Throw down S5 E7

Tom

Was it liberating to be filming this series?
It was great to try out new things.  You kinda stick yourself in a box and make similar things if left to yourself!

 

What age or time in your life did you start pottery and who inspired you?
I started very early. I remember the kiln that was never turned on in my primary school and the tiles on the wall by previous students.  And I remember evening classes with my mum as a teenager being the thing that really set me on this path.

 

Can you say something about the best piece of pottery you have ever made, even if it was your first piece.
The best piece I ever made was a bowl when I was about 14. I threw it on the wheel and it was glazed with a white stoneware glaze. It just had this quiet solidity about it and I got a real sense of achievement making it. Sadly it broke about 10 years ago when another boat collided with my own and it fell off the shelf.

 

Where do you make your pottery, do you have a shed or a workshop that you share?
I have a pair of sheds in my garden. One for throwing, one for glazing and firing.

 

What is your favoured technique – hand-built or thrown – or both and why?
I tend to throw things  – probably because it’s quicker and I like functional pots.

 

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?
The time constraints were brutal! The complete opposite of relaxing in the shed. The hardest part was not knowing how long you had left to complete a task and if you should move on to some other part of the build. It involved making hard decisions about where to spend your time, and where to skip the detail.

 

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’m always being asked for mugs and bowls. People want to use pottery, not just look at it. I make a LOT of mugs. People break them, I make more.

 

How did you find filming walking in on the first day?
Incredibly excited. It was like walking into a magical Christmas Pottery Land.

 

Which judge did you want to impress the most and why?
Everyone wants to make Keith cry, but I wanted to make Rich fall in love with my makes.

 

What do you feel that you will take away from your experience on The Great Pottery Throw Down?
A new set of friends, some new skills and a new view on what it’s possible for me to make.

 

Did you enjoy being in the midst of pottery country in Stoke, and filming at the Gladstone Pottery Museum  –  did it inspire you?
Loved the pottery. What a great place to film. It’s really nice to be immersed in the experience, and Gladstone did that very well.

 

How hard was it to keep a secret?
Not too hard. Although my wife found it harder!  I only told some of my friends, because I needed their permission to use their photos.  They were totally surprised and couldn’t work out how I’d managed to keep it a secret.

 

Do you think your pottery friends or work friends were surprised to see you on television?
Yup. I couldn’t wait to see their faces…

 

What was your best and worst moment overall in the series, and why?
My best moment was seeing my chicken clock hanging on the wall. I never in my life thought I’d make a chicken clock and it came out so well. I was chuffed to bits. I also loved my working gnome whistle. That felt like a triumph too. Both of those were hand-building, something I rarely do.

I think my worst moment was having my poorly decorated pot placed in front of Orla Kiely for judging. I’m a huge fan, my house is full of ’60s repeat patterns and in my head, I had a great design, but sadly getting that design onto the pot proved impossible!

 

What’s next for you in the pottery world and what are your hopes and ambitions after The Great Pottery Throw Down?
I’m building a wood-fired kiln on a little bit of land and I am really looking forward to inviting the other potters down for a communal firing. I’m gonna keep potting and making things for other people, and maybe start sticking eyeballs on more of the things I make.

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