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The Great Pottery Throw Down

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I really liked Adam's octopus piece. He's been going up the ranks for me as a potter for the last few weeks. I preferred his over Jodie's actually. I agree that Sal's really missed the mark this week. I'm not always convinced by Alon's work but I liked his this week too.

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S4.E8: Native American Acoma Pottery & an Alabama Ring Bottle

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It's an all-American-themed quarter-final and the remaining potters make Acoma pottery fired in cow dung and throw an Alabama ring bottle for a place in the semi-final.

Original air date: 2/28/21

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Damn.

I was waiting for a double elimination after they'd skipped one earlier on.

A shame about the two that left, but honestly, they both went too far away from the brief.  My guess is that if there'd been any disasters among the other potters, then one or both of the two might have been okay, but I think all the pots pretty much came out intact.

I can only imagine what the smell of burning cow dung was like!  (I know what it's like unburned!)

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8 hours ago, Ceindreadh said:

I was waiting for a double elimination after they'd skipped one earlier on.

I completely forgot about that, so I was stunned. I can't believe the elimination, but seriously, they didn't say give us your interpretation of a acoma pot, they said make an acoma pot.

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I really thought Sal was going to make it all the way to the finale so I was shocked to see her eliminated. She has been so consistently at the top! But I agreed with the judges - this challenge was about making traditional acoma pots, not your modern day interpretation of them or something inspired by them. You need to fulfill the challenge requirements. I wish more shows would adhere to this rule and eliminate people who don't do what the brief says (I'm still bitter about S2 of Blown Away).

I actually really liked the origami shape that Alon made (as well as the geometric/math inspired decoration), but it was clearly not suitable for this challenge. There's a big difference between making it your own and not doing the assignment.

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Loved the main make this week. I google Acoma pottery before the show and the traditional pots are stunning.

I was surprised to see Sal go aswell (Sal and Alon were the top two in the throw down) but she left them very little choice. Going home for misinterpreting the challenge rather than a bad make might be some consolidation. Alon's looked nice enough, but could've done with more decoration.

Chuffed for Peter.

Apparently its going to be sinks or wash stands next week in the semi final? That leaves porcellain/bone china for the finals?

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I've never seen those ring bottles but they were really interesting to watch being made. As much as I love Keith's demonstrations, I enjoyed watching Rich demonstrate this one.

The OCD part of me LOVES when they bust out the measuring tape to make sure that the contestants met the size requirements.

Ugh, I was so glad that I wasn't there for this challenge because I have no interest in smelling what cow dung smells like when it's set on fire. I remember when I was in elementary school, I read a book about pioneers on the Oregon trail and one of the characters casually mentioned the buffalo poop used for evening campfires. I'm pretty sure that I physically recoiled from the book when I read that sentence. I'm guessing that cow dung has a similar smell? Ha, I mean, now I'm asking about comparing the scent of different animal poop so I don't know what we have come to! I did laugh at Rich trying to start a "burn the poop!" chant with the contestants.

I was worried for Adam when he said he was going to freehand his designs rather than using a stencil or drawing them on with a pencil beforehand. He was impressively accurate with the spirals. I also liked that the similar but not identical designs he used on his tiny seed pot. Both designs were graceful and floral without being outright flowers, which I liked. I also really liked that he made conscious decisions to be as faithful as possible to the traditional methods of making these pieces (I did laugh when Sal told someone that the Acoma wouldn't have used a cheese grater on their pots).

I really liked that Jodie took her inspiration (NHS rainbows and arrowheads) and created a very bold graphic design that didn't look like literal rainbows and arrowheads (the limited paint colors really helped). I liked the dotted lines that drew attention to the triangular designs. Loved the black addition to make the arrowheads seem 3D.

I was a little apprehensive about Hannah's dazzle design (and I was shocked when they showed a photo of one of the ships painted that way - did that actually work as camouflage?!) but it turned out really well. The lines and angles were so bold. My only minor complaint is that I wish she'd had time to add a second coat of black so that it was uniformly opaque all over her pot. I really liked the complementary zig zag design of her seed pot too. I always enjoy when they have to make two items and it's clear that they're a pair without using identical designs. I agreed with Keith about how she could have improved the shape of her water pot.

