Could YOU be Britain’s next best amateur potter? The makers behind The Great British Pottery Throw Down are looking for contestants for the second series.
Made by the people behind The Great British Bake Off, the six-part series, presented by Sara Cox, is in search for the nation’s best budding potter. During the first season, ten amateur potters took part in a weekly challenge, which was then judged by ceramic artist Kate Malone and potter Keith Brymer Jones. Contestants created a “main make” – for example, a nest of five bowls – followed by a “throw down” challenge when they had to emulate a piece by the “king of the wheel” Keith. Teacher Matthew, 23, from North Yorkshire, took home to coveted title.
Want the scoop on all things pottery? We speak to the judges about the show and what it takes to make it as a potter…
Judge Kate Malone lives in London with her husband and 18-year old daughter.
Pottery is all around us. It’s in satellite dishes, washbasins and bowls and, now that we’ve made this show, I hope that pottery becomes as big with British public as baking.
In the show, people have a jolly good go. We don’t want to trip anyone up – it’s warm and positive, and full of craft and passion. People start of with a lump of clay and, slowly, we watch something beautiful emerge. Watching the way contestants create gave a real indight into their characters.
I can be quite tough as a judge as I want to see people do their best and show their skills. But deciding who had to leave each week was hard. There were four contestants in the final, and although Keith and I didn’t always agree, we definitely picked the right winner.
Achieving something with your hands gives confidence. I’m committed to inspiring people to help their children learn pottery. I wouldn’t be a potter now if I hadn’t learned it at school – but it’s no longer taught in schools as it’s considered a fire risk. My art teacher – who I’m still in touch with – suggested I do an art foundation couse and then I went to the Royal College of Art.
My work in ceramics divides into decorative arts, which is like the haute couture of potery – fancy pots, basically – which sell for £2,000 upwards. Then there’s public art: I’ve made major ceramic pieces for hospitals, schools and libraries.
I love the transformation of pottery. You get such a sense of achievement and pleasure making beautiful things.
Keith Brymer Jones lives in Whitstable with his partner.
I started pottery at school when I was 11 and knew immediately it was what I wanted to do. I’m dyslexic and I remember my art teacher, Mr Mortman, saying, “I can se you’ve got talent” – it was the first time anyone at school had said anything decent to me! After school I got a job as an apprentice, shovelling clay for a big studio, then went on to start my own studio in 1990. Three years later, I got my first major client – Heal’s – which really got me off the ground.
I wanted to do the show to share my passion for ceramics. It reinvigorated my enthusiasm for the different types of clay – but I didn’t realise how intense it would be. My father died while we were filming, but the community spirit got me through – the connection between the judges and the contestants was just fantastic.
I got emotional because we put the contestants through the wringer. I cried a lot during filming – watching people attempting things they’d never done and giving it their best shot was very moving.
Inspired to take the next step in your pottery practice, or perhaps even to become a full-time professional? Submit your application to take part in series 2 of The Great British Pottery Throw Down. Download the application form (http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/takepart/) and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications close midnight Sunday 10th April 2016.