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The Great Pottery Throw Down

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On 11/4/2020 at 1:50 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

OMG Rich the kiln guy is going to be a judge this season?!

OH! I didn't realize that's who it is, awesome! They didn't get rid of Keith did they? When is this going to be broadcast?

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On 11/5/2020 at 1:02 PM, GaT said:

OH! I didn't realize that's who it is, awesome! They didn't get rid of Keith did they? When is this going to be broadcast?

Keith is still there. They changed the host and the female judge. No word on when it’s going to be broadcast. I hope it drops on HBO Max at a similar time. 

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This year's contestants!

Adam - age 36, support worker

Born in Bradford, Adam grew up in Seaford near Brighton and was always obsessed with swimming, sailing and the sea. In his early twenties, Adam was knocked down by a car in a hit and run and was severely injured, leaving him in a wheelchair for a year. During recovery, Adam turned to clay to help ease his mind and found that due to its therapeutic nature, hand-building became his life saver.

He crafts beautiful and unique nature inspired pottery which he describes as “fun, exciting and whimsical things that have a character and charm that are visually exciting and that you just want to touch.” He is particularly inspired by the sea and loves to recreate tentacles and anemones in clay.
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Alon - age 20, architecture student

Born in Camden, raised in Israel, Alon is the youngest of three. He lives with his mum Tal, his dad Yossi and his sister Hadar in North London.

Alon is about to start an Architecture degree at the University of Edinburgh and also loves to bake and cook. In fact, he’s the family’s resident chef, cooking all the meals in the house.
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Ara - age 57, retired theatre wardrobe/costume manager

Ara spent 25 years as a wardrobe and costume manager in British theatre, working with some of the biggest names.

Now retired with his partner of 35 years, Ara loves nothing more than to bring clay to life by recreating human portraits. His amazing eye for detail and fashion lends itself to a theatrical costuming approach to his pots, which he likes to accessorise with punk metal, studs, nuts and bolts.
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Hannah - age 30, project manager for community-led housing scheme

Community-spirited Hannah grew up in Nepal, where her parents worked in community development and moved to the UK at the age of 14. She currently lives in Bristol and is a project manager for a large community-led housing scheme.

Hannah was introduced to ceramics six years ago through an Art Foundation Diploma, and developed her skills by learning through “osmosis” whilst volunteering at a pottery studio in Bristol and ceramics centre in Denmark. Hannah is active in her local church, where she often cooks communal meals for up to 150 people.
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Henry - age 25, activities organiser in elderly residential home

Henry lives in rural Suffolk with his mum, dad and two “sassy” budgies, Bonnie and Clyde. As the Activities Organiser at a retirement home, he works hard to help residents live life to the full.

Henry has been potting for five years and was first introduced to clay at university where he taught himself to throw on a disused kick wheel. Outside of pottery, Henry loves nothing more than to throw himself around, be that by trapezing, unicycling, juggling on a tightrope, skateboarding, or trampolining – something he has done since the age of 12 and used to compete at nationally. Henry also loves tattoos and has twenty-three on his body which he has inked himself using the traditional ‘stick-n-poke’ technique.
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Irina - age 43, executive customer service representative for private jet company

Hailing from Far East Russia, Irina moved to the UK fifteen years ago. She grew up in a small city close to the border of North Korea, China and Japan where her father was a Merchant Navy Captain in the Soviet Army and spent long periods away at sea.

Irina lives and breathes aviation: her fiancé, Peter, and son, Anatoly, both work as private pilots, and she works as executive ground staff for a luxurious private jet company. Irina has been potting for around five years and loves nothing more than to make “feminine, floral, breathtaking romantic vases”.
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Jodie - age 35, NHS scrub nurse

Hailing from just south of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales, Jodie works as an NHS Scrub Nurse ensuring everything is in tip-top shape ready for the surgeons and doctors to operate. Well equipped to deal with the pressures and stresses of her line of work, outside of the hospital Jodie spends her time training for triathlons and iron man contests or speeding down Route 66 with Dad, Colin, on their motorbikes.

Just over two years ago, she and her friend sought a new hobby to keep them occupied during the winter months and she has been potting mad ever since!
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Lee - age 44, community nurse

Lee’s role as a night-shift Community Nurse involves visiting both routine patients and emergency visits within their homes, a job he says he ‘’absolutely adores’’.

A constant crafter and hobbyist, Lee discovered pottery and started learning the basics from an acquaintance nearby. Now, three years on, Lee has made up for lost time and tried his hand at all things ceramic; from throwing large pots to sgraffito and making his own glazes – he is mainly a wheel thrower, but he has attempted most techniques.
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Peter - age 69, part-time design & technology teacher

Born and raised in South London, family man and part-time pilot Peter now lives in Buckinghamshire with Gill, his art teacher wife.

Despite a yearning to join the arts, he was heavily encouraged to follow in his father’s footsteps and worked as a product designer for various toy companies. Just before his 50th birthday he took the brave step of returning to university to study a degree in ceramics and has now been teaching visual arts for almost 20 years.
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Sally - age 58, access art & design teacher

Sally is an art teacher from Cornwall, where she lives with her partner Hazel. Sally has been potting on and off for twenty years.

She worked as a graphic designer for two decades before deciding to go back to university at 44 to take a degree in Applied Arts. Sally used to call potters “mudslingers” when she was a neat and tidy graphic design student, but now admits to being an “absolutely filthy” potter who’s happiest when she’s in a “t-shirt, jeans and covered in mud”. She has a real gung-ho, give it a go attitude and is forever rebuilding parts of her house or whittling tools from household objects.
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Shenyue - age 28, model

Shenyue is a professional model strutting the catwalks and shooting pieces for clients such as Vivienne Westwood and Armani.

An only child to scientist parents, she studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, but upon graduating seven years ago shifted her focus to modelling.

