now have 11 very close friends for life. The 12 of us bonded very quickly. I know I can call on any of them for help or advice in the future. I also feel I learnt so much about myself and what I’m capable of under pressure and what I can do with determination.

 

Did you enjoy being in the midst of pottery country in Stoke, and filming at the Gladstone Pottery Museum – did it inspire you?
Gladstone is a wonderful place. So much history and character. You could really feel how productive and energetic it must have been over the years. I didn’t know Stoke well before. I’m looking forward to returning to visit the museums and pottery suppliers. It’s something the other potters and I have discussed, as we didn’t have enough time for the educational side of our time outside of Gladstone.

 

How hard was it to keep a secret?
It was hard to keep it a secret. I couldn’t wait until the show comes out so I could explain why it was that I was a bit distant and weird for that time we were filming and why it was I had to keep it from them.

 

Do you think your pottery friends or work friends will be surprised to see you on television?
Yes, I’m sure they were surprised to see me on TV. I’ve no idea what they’ll think, but I expect they’ll think it’s funny mostly.

 

What was your best and worst moment overall in the series, and why?
The worst moment was making something that kept falling apart, which felt like such a disaster.

The best moment was when I recovered from disaster and made a giant apple in minutes using my initiative and determination not to fail.  Both things same day, same challenge.

 

What’s next for you in the pottery world and what are your hopes and ambitions after The Great Pottery Throw Down?
I’m super busy, making every day. I hope this is life now waking up and as quickly as possible get back to my pottery. I’ve learnt so much through TGPTD and still pushing my skills and work to express as much of me as I can. I am really excited about what I’m doing at the moment. Can’t wait to share it with the world.

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