Sal's pots were both beautifully decorated. I loved the variety in her design as well as the detailed birds in different poses, the tribute to her dog, and the little fish. The orange leaves (or flowers) provided a lovely contrast and the suggestion of motion. I loved all the different line patterns she used too. I thought adding a lip to the water jug was much less egregious than Alon's origami design in terms of not fulfilling the brief.

I quite liked the folds and the overlapping pieces at the top of Alon's jars, and I liked the geometric line designs he used in the corners. Unfortunately, it just didn't conform enough to the challenge. I liked that he decided to be authentic to the Acoma tradition of using children's hair for painting by using some of Jodie's long hair.

I wasn't as moved by Peter's pieces as Keith clearly was, but I really liked his parrot/rooster bird design, and I liked the feathery design on the small seed jar to tie in to his theme. I liked the black accents at the top of his water jar.

Congrats to Peter for winning!

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8 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

 

I really liked that Jodie took her inspiration (NHS rainbows and arrowheads) and created a very bold graphic design that didn't look like literal rainbows and arrowheads (the limited paint colors really helped). I liked the dotted lines that drew attention to the triangular designs. Loved the black addition to make the arrowheads seem 3D.

 

 

The cynical part of me was thinking, yeah, no way they'll be sending Jodie home after her doing an NHS tribute.

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Ouch! But I'm glad they did it. It sends a message. If you are asked to make ABC, then don't make XYZ. You can inject a bit of yourself into the decoration as many did, but Alon and Sal made completely different pots. To put them through would encourage future contestants to do what they want instead of doing the challenge. Alon in particular did his signature origami! How is that Acoma? 

Happy for Peter, but I am rooting for Adam! And I still tear up every damn time Keith does!

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I liked some of Alon's stuff but he was always on a short runway because of his interpretations. I'm disappointed in Sal. She seemed really intent on making the pot for herself. It's sad to see her go since she was a really good resource for the other potters. However, I was impressed with Peter this week. I continue to love Adam too and he may be my favourite.

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S4.E9: A Pedestal Sink & a Chamber Pot

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It's the semi-final and the remaining potters produce an elaborate and fully functional pedestal sink and decorate a chamber pot in Bathroom Week, for a place in the grand final

Original air date: 3/7/21

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Aww its so heartwarming how happy Peter is to still be in the competition.

Shame about Hanna's piece cracking - I was rooting for both girls to make it to the final. Jodie's design really was a bit basic though. Adam did a sterling job. I am not that big a fan of his designs, but the exection was amazing.

I want more Rose!

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I was surprised that Hannah was scored so low on the second challenge. I thought she had the prettiest decoration of the four. I was kind of laughing earlier when they showed that Peter's "planning" amounted to writing his phrase on a piece of paper and then writing it on the pot before painting it. Meanwhile Hannah had drawn horizontal lines so that she could plan the exact height of the name she was writing to get the proportions perfectly in script. While Adam's wasn't the fanciest or the most accurate in terms of his design, I loved all the sayings he added to the corresponding parts of the pot.

Mr. EB and I decided that if we had been given this challenge we would have drawn a poop emoji on the outside and a target on the inside. Yes, we're still 12. But it's a chamber pot! We were being literal! (and immature)

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Did you know that the Pottery Throwdown producers chose Keith to be a judge on the show based on a video of him singing about pottery in Adele drag? Me neither, but the Guardian has a lovely article about the show and dug up this nugget of fun for us:

Thats a crackin pair of legs Keith!

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6 hours ago, Aulty said:

a video of him singing about pottery in Adele drag

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also:

!

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I was rooting for Adam, but damned if Peter isn't making my heart grow three sizes. He's just so darn lovable. I would not be mad if he took the whole thing. Keith obviously has a strong affection for him.