Three years ago, Shenyue stepped back into the world of science in a role as a Strategy Consultant, mostly focusing on life science and biotech clients. Despite only discovering pottery in the past year and a half, she has ditched the corporate world and made the brave decision to follow her passion for ceramics.

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Susan - age 55, library assistant

Library assistant and mum of three, Susan hails from Aberdeenshire. Due to her father’s job, the family moved a lot, and Susan was often roped into helping with the DIY and painting of their house-building projects.

Susan met her now-husband Ron in the Outer Hebrides 30 years ago, when he ‘accidentally’ spilled her drink then offered to buy her another one… and the rest is history.

Susan first learnt pottery at a group evening class 16 years ago. Her designs are often inspired by animals and are highly decorative and colourful, with a sense of humour and a real attention to character detail.

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Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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S4.E1: Cheese Set & Port Chalices

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Judges Keith Brymer Jones and Rich Miller set the 12 new potters two challenges against the clock: to throw a cheese set and port chalices, as the battle of clay kicks off at the wheel.

Original air date: 1/10/21

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I really hope I can find a way to see this, it's so frustrating. 

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Why have they been hiding Rich in the kiln room for all those years? He is a great judge - lovely voice, very bubbly, articulate and warm. Great smile too. He and Keith make a lovely team.

Rose, who took over kiln duty from Rich, made a good and competent impression in the first episode. And last but not least, Siobhan is a great addition to the team. Her brand of humor makes the show feel a lot fresher.

Lots to love. Well done Sal, grabbing the first Potter of the Week accolade.

Can't remember all the contestant's names just yet. The pirate lady's illustration of Keith, Rich and Siobhan were quite funny. I thought she was a gonner when she didn't finish her stuff, but the throw down and Ara's mistakes saved her.

Edited by Aulty
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I'm so glad I can see this season, I missed the show. I enjoyed the first episode, these potters are all as talented as previous seasons.

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Yay, I'm so glad that this show is back!

I always liked Rich as the kiln guy because he was very knowledgeable and cheerfully helpful whenever he interacted with the contestants. But he's even better as a judge. He has great comments (and I'm not just saying that because I thought the same thing most of the time). Rose is a great Rich replacement so I'm looking forward to hearing her comments. Siobhan did a good job as the new host.

I wonder if the eliminated contestants were sent home after each episode or if they stayed in quarantine until filming was done.

Keith's bucket of doom is back! I don't always agree with which pieces he squashes and which ones he leaves on the work benches, but I always enjoy his glee at smashing throw down pieces. I also really loved how obviously in awe the contestants were while watching him demonstrate how to make the throw down goblets. He always makes it look so easy.

Overall, I think the talent level and creativity of this group is pretty high. There were several really good cheese sets that I would have been fine with as this week's winner.

Awww, I loved that Keith was crying before he even gave his first critique of the cheese sets.

Even though Jodie the nurse was disappointed that the colors of her dark desert high way set were washed out, I thought they looked great. To my eyes, the orange was the right shade as was the blue. I am usually not a fan of that splattering technique, but I liked how she used it to add some subtle depth and texture to the road scene. I really liked how she used it with the cactus stencil on the pickle jars. The contrast of the sharp outline of the cactus and the softness of the small dots was really nice. I loved the road painted on the inside of the cheese dome. I was worried that the bird she used as the knob for the cheese dome might end up looking like an unidentifiable lump, but it was clear what it was from a distance.

I wasn't sure how the blue of Irina's set would turn out, but I ended up really liking the bright but light color she got. I liked the soft ruffled edge of the plate portion of the cheese dome. I spent most of the episode expecting the judges to say that the roses she used as knobs were too sharp/angular and that they might be uncomfortable when picking them up so I was not at all surprised when Rich mentioned it.

I loved the rich blue color of Henry's seaside set. I really liked the contrast of the stark white matte texture of the top with the smooth shiny blue of the bottom. I just hope he doesn't use that spoon technique on every challenge. I didn't like the handle on top of his cheese dome because it looked like the hole in the middle would be too small to comfortably put your finger through. I need more footage of Henry demonstrating his circus skills. Let's see him on the trapeze next!

I was so excited to see how Shenyue's starry night set turned out. The contrast of the yellow moon knobs and the blue pieces was very pretty, but I agreed that there needed to be more of that on the actual pieces so that we would get the effect of stars.

Adam's mermaid set was minimal but very pretty. The mermaid tail handle on the cheese dome was fun and I liked the little barnacles on the fondue pot. I wasn't crazy about the handles of his pickle jars. They kind of resembled toilet brush handles sticking up. I really liked the very light blue color he used.

I like Suz but she is going to have some major time management issues if this week was any indication. She remade her cheese dome at least three times which really put her back. But even during the later phase allotted for decorating, she couldn't finish, which is a shame because I loved her pirate concept and what she had. The skull and cross bones handle on the cheese dome, the parrot knob on her pickle jar, the map underneath the cheese dome, and the illustrations of Keith, Rich, and Siobhan were so fun. I also liked her blue and yellow color palette. Her pieces looked well made and the decorating that she managed to do looked good, so she seems like the kind of person who just isn't used to such a short amount of time to create (unlike, say, Ronaldo from S3 who never finished but also had issues with form/construction as well as his decoration). I hope she can stick it out because I am really interested in seeing what else she comes up with.

Peter's Gatsby inspired Art Deco set was a lovely cool shade of green, but his decorations were a miss for me. The lady handles were unidentifiable as anything. The large shapes he added to the cheese dome were the same. The squiggles of black paint he added to everything looked messy.

Ara idea to use a simple white glaze to show off the grooves in his cheese set was a good idea in theory but it all went awry with the glaze. I felt bad because his pieces looked well made and I liked the grooves.

Alon's bronze acorn knobs were beautiful. They looked like antique brass which was a great finish. He really gave himself a challenge making so many square items. I wish the color had been a bit stronger. I didn't mind the color he used but it seemed very plain with just that very translucent barely there color.

