As much as we try to hide the fact that we’re all very excited that The Great Pottery Throw Down is now on our screens, it’s impossible to keep our curiosity in check and our focus away from the exploits of the 12 potters that are now going to be put to task every Tuesday night. There’s great interest here at Turning Earth and secretly we’re all fired up, itching to see if our own pottery skills match up to what is being created on the show each week.
Everyone here knows exactly how daunting it is to get clay to do exactly what you want it to do, let alone under the eye of a judge; on a tight schedule, and to throw five – yes five – stacking bowls in 2.5 hours! I know that a lot of people here would have relished the chance, but still, it’s lucky that at our studio we have more collaboration than competition. As one of our members, Lydia, noted on our members page on Facebook – “20 handles in five hours. Go!” – the added pressure is a bit much, and thankfully, a normal potter wouldn’t be subject to it… unless of course she’d failed to negotiate the deadlines of those commissions properly.
We have all been inspired by the activities outlined in the first episode. In fact, even though not much ‘throwing off the hump’ takes place at our studio, I’ve definitely overheard comments recently about the need to get hands on humps again (although I don’t think anyone has actually had a request for 20 egg cups to be produced in a mere heartbeat). But Tessa Barrett, our very own teacher and one of our most experienced potters, has buckled under the temptation the show presents, and will be challenging some of our members to reproduce some of the tasks given to the TV contestants every week. It’s just too tempting I guess, and she’ll even be competing herself – watch out folks, she’s a fiery virtuoso on the wheel – and the challenge this week will be to make three cups with handles and five bowls. Mercifully, they don’t have to stack. Thanks for that Tessa!
So, naturally we’ll be eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series. Paying attention to all the little tips and ideas that can be pinched, pilfered and put to good use, whilst absorbing all the science extras. Trying not to get too involved as people inevitably get voted-off despite being fiercely talented, or when an unwelcome crack appears in a rim or a base or the glaze slips or the slip runs, as such things are bound to do from time to time. Even if you are Britain’s best.