No way Hannah was going to go through when she is the only one who leaked. Jodie is talented and a lovely lass, but I've never "warmed" to her. That said, best of the day next week deserves to win. 

Rose is a gem. I would like to know more about him. That was hilarious when he was helping Hannah (I think it was) "deliver" the cardboard cylinder from her base urging her to "push!".  

 

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12 hours ago, TVbitch said:

Rose is a gem. I would like to know more about him. That was hilarious when he was helping Hannah

Rose is a trans woman so the correct pronouns to use are she/her. I posted a link to her website and social media accounts earlier in the season if you want to learn more about her and her work.

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S4.E10: 1920s Art Deco Punch Bowl & Decanters

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In an art deco-inspired final, the potters make a punch bowl and decanter, before facing the tiniest throwing challenge ever set. Who will be crowned the winner?

Original air date: 3/14/21

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Aw, it's over 😞 But there will be another series! As soon as I saw what 

Spoiler

Jodie

did, I knew they were going to win.

 

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Congratulations Welsh Alanis Morisette. I knew after they presented their schemes that she'd take the trophy.

If you asked me to come up with the challenge I'd want to watch the least, it'd be an art deco Clarice Cliff extravaganza. Clarice is an Antiques Roadshow/Roadtrip/Bargain Hunt favourite and my personal pet peeve.
That being said, they all did a proper job.

Peter went full Clarice and I liked the story and whimsical detail with the setting sun. The flasks weren't great.
I liked Adam's concept and colours (and will let others judge whether that was deco or not), but the shape on those flasks? And why didn't he put a spout on, like on a cocktail shaker? What was practical about that ladle? or the shallow cups that looked like they'd hold 100ml of punch at best - thats not how punch works 😄
Jodie, I think, scored heavily on the number and execution of techniques she used, and her decoration that pulled everything together. I'd expect the hooks on that punch bowl to have a rather short half life - they'd be critically endangered after one evening in my house because I am so clumsy.

What are those flasks supposed to hold? Spirits? Absinthe?

Good to see that they are already putting out the casting call for the next series!

Edited by Aulty
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I could not believe how tiny those dollhouse plates, bowls, and cups were! I was in awe watching Keith demonstrate how to make them.

As soon as Adam said he was going with pastel Miami Art Deco colors, I knew he wouldn't win no matter how good the design or execution was. I thought he did a great job making an 80s Art Deco set but the challenge was a 20s Art Deco set and I knew the judges would not let that slide.

I totally agreed with what the judges said about Peter's set - this is not something we would have seen from him in week 1, which just shows how much he has grown throughout the competition. I really liked his sunset theme with the cups showing different amounts of the sun. I really liked the bold colors he used but I thought he could have been a little cleaner with the lines and edges.

Jodie absolutely deserved to win. Her set fit the brief perfectly. Everything about that set screamed 1920s Art Deco. I loved how she used the concentric circle theme throughout the set and I really loved that she used so many different techniques to show the judges how skilled she is. We know Keith is the one who usually cries so seeing Rich congratulate Jodie with tears in his eyes was really sweet.

Whoever wrote the captions for the end segment about what everyone has been up to needs an editor very badly. There was missing punctuation ("Congratulations Peter and Irina" "Go Alon!"), unnecessary capitalization ("Peas, Courgettes and Squash are indeed fruit"), misspelled words (for some reason they not only misspelled "raccoon" but they also capitalized it), culminating in "We're all so proud of you Jodie, Congratulations!"

I love that Lee is moving to Cornwall so he can be closer to Sal!

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Jodie was not my favorite this season, but she was the best on the day and deserved the win. And she does look like Alanis! 

Peter's was very nice but dear me, those tiny cup handles! Those are totally slipping through my fingers after a couple sips of "punch!"  : D  Keith was so proud of Peter, and I really enjoyed their bond.

I actually liked Adam's the best visually, but it wasn't exactly the challenge. Still, I think if he would have made his decanters with a more stable base, the judges would have had a tough time. I mean, Adam, come on, those are totally tipping over at the slightest nudge! If he wanted to do that shape, they really needed some kind of holder that they fit into. 