Lee's beehive set was beautiful. He managed to get such an opaque deep yellow color that made everything look like it had been dipped in butter. The queen bee handle had so much personality too.

It was very sweet of Hannah to make a set inspired by her grandfather's art. Although it wasn't my favorite cheese set, I liked the shade of blue. I wasn't crazy about the other abstract stuff though.

Sal's "my dog loves cheese" set was fantastic. It was such a fun concept and she executed it really well. I loved the dog knobs and the drawings of her dog on the side of the cheese dome. I really enjoyed seeing it. Haha, I loved that she said she and Keith are just going to keep making each other cry.

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S4.E2: 3D Slab-Build & Handmade Bricks

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It's all about bricks and mortar, as the 11 remaining potters slab-build a 3D building and, in a Throw Down first, judge Rich Miller tasks the potters with handmaking bricks

Original air date: 1/17/21

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LOL Bricky Ricky and 'If I was a crier, I'd be in tears'.

How much of the brick challenge was about technique, and how much was about strength? Some of them had problems slapping the clay into the mould and getting them out. Keith and Rich had a blast watching them though.

Only a matter of time until one of the contestants takes a tumble down those rickety stairs, trying to carry their massive build down to the kiln.

I love the animated The Snail and the Whale, thus the idea Aron had with the huts on the back of the whale was right up my street.

A few other potters did pretty well too, but I wasn't keen on their designs - like Welsh Alanis Morisette's maroccan lighthouse (well done on getting Potter of the week) or the Dhali house. And as impressive and detailed Adam's fairy house was, I wasn't that keen on it.
Irina's on the other hand was a bit basic. Suz needs to get a good build in, she was very lucky again.

Sal is the real powerhouse of the competition so far, isn't she? She got a lot of depth into her brick walls, As did Henry.

Pottery Throwdown drinking game? Down one every time Shenyue mentions her boyfriend.

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9 hours ago, Aulty said:

Sal is the real powerhouse of the competition so far, isn't she?

Yeah, she's looking like the frontrunner so far.

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I liked that last week was all about throwing so this week was all about hand building. It's nice to see how skilled the contestants are with different techniques.

12 hours ago, Aulty said:

How much of the brick challenge was about technique, and how much was about strength? Some of them had problems slapping the clay into the mould and getting them out.

I agree that strength definitely have some of them more of an advantage. I also noticed that Irina was at an extreme disadvantage because of how short she is. If you look carefully, the taller people had a much wider range of motion to use for throwing the clay down (both into the mold and out of the mold). But because of her height, she had a much smaller range of motion and therefore less momentum. She was only able to raise her brick form a few inches above the table and when she slammed it down, her arms were at a 90 degree angle. Although there was nothing to be done to instantly increase her arm strength, I think that having a lower table would have helped her.

This is Rich's height in relation to the table. Because he's so tall, he could theoretically raise the brick form a good 2-3 feet above the table and slam it down with his arms almost fully extended.

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This is Alon, Shenyue, Jodie, and Lee. You can see that their waists and elbows are all clearly far above the top of the table so although they aren't quite as tall as Rich, they would be able to lift the form high above the table and slam it down with their arms at an angle of greater than 90 degrees.

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Then we have two of our shortest contestants who not so coincidentally produced some of the worst bricks.

Here you can see that Suz's waist is at about the same level as the top of the table and her arms are bent at about a 90 degree angle while scraping the board that the bricks go on.

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Similarly, although Irina's waist is blocked by the bricks, you can still see that the top of the table is about the same height as her waist and that her arms are at a 90 degree angle when her brick form is on the table (that's what she's holding in her hands).

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I'm not saying this throw down was rigged or anything because I'm not into conspiracy theories. I just think that the short people were at a bit of a disadvantage and the bricks that they produced really showed it (and they came in last and second to last).

Although Adam's fairy house wasn't exactly my cup of tea (although, to be fair, I'm not in the market for 40 cm house of any kind), it was whimsical and well built. It also had lots of different sizes and shapes for the light to come through (I loved the different sized circles), and he had lots of different textures and shapes in the rest of his design. The two blue roofs fit his design really well and looked straight out of a Thumbelina storybook. When he started making those mushrooms with such thin stems, I was sure they would break in the firing or not be able to support the weight of the mushroom caps, but they all survived and looked very organic. I loved the variety of color and the tiny details like the clothes on the clothesline. The small windows were a smart structural decision but they also gave the light a mysterious fairy glow (as opposed to big bright lights).

Henry's Falmouth building was just odd to me. Keith liked the mishmash of different buildings but I thought that it made his building look very confusing. I also didn't like that it was so compact. It wasn't very wide so structurally most of this wasn't very challenging to build. The beak on the front and the skate ramp in the back just made no sense to me. But even taking my personal taste out of the equation, it seemed overly simplistic. My favorite thing was the floating staircase on the side of the building. "If I was a cryer, I'd be in floods." Never change, Rich.

Hannah's bakery building had some great personality. In addition to the seagull and the dragon perched on the roofs, I also liked the different graffiti on the outside. The judges didn't mention this but in one of the shots, you can see that she painted faux tiles on the floor of the bakery and made a table and chair to put inside.

Peter's Gaudi inspired building was interesting. I liked that he went with a round design, which was different from everyone else's. I really liked the bright colors he used for the dots and the door, but the colors of the roof and the lizards was disappointing. I liked the round little windows for the lights.

Sal's Cornish engine house was great. I loved all the texture and the subtle gradients of color used on the bricks. I also loved the rectangular windows with multiple squares cut out and the half circle window with little brick details on top. The tiny flowers were a nice touch. What was impressive was how realistic she made all the different textures of the real materials (wood, brick, etc.).

Oh, Alon. I'm not a potter and even I was questioning the structural stability of putting a two story building on top of a whale at an angle. I was not at all surprised when it started collapsing immediately. I was glad he managed to salvage it and keep his design intact, but I was really nervous for him. I really liked the fleur de lis shaped windows and the light coming through the whale's eyes was a great idea. But I was so distracted by all the cracking from the clay slip he added after the first firing. It was SO bad. On a shallow note, I am always distracted by his beautiful perfect curls.

Shenyue's Cambridge building was too basic for me. It was a giant rectangular box with a cupola. I did like the little details she added like the decorations on the outside of the building, and the silhouettes inside that you could only really see when the light was on. And on top of that, the color was pretty blah. I know she was emulating the real building, but a big white box is not enough.

Lee's mill looked like something you would see in one of those Christmas village displays. I didn't mind the square pattern texture from the hessian, and I liked the clock tower. The pond on the side was a nice addition. I was really distracted by the outer door. Maybe it was the angle of the camera, but something about it looked off to me.

Suz's Scottish building had so much character. I loved the bears on the top of the three turretfs. I wish she'd had time to perforate the letters on the side which would have looked beautiful. I liked the size and shape of our windows though. I had to laugh when she realized that she'd forgotten to include a door.

Irina's house was very sweet but a bit simple. I was surprised that Keith criticized her for having such large windows instead of complimenting her for being able to maintain the structural integrity of those walls with such large cut outs. I really liked the very small details she added like the scallops on the roof and the floral additions on the outer walls. I thought it was weird that the door was so small and the bottom of it didn't reach the ground.

Jodie's cottage was so well executed. It was definitely worth all the time she spent cutting those individual roof tiles. I really liked the texture of her building and the beautiful details of the door. The two shades of blue she chose complemented each other well, as did the little pops of red.

I didn't think Irina was the absolute worst this week, but I was okay with her being eliminated. Congratulations to Jodie!

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I definitely agree that height was a big factor in getting the bricks right, but Sal is also very short and managed better than Suz and Irina.

I agree with all @ElectricBoogaloo said regarding all the buildings. I would have been OK with Adam winning POtW because of all the intricate detail on his fairy building and the magical quality of the light, which seemed very well planned on his end.

 

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Not sure I agree with potter of the week. Or with the chop. But really glad to have the show back! 

Alan is a cutie pie, but I don't care for his "I want to stay, so I can do more crazy stuff, even if the judges are skeptical!" thing. He can have fun but also should be there to learn ...and win! 

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On 1/18/2021 at 9:36 AM, jpgr said:

I definitely agree that height was a big factor in getting the bricks right, but Sal is also very short and managed better than Suz and Irina.

I'm 95% sure I saw Sal standing on a stool. I don't know if she was the only one who thought to do that or if there was only one stool available in the entire building or if she brought her own from home or what!

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S4.E3: Fruit Bowls & a Blindfolded Throw Down

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The remaining potters get fruity when they're challenged to make a bowl full of realistic ceramic fruits, and face a blindfolded throw down with a twist.

Original air date: 1/24/21

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7 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

S4.E3: Fruit Bowls & a Blindfolded Throw Down

Original air date: 1/24/21

Ooo, I like this one, can't wait to see the fruits.

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It was a good episode, but i think that maybe they shouldn't have shown the ceramic fruits at the beginning of the show because those were extraordinary. Nothing any of the potters made compared to those fruits.

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40 minutes ago, GaT said:

It was a good episode, but i think that maybe they shouldn't have shown the ceramic fruits at the beginning of the show because those were extraordinary.

Those were amazing.

I only realised yesterday that the first two episodes are 10 minutes (and a commercial break) longer than third - nice touch to give the show more room to indroduce all the new contestants. They did that for Bake Off too.

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I always enjoy the blindfolded throw downs! In the demo, Keith said to remove the blindfold to put the wine thing on the board but during the challenge, they kept the blindfolds on which I thought made it a little scarier. I'm totally fine with throwing blind, but I don't want to see someone not do well because they dropped what they were making when putting it on the board.

I liked the idea of Hannah's tropical bowl but I didn't like how splotchy the blue paint was. Her fruit had good texture and color.

I agreed that Peter shouldn't have glazed his paper bag. If he had left it matte, that would have created more of an illusion of it really being a regular brown paper bag. The lemon had great texture, but I agreed that the apple had too many brushstrokes.

Adam made A LOT of fruit - 23 pieces! The texture of his lemon was great and his blackberries looked so real. I loved the texture he put on the outside of the bowl, but it was disappointing that the bubble technique didn't work.

Sal's white bowl with blue and red was a nice contrast for her fruit. The dragonfruit was too pale (both the pink and the green) and it looked fake because she didn't add any texture. Note to Sal: if the dragonfruit you tried tasted like dirty dishwater, you had a bad one!

Shenyue took a risk by (1) making fruits that people usually consider vegetables and (2) choosing all green fruits. But it really paid off. The texture and color were so realistic. She did a good job making sure the greens were all distinct and different. I LOVED the orange bowl. It was so vivid and was such a bright contrast to her green fruit/veg.

Lee's grapes were really good. They looked very real. I loved his leaf bowl.

I liked the geometric designs of Jodie's Polynesian bowl. Her fruit looked very realistic too. Her orange had such good texture and color.

Alon's bowl was ridiculous. I appreciate trying to think outside the box and be creative and his bowl was striking, but the brief specifically said the bowl should be in proportion. His blackberries looked like ripe juicy real fruit. I loved the realistic way he had the leaves on the strawberry going in different directions.

Suz's cherries were not great but the wooden bowl was amazing.

Henry's phallic fruit display made me laugh. I don't know why his bowl made Keith cry though. It was fine but not cry worthy.

Congratulations to Shenyue! It's awesome to see someone win the throw down and potter of the week in the same episode (that reminds me - I miss the spot tests from the first two seasons).

Suz seems like a lovely person so I'm sad to see her go, but she has had problems every week so I'm surprised she lasted this long.

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As usual, I love that this series is back. I wish there were more versions of this around the world like Bake off.