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I agree that I never warmed up to Jodie (not sure why exactly) but I did think she was the best on the day. Out of the three finalists, I preferred Adam's style the most. I do think his was not the best on the day.

I recently watched another show where Keith was a judge: "The Victorian House of Arts & Crafts". It had six crafters move into a Victorian house and setting and do various challenges. It's more docu-history than competitive reality. I liked watching Keith get involved. The potter they chose for the house was not that good and most of the contestants on Pottery throw down were better than him.

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I see that this show, season 4, comes to HBO Max next week (01 Apr 2021). Does anyone know if every episode will be immediately available? Or will we have to wait a week in between?

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I just started watching this show with Season 4. Why is that one judge always on the verge of crying? It's really weird.

Edited by Writing Wrongs
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On 3/27/2021 at 5:02 PM, cherrypj said:

I see that this show, season 4, comes to HBO Max next week (01 Apr 2021). Does anyone know if every episode will be immediately available? Or will we have to wait a week in between?

The whole season is available at once.

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8 hours ago, Writing Wrongs said:

I just started watching this show with Season 4. Why is that one judge always on the verge of crying? It's really weird.

That's just Keith. He's an emotional guy, very passionate about pottery, and it moves him when a contestant shines.  If your anything like me, pretty soon you will crying right along with him! 

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I think it's very weird that the samples they showed of the punch bowl and decanters were glass and not pottery.

Anyway. It's a delightful show, I found it last year in the beginning of WFH. My favorite season 4 was Sal.

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I am watching in America now and I’ve just gotten through the episode where Sal and Alon  went home. Just a few observations about the episode in the season so far, if anyone is watching. I’ve only read posts through this episode as I don’t want to be spoiled.

— I understand why Sal had to leave but it’s a gigantic bummer. I’m not sure why she decided to go off brief – it’s not like she’s been doing that all season long. She seems like the most technically proficient of all of them by a country mile. Watching the preview for next week without her there, it’s sort of felt like whoever wins is going to of had an unusually easy path. It’s not like I thought salad for sure win, but the idea that whoever wins now doesn’t have to do better than her in the final I think means that the final is not going to be nearly as exciting as it could’ve been.

— I thought Rich would make a good judge, but I did not imagine what seems to have happened, which is that Rich is doing an amazing job and Keith is not?  He’s providing all of these technical incisive comments… And Keith has really sort of faded? He rarely says anything other than “Fantastic!” Or, “that wall’s a bit thick”, he comments on the weight, and he chooses who to cry over. In the past, I’ve loved Keith. I was very disappointed to see this – not that I didn’t want Rich to be good, but  I thought they would be more of a strong pair. I’m really not sure what’s going on there.

— That said, Keith really really loves Jodie, doesn’t he?  And it’s weird – it’s not like she’s not one of the better potters - she is. But his level of adoration for her really does not seem merited, or entirely to do with her pottery. That’s not me saying he’s being creepy!  It’s more of a daughter-ish vibe?  Conversely, what did Adam ever do to him? There are a few challenges – that fairy house and maybe the animal water feature, that it really feels like Adam should have won. 

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10 hours ago, Marianna said:

Conversely, what did Adam ever do to him? There are a few challenges – that fairy house and maybe the animal water feature, that it really feels like Adam should have won. 

I totally agree with this. That fairy house was amazing and I think it should have won. I can't remember who won the animal water feature episode, but I also agree his octopus was the best.

Whoa. Now I'm confused. I think I dozed off because I didn't realize Sal and Alon went home the same episode as the Acoma pots. Now I have to go re-watch that episode because I'm on the sink episode now and I have no recollection of what happened with the Acoma pottery. 

I really liked the naked raku challenge, but I thought too many of them went for hair. There are plenty of other combustibles they could have used and I can't imagine how stinky the air was with all that burning hair/fur. 

I've noticed that this season and last season they are doing a lot more sculpted pieces than in the first two seasons. But it is either the current round of potters aren't that familiar with sculpted pieces or something because that bust episode was basically a disaster and I think they ended up giving it to the least worst. 