I have not seen ep 3 yet but based on two eps, I really love Sal's work. She's our current favourite.

This series, I really adore that Rich is the new judge. I've always liked the little bits we got from him as the kiln master, but having him as a judge is lovely. Generally, I love the UK judges on this and Sewing Bee the most. All of them are experienced professionals who ended up being on a reality competition show. Rich is one of the least reality show personalities I've seen in a long time. He is sometimes soft spoken but he really adds value to his critiques and comments. He has a sort of quiet presence (in a good way) that you do not see often in judges or hosts. I really hope he stays permanently in the position as I know the show has had issue finding to co-judge and host. I am glad that Keith is still the crying pottery uncle though.

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Some links!

Rich Miller
website
Instagram

Keith Brymer Jones
website
Instagram

Rose Schmits (the new kiln tech who took over for Rich):
website
instagram 
etsy

2021 contestants

Instagram:
Adam
Alon Shahar (pottery) and personal
Ara Moradian
Hannah Walker
Henry Moore
Irina
Jodie Neale
Lee Pollard
Peter White
Sally Tully
Shenyue Ding
Suz MacInnes

Websites:
Ara
Adam
Henry
Jodie
Lee
Peter
Sally
Shenyue
 

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S4.E4: Naked Raku & a Floral Challenge

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It's naked raku week and the remaining potters throw, burnish and fire a pair of vases, and are set a floral challenge by guest judge and flower-making expert Rita Floyd

Original air date: 1/31/21

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The raku episode is always my favourite. I bought myself 2 bulbous raku horses last year and they make me so happy every time I look at them. All the handling of the hot pots its nerve wracking, I am glad that there were no major breakages.

The Keith Richards - LOL, I am surprised it took them 4 episodes to get to this joke.

Bulbousity - on a more shallow, PG note - Keith sure picked the right pair of pants for this episode.

I assume they had to stop filming because someone was pinged by track and trace. I don't have a problem with them not sending anyone home. Alon used a very cool technique, but his smaller vessel was not meeting the challenge. Besides that and two loose footrims nobody made made big mistakes with a technique that I am sure was fairly new to all of them.

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Well, that guest judge doesn't need to worry about any of these people usurping her place. Those were some pretty awful daisies!

The thing that both fascinates and terrifies me about raku is how out of your control it is. No matter how much you plan ahead, you never know what will actually happen or how your piece will turn out so some of it is left to chance. For a control freak like me, that would just kill me. For that reason, I really liked the naked raku challenge because instead of just tossing a bunch of crap into a box and crossing your fingers, you get to be a lot more in control of the end result since you're placing the flowers/hair/other combustible elements directly on the pottery. I also really liked that everyone had to burnish their vases.

I loved everyone watching the other potters and cheering them on. It's so nice to see a show where the contestants are so supportive of each other. And it was so cute to see everyone borrowing tools during the burnishing stage.

Haha, I laughed when Lee invented the word bulbosity and Siobhan. Rich, and Keith kept using it. Between his rim breaking off and almost dropping his vase when he took it out of the kiln, I was so nervous for him! I agreed with Rich that he needed more marks in the middle of the vase. There were marks at the top and the bottom and the middle was just empty.

Sal's vases were both very bulbous, and I loved the narrow neck and flat top she put on the rims. Her emu and hair marks looked great on the large vase.

I love that Jodie gets inspiration from so many places that she's never visited. Even though she didn't intend for the feather marks to fade, they ended up looking so great!

Henry's cheeky budgie smuggling vases made me laugh. I liked the details of the tiny feathers. I couldn't believe he let Siobhan cut a huge hunk of his hair off with regular scissors!

Adam's vases had such a lovely shape and I loved that the pattern from the dog hair ended up looking like mountains. Even though he got dinged because the rims weren't the same, I had to give him credit for adding that second rim to his larger vase when he realized it wouldn't be quite tall enough.

Hannah's vases were a nice shape, but I didn't love the surface designs she ended up having. There wasn't anything wrong with them, but they looked very ordinary.

I loved the shape of Shenyue's vases and I really loved the effects she got from the raku. The dark smoky color at the bottom fading up was so nice and I loved that the delicate designs on the top ended up looking like tree branches. Is this the first time that someone has been the only one to make Keith cry and then didn't win?

Alon took a huge risk with that yeast dipping technique but it paid off. His raku effects looked so different from everyone else's.

Peter got some very delicate looking lines from his seaweed, which I liked, but I had to laugh when Keith said that Peter did fine aside from his throwing skills.

I was confused by the timing of the judges' critiques, the announcement about filming shutting down for a week, and then the judges announcing the winner. When during this episode did they have to shut down filming? I'm pretty sure it wasn't right after the judges gave their comments so it seemed odd to me that they would make all the contestants quarantine for seven days without telling them who had won/lost. That just seems mean. Imagine having to wait a whole week to find out if you've been eliminated. I mean, did they get someone's COVID test results the second that they finished filming the judges' comments and a PA ran in waving his arms yelling, "SHUT IT ALL DOWN! BACK TO YOUR ROOMS!"?

Anyway, I was totally fine with them not eliminating anyone after all that. But I know that will just make me sad when they have to do a double elimination later in the season to make up for it.

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I found the rules for applying to be on S4. Most of is is pretty standard reality show application stuff. Nothing spoilery but since it's a bit long, I'm putting it under a spoiler cut:

Spoiler

1. You must be aged 18 or above on Monday 16th March 2020.

2. You must be resident of the UK (incl. Isle of Man and Channel Islands).

3. You must be able to commit to all the filming days which are currently expected to be during JULY, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER 2020, dates will be confirmed to you should your application be successful. Please note that there is uncertainty at the moment in relation to filming dates due to COVID-19.    

4. All information supplied by you as part of the application for the programme (including in relation to any criminal charges, convictions or proceedings) must be true and accurate.

5. You must not work (nor have recently worked) for or have any business or financial connection with Love Productions or Channel 4 or an affiliate of either.

6. You are not a close relative (for example, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister) or close friend of anyone who is an employee or contractor of Love Productions or Channel 4 or anyone working on, appearing in or connected with the programme.

7. The production team's decisions regarding the application and audition process and the selection of applicants for the programme are entirely at their discretion, final and incontestable.

8. You cannot be, nor have ever been, a Fellow or a Professional member of the Craft Potters Association (CPA) nor can you be judged, by us, to be at that level.

9. You must not be a professional potter, meaning that you do not work full time as a potter in a professional environment.

10. If you are chosen to participate in the Programme, you agree to authorise Love Productions to conduct background checks in order to verify any of the information you have supplied and you agree to provide Love Productions with any assistance or further information necessary to do this. If we have reasonable grounds to suspect that any information you provide is untrue or inaccurate, we have the right to suspend, terminate or delete your application.

11. You warrant that any material submitted by you as part of your application, in whatever form, including any written material, drawings and photographs (“Material”):

  • is genuine and accurate and original to you;
  • has not been copied or reproduced from any published source, tangible or electronic;
  • does not infringe the copyright or any other right of any third party;
  • is not defamatory, blasphemous, obscene or in contempt of court; and
  • does not breach any contract, duty of confidence or right of privacy.

12. Your participation in and compliance with the application process does not in any way constitute an agreement with or an undertaking by Love Productions for you to appear in the Programme. Love Productions has no obligation to produce the Programme and even if the Programme is produced there is no obligation on Love Productions, Channel 4 or any other party to broadcast or transmit or otherwise exploit, promote, publicise or advertise the Programme or to include you in the Programme.

13. You must at all times keep all information about the application process for the programme strictly confidential and must not give anyone any information or material or make any public statement or publish any photographs at any time by any means (including on blogs, websites and/or social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook etc.) about the application or production process and/or the Programme or any other person involved in such processes. This confidentiality applies and continues whether or not you are selected to take part in the Programme or remain actively involved in the Programme. You are not permitted to respond to any approach from the press or anyone else enquiring about the application or production process, anyone else involved in the process and/or anything about the Programme and will refer any such enquiries immediately to Love Productions.

14. Love Productions can only accept application forms either online via applyforpotterythrowdown.co.uk or by post. Love Productions will not accept applications sent via email.

15. The deadline for applications is 23.59pm on Sunday 10th May 2020 (or such other date as Love Productions may determine) (the “Deadline”). If you have not heard from a member of the Love Productions team by phone or email by Friday 5th June 2020, then unfortunately your application has been unsuccessful this time.

16. You can at any time request that your application be withdrawn/deleted by: (a) writing to us at Take Part Applications, 15 Macklin St, London WC2B 5NG; or (b) sending an email (provided, in the case of an online application, such email is sent by you from the email account with which you made your registration), with subject heading ‘Delete my Application’ to support@take-part.co.uk giving your full name as it appears on your application. Please note that if your application is withdrawn/ deleted prior to the Deadline you will not be considered as a potential participant in the Programme unless you make a further application prior to the Deadline, nor will you be able to use the Application Website unless you register again.

17. You must only set up one log in to the Application Website and can only apply once to each series of the programme. If Love Productions believes that any applicant has more than one log in or that an applicant has submitted more than one application (per series of the programme), Love Productions may decide not to consider that applicant to take part in the Programme.

18. If you are assisting or making an application on behalf of someone else, you must have their permission before submitting the application and consents contained within the application must be given by the applicant themselves.

19. If you have made an application by post, you agree that we may copy, adapt, take extracts from and/or upload your application onto our computer systems and/or websites controlled by us including without limitation the application website. Our use of such information on the application website shall be governed by the Privacy Policy for Applicants and Contributors (“Privacy Policy”) and the Take Part Terms and Conditions (“Terms and Conditions”).

20. By submitting your Application Form you warrant that you have read, understood and accepted these Rules of Entry, the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy, that you consent to your personal data being processed in accordance with paragraphs 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 of the Privacy Policy and that you are eligible to participate in the Programme.

21. If you are chosen to participate in the Programme, you will be asked to sign a Contributor Release Form, which governs the terms of your participation in the Programme including the Programme Rules.

22. Love Productions reserves the right to make changes to these Rules of Entry and/or the Deadline at any time.

 

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I'm glad they didn't send anyone home, cuz I actually liked all of the pottery. Some was better than others, but it was all nice and none were broken. I am really enjoying this group. 

...and the new kiln manager is a cutie patootie. 

 

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S4.E5: Music Legend Busts & Mini Musical Instruments

Quote

It's music week and the remaining potters sculpt a life-like bust of a music legend, receive a surprise special message from an iconic artist, and make mini musical instruments.

Original air date: 2/7/21

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It's quite amusing that they did busts on both GBBO and Throw Down, they should do that every year. After the disastrous modelling challenge last year I mentioned here that it would be kinder to give them a bust. They results were a lot better than on GBBO or last year's Throw down. Shame about the breakages.

Lovely message from Dolly. Odd that the potters weren't allowed to choose what to make, although we would prabably have ended up with a couple of Freddies and David Bowies again.

I wasn't keen on the selections of musicians Did they take inspiration from whatever old CDs were bumping around in one of the producer's glove compartments the day they planned that episode. Annoying that they didn't give them 9 different ones either.

Keith Richards really had their music instrument vocabulary down to a T for the judging of the spot test.

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This has been driving me crazy all season, does anybody else think Alon looks exactly like the guy who plays Juan & Rodrigo at the beginning of Camila Cabello's "Havana" video? I even looked it up because I was sure it was him, but it turns out it's some guy named Marco DelVecchio.

 

 

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I was cracking up at how in the early seasons, Keith was always in a suit (except when he was in his overalls to demonstrate a throw down challenge) but this season he's in Mr. Rogers type sweaters. Be comfy, Keith!