I do like Rich as a judge and you're right, @Marianna, he's doing a much better job than Keith. He really knows the technical side and can comment on it. i noticed that on the seasons when he was the kiln guy, they'd have him comment on the pieces as they went in as well. 

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I think Keith is very technically skilled (his effortless throw down demonstrations always impress me) but his comments don't always reflect that. He often comments on the weight of a piece or the thickness of the walls because he expects the contestants to be proficient, but he has that artist attitude of "how it makes me feel is the most important thing." If a piece doesn't evoke an emotional response from him, the technical aspects of it don't matter much to him.

I'm sure that Rich probably cares about the level of artistry as well, but he's much better at verbalizing a variety of technical critiques about the pieces.

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1 hour ago, joanne3482 said:

I totally agree with this. That fairy house was amazing and I think it should have won. I can't remember who won the animal water feature episode, but I also agree his octopus was the best.

Jodie won both of those - her Moroccan lighthouse and Wolf/Moon water feature. I agree that Adam's fairy house was so magical and should have won that episode.

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On 4/6/2021 at 9:56 PM, TVbitch said:

That's just Keith. He's an emotional guy, very passionate about pottery, and it moves him when a contestant shines.  If your anything like me, pretty soon you will crying right along with him! 

I must be cold-hearted because I find it annoying. Every time he starts off, I'm just "For fuck's sake man, it's just pottery."

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Just discovered this show and Full Bloom via the HBO Max app.  So happy to have found some programs that involve artistic creation and aren't too over the top with ridiculous time limits and stupid challenge ideas.

I have only seen the first 2 episodes and started the Raku episode this morning but only got about 20 minutes in before having to leave for work.  My grandmother used to have a little building/shed behind the house with a wheel and kiln.  She made lots of pieces and Raku was her specialty, so I can really relate to this show.  

Not sure if this has been mentioned, but what is up with the male judge's hair?  I have never seen a balding man gel and tease the remaining strands in such an odd way.  It is not a very good look and it's the only thing I can see when I look at him!

 

Edited by Joan van Snark

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Over the last few months I've watched all 4 seasons.  I'm so glad they figured out how to do a season during Covid.  In the final episode they mentioned they've been quarantined together for 10 weeks.  Damn!  But with all the drying and firing time, there really wasn't any way to trim this down.  I'd love to see some behind the scenes footage about their off camera time, rooms, etc.  How did they get their molds and special tools?  How much advance notice do they have of each weeks' challenges?  Did they know all before quarantining, or do they only find out one week at a time?  Did they have unlimited practice time/materials? 

Season 4 thoughts:

Rich is an excellent judge.  I knew after I watched Season 1 that he was going to be a judge on a later season, but I was hoping he'd show up in Season 3.  I wonder if it were planned, or if this was just availability.  Either way, I'm so glad he became a judge, and I'm hoping they keep him in that position. 

I think the Season 4 contestants were the best bunch (as a whole) of any of the seasons.  I am really surprised that Peter made it through to the final.  I thought there were 2-3 episodes where he should have been the one eliminated.  But Keith had it right - he really did improve as the season went on.  I wonder if he benefited from being shut in with everyone.  I also think Henry stuck around longer than he should have, but I enjoyed most of his time there.

I think Alon has the most "natural" talent of this group.  He just seems to have a great feel for what clay can do, and he has an amazing imagination and true artist talent.  It's a shame he went so far off brief on the water/seed jugs.  Sal is also amazingly talented, but it seems more of a learned skill for her.  I think if that had been a single elimination Alon would have gone and Sal probably would have made it into the final.