I have a slight dislike for challenges where the contestants have different assignments. I mean, yes, they were all busts but I think some were more challenging than others. Same goes for the throw down with the miniature musical instruments.

Peter's guitar was fine but he demonstrated exactly why Shenyue and Henry were smart not to try sculpting tiny strings. No matter how small you make them, they're still not small enough for an instrument that's only 20cm. Peter made a good effort but the strings still looked noticeably too thick and he only had enough room for three strings.

Adam's saxophone looked great. And bonus for his sculpture getting Rich to say bell's end.

Shenyue's harp was a beautiful little miniature. I liked the details and the shape. I thought it was ridiculous for Keith to criticize her for not making actual strings. There is no way she could have made strings thin/fine enough, especially in the short amount of time they were given.

Henry's banjo was nice. I didn't mind the lack of strings.

Hannah's violin and bow looked great. The violin had the right shape and proportion. I did notice in the closeups that there were some rough spots.

Lee's drum looked fine, but I just shook my head when Keith said it was a bit simple. It looked exactly like the drum he was given to copy so it's not his fault that he was being accurate!

Alon's trumpet looked nice. He had an instrument with more complicated structure and he did well.

Jodie's electric guitar looked good. She had all the little details.

I felt bad that Sal gave up on her horn but I get that sometimes you just get frustrated when things don't go the way you want. With such limited time, there's a point when you know you're fucked and you'll never be able to get it done in time. 90 minutes isn't a lot to begin with and she had one of the few instruments that couldn't be laid flat on the table.

Jodie's Shiely Bassey looked really great but I agreed with Rich about the blank looking eyes. If she had carved in some pupils, that would have really helped.

Sal's Shiley was also great. My least favorite part was the hair, but I was okay with it.

Lee's Dolly Parton was a mess after its time in the kiln. With the missing cheeks, she looked a bit like David Bowie. She definitely didn't look like Dolly at any rate.

Adam's Ozzy Osbourne was great. He reproduced what was in the photo really well. Although I thought he managed to escape having to make the eyes, it was fair since the only reference photo he had of Ozzy had his signature sunglasses. And the necklace was so delicate!

Henry's Ozzy, on the other hand, looked a bit worse for wear due to the nose exploding in the kiln. Ha, but I did love his commitment to Ozzy this week with his eyeliner and nail polish.

Shenyue's Ed Sheeran looked pretty close.

Peter's Tom Jones had some really good details like the texture of the facial hair.

Hannah's Dolly Parton looked really similar. It was too bad that it broke in the kiln. I thought hers was the most recognizable.

Alon's Bruce Springsteen was a lovely bust but I felt like it didn't look enough like Bruce.

Farewell, Lee! He had a bad week but he seems like a very upbeat person. I loved hearing him joke with Hannah about fighting it out for the instruments.

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The selection of artists for the busts was so random! And two of them were US artists. Why not let the potters choose their favorite and bring in their own photo to match. It would have been fun to see who everybody would have chosen. 

 

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Cracking episode that.

Never heard of a chicken brick.

Well done Sal, I liked her design best. You can really tell that she knows how to work with the materials - when her pot collapsed on the wheel and she just reached for the blow dryer to save it. She is the one to beat this year.

Henry really dodged a bullet. Alon too. They were lucky than Shenyu had more cracks and to simple a design.

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I don't know what Shenyu's design was supposed to look like, but it couldn't possibly be what it turned out to be. It looked like she just threw some paint on her pots.

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3 hours ago, GaT said:

 

I don't know what Shenyu's design was supposed to look like, but it couldn't possibly be what it turned out to be. It looked like she just threw some paint on her pots.

 

Siobhan’s voiceover said she was using hakeme, which is really beautiful when done properly. Simple but elegant. Shenyu’s design was just messy. And she didn’t follow her own advice of not going over a stroke twice. 
 

I don’t understand why she refused to put her things in the drying room. Keith’s face when she claimed two minutes of a heat gun does the same was priceless. If not for Peter’s help, I wonder if she would have even had pots to glaze. 
 

Poor Adam. Keith does not like his aesthetic. His mushroom house was stunning a few weeks ago, and his tiles this week were the best by far.  

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Awww, I appreciated that Keith tried to learn some Welsh for Jodie! It seemed like such a sweet gesture.

Adam's Brighton tiles had some nice motion in the water and I liked that the things he chose to carve were large and recognizable but distinct.

Peter put a lot of thought into what he put on his tiles (the propeller to represent his flying career, his engineering tools, and a dandelion) but they weren't clearly defined and it wasn't always obvious what they were supposed to be. The other issue was that unlike Adam's which looked like a cohesive tableau, Peter's looked like a few doodles, meaning unrelated stuff that were just drawn in the margins.

Alon's world map was pretty bad. Even though I knew he said he'd made a world map, I still struggled to recognize the continents. The pot bubbling over to represent his love of cooking was not rendered well, and the whale tail was barely discernible.

Shenyue's seemed more a collection of miscellaneous items rather than a well thought out group of related things in her life.

Sal's had such great depth, from the big leaf in the foreground to the sunrise in the background. I was totally fine with her winning this challenge.

I get that Henry is young so he maybe doesn't have the same number of life experiences that someone like Peter has had, but I was surprised that he was so stumped by having to come up with ideas to represent his life. I mean, he's 25, not 10. And considering what a long list of hobbies he listed in his official bio (trapezing, unicycling, juggling on a tightrope, skateboarding, trampolining), none of those immediately came to mind? He wasted so much time trying to think of anything to put on his board that he ended up with almost nothing on his tiles at all (and what he had was unrecognizable because it was clearly not finished). He definitely deserved last place for that.

Hannah's leaves were beautiful and I loved that her tiles looked so harmonious, but I agree that having some variety in the depths of her marks would have helped.

Jodie's tile design was simple  but I liked how strong her lines were. The Welsh maid was well done. So close to winning!

There were a lot of damaged pieces in the main challenge, from cracks to full on blow outs. The judges didn't seem to think that one type of misteake was massively worse than the other.

Henry's terracotta set was just awful. Aside from the structural issues (no handles on the casserole, cracks in the bottom of all three items), I hated his decorations. When he said they were based on his own tattoos, I thought seriously? I try not to judge people's tattoos because, like all art forms, your taste is subjective and you like what you like. As long as you like your tattoos, that's all that matters. But his look like an elementary school kid's doodles. I mean, he even had the faux Stussy S on there.

I liked the blue square decorations that Jodie used. It was simple but very effective. Her only flaw was the crack in her tagine.

Adam's cartoonish people was fun. He had a crack in his tagine and his casserole so he was on par with everyone else on the inner glaze problem.

Sal's Inuit set was so well executed. I liked that she had different animals on each item but the style she used made them a recognizable set.

Alon used a really simple decorating technique with his slip but it was very striking. I liked the lizard motif but I agree that they didn't make for the best handles on his casserole. The bottom of his tagine was cracked into multiple pieces but I was surprised to see that the bottom of his casserole was in so many tiny pieces that it couldn't really be reassembled.

Peter's country western themed set was a fun idea. I liked the horseshoes as  handles and decorations. Making his chicken brick in the shape of a saddle was so unique.

Hannah's Portuguese tile inspired set was pretty. The bottom of her casserole and the crack in her chicken brick definitely rendered her pieces unusable.

I get what Shenyue was going for but the decorating technique wasn't executed well. It was clear that Keith HATED it.

Henry and Alon were so lucky that Keith hated Shenyue's design so much because that saved their asses this week.

Sal continues to kick ass!

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S4.E7: Animal Water Feature and a Strawberry Planter

Quote

It's Garden Week and the remaining potters face a green-fingered challenge to build an animal water feature and throw a strawberry planter, for a place in the quarter-finals

Original air date: 2/21/21

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I like Okapis, they won me a pub quiz many moons ago. I just wish Amon had gone for the real okapi colours, it would have made the blanket and plants pop more.

Its such a funny sight when Sal is handling her own body weight in clay. Her fountain was almost as tall as her, but the slug was really underwhelming.

I LOVED Henry's concept but was disappointed that the bin didn't look like a bin - missing the ridges etc. I know that was the least of his concerns.

Jodi's wolf was impressive if a bittle monotone in colour.

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So having never heard of a nudibranch before, it now comes up twice in two days.

First on the Pottery Throw Down and then this evening on University Challenge where they were asked what was the colourful creature known as a sea slug!

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This was the first thing Sal made that I really didn't care for, and I was surprised at how off-brief her design was. I liked Henry and will miss him but it was the right call. Agree about Jodie's wolf being very drab in color. Hannah's macaw turned out much better than I thought it would. I preferred Peter's octopus to Adam's, even though it was less successful at the fountain aspect. I loved the okapi and the detail on the baskets and blanket.

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Even though we've had the strawberry pot challenge before, I enjoyed seeing it again. There are so many things to think about! As always, I loved watching Keith make it look so easy.

 

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19 hours ago, jpgr said:

This was the first thing Sal made that I really didn't care for, and I was surprised at how off-brief her design was.

Keith specifically said they didn't want to see a giant lily pad with a tiny frog on it, so I don't understand why Sal made a giant shell with a tiny slug on it.

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6 hours ago, GaT said:

Keith specifically said they didn't want to see a giant lily pad with a tiny frog on it, so I don't understand why Sal made a giant shell with a tiny slug on it.

To be fair, the contestants are told about the challenges beforehand so they have time to plan and design and figure out what tools they need before they actually film the episode. I don't know exactly what the brief for this one said but it's possible that she didn't realize that the animal was supposed to be the focus until Keith said that in the workroom and by then it was too late for her to completely change her design. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt because usually she follows the directions and makes sure to fulfill the parameters of the brief. If I had been her, I would have changed the giant shell shape into a giant sea slug shape!

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I loved the undulating movement of Adam's octopus tentacles. I also liked how big he made the suckers on the tentacles. The plants he made were so pretty too. I liked that he used so many colors for them.

Sal's shell was way too big and I didn't like that she made it in two pieces. As Rich noted, she did a great job using the pink in an ombré effect on the inside of the shell. I was expecting her sea slug to be really bright and colorful and it really wasn't. It's too bad that on top of all that, her water was leaking.

Alon's okapi looked really graceful, from the pose to the antlers. Ha, I totally cracked up when he accidentally sprayed Keith when he turned on this water pump.

Hannah's Caribbean inspired piece had some lovely cool pastel colors. I liked how bright the macaw was in contrast. I liked the shells inside each layer of the fountain,

Peter's bathtub definitely looked aged. I was pleasantly surprised that he was able to mend the cracks at all because they were pretty major. I liked the shape of the tentacles reaching up and the soft blue color he used for the octopus. His fountain was the biggest leaker of them all though.

Jodie's wolf design was the most successful for me. The animal looked very lifelike and I liked the moon it was sitting on top of. I agree that it was a bit monochromatic so I wish she had made the moon and the base a different color or maybe included a patch of white on the wolf just for some contrast.

Henry's raccoons were so cute but unfortunately the trash can didn't look like a trash can and he didn't manage to make the fountain aspect work.

It seemed obvious that Henry did the worst at this challenge so I was okay with him being eliminated. It was sweet to hear him say that he learned so much from the other contestants. I think being quarantined together has really brought this cast even closer together than during normal seasons. Jodie did really well at the sculpture execution, the design, and the functionality of her fountain so I wasn't surprised that she won.

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Jodie's wolf was great, I just wished she had incorporated the water in some other way than it shooting straight out of the wolf's mouth. That just looked weird to me. 

Glad Henry won the technical before being booted. 

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