Musical Legend Busts episode:  oh, my.  So so so many fails.  But the biggest fail of all was including Ed Sheeran as a "musical legend".  Seriously?  First, he's way too new on the music scene, especially compared to the other artists, to be considered a legend at this point.  Second, and more importantly, he's been accused of plagiarism by several artists, and has even acknowledged this by crediting other artists after being called out on this.  He's currently in the middle of a lawsuit.  Yeah, he's really talented, but I think it was a huge mistake including him in this challenge.   I once again will note Alon's talent on this challenge - he rocked it!  (pun very much intended)   I was a bit disappointed the legends were assigned to the potters, but my guess is that they would need/want approval of any artists, so I guess that made it easier. 

I really liked the sink challenge, and Adam's was amazing.  I can't believe he did all that detail work in the limited time they had.  OK, same thought for his fairy house earlier on.  I also thought he should have won that challenge.  I think if he didn't stray from the brief on the final challenge he probably would have won.

I liked Jodi from the start.  I'm not convinced she was the best potter overall, but she certainly was the best of the final 3. 

Final thought on Season 4:  I wish they had gone into some explanation on the small kiln Rose was using for many of the episodes.  (The one that had the lid.)  I'd like to know why that was used instead of the ones Rich used, and Rose used later, where the were more like closets that were later bricked back in.  Also, I was always surprised by Rose's long skirt - it seemed like a lot of material, and I'd think a) it would be hot, and b) it could be dangerous around all the pottery and heat sources. 

I am hooked on this show.  I'd love to see an "all stars" season featuring the winners and/or the finalists from all 4 seasons.

 

 

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11 hours ago, chaifan said:

Over the last few months I've watched all 4 seasons.  I'm so glad they figured out how to do a season during Covid.  In the final episode they mentioned they've been quarantined together for 10 weeks.  Damn!  But with all the drying and firing time, there really wasn't any way to trim this down.  I'd love to see some behind the scenes footage about their off camera time, rooms, etc.  How did they get their molds and special tools?  How much advance notice do they have of each weeks' challenges?  Did they know all before quarantining, or do they only find out one week at a time?  Did they have unlimited practice time/materials?

This show and Great British Bake off are made by the same production company: Love productions. When GBBO returned last autumn, there were a couple articles on how they achieved it. You can read one here. In general, all the non-mystery challenges are told to the contestants before the series ever starts. This has always been the case. Even if someone doesn't make Week 7, they are told the challenges because they need to tell the production what tools and supplies are needed. The production prepares for it. They also sent the contestants of GBBO practice supplies (due to the flour shortage last year) so I think they probably did something similar too for Pottery Throw Down and the Sewing Bee. It also sounds like they are allocated time to practice when they were in quarantine.

 

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I think Alon has the most "natural" talent of this group.  He just seems to have a great feel for what clay can do, and he has an amazing imagination and true artist talent.  It's a shame he went so far off brief on the water/seed jugs.  Sal is also amazingly talented, but it seems more of a learned skill for her.  I think if that had been a single elimination Alon would have gone and Sal probably would have made it into the final.

I'm almost done with the whole run and just got through the duel elimination of Alon and Sal. While I might have differed in choosing the top and bottom potters many times before in this season and previous ones, I've always found the judges' decisions largely defensible. Who's to say which work is better - much of this is highly subjective.

However, this decision bothered me not because I thought it was wrong so much, but because I thought it was unfair. Perhaps the potters are given more guidance than the audience is told, but the parameters of this assignment - make two Acoma-style pots - wasn't terribly specific. Indeed, both Alon and Sal showed the judges what they proposed to do, and none of Judges - at least definitively - said their respective proposed designs were outside the parameters of the assignment. It's not as though something went wrong and they had to scramble to cobble together something unexpected. Both Alon and Sal did exactly what they said they would do. If this was so verboten, why didn't the Judges say something when that would have mattered like "that's not an Acoma pot, start over?"  Alon's design form (if not decoration) was the best of the bunch in my view and showed real innovation together with respect for the form to be made.

In contrast, in an earlier episode (S4, E3), when told to make colorful fruits, Shenyue makes a monochrome green vegetable selection and wins potter of the week? Why wasn't that as verboten as what either Alon or Sal did just a few weeks later?

The rules need to be clearer, or at least more clearly disclosed to the audience. 

 

Edited by ahpny
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