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The Great Pottery Throw Down

Tv Pottery Competition

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#81 Chilly

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 02:30 AM

Celia - I saw that post on Facebook.  Agree.  Do you go to Potter's camp?  I'm determined to go next year.


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#82 Celia UK

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 03:25 AM

Was talking about it just yesterday Ann. Giving it serious thought for next year, so we may meet up! Have to get in early apparently as places go quickly.

#83 GiselleNo5

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 07:54 PM

It's been ..... interesting....  

 

But, too much time pressure.  Giving people 5 hours to make a chandelier from (altered) slipcast bone china! Couldn't see the point really as only one (Matt) used the actual shape he'd cast.  The others used the moulds to create thin slabs which they then cut into flat forms and twisted, incised etc.

 

Also the show is pretty lacking in H&S - they placed the greenware china on alumina on kiln shelves.  After firing they were brushing/blowing the alumina off the pieces with no dust masks.

Oh my word, the alumina  .... oh my word. They were joking about how much they had on their faces and then "powdering their nose". It was horrifying!!


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#84 GiselleNo5

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 07:57 PM

Much as I feel for those of you who are not in the UK, please be aware that those who are posting videos of BBC programmes on YouTube are committing acts of "video piracy" and they can be prosecuted.

 

Petition your country's TV companies to purchase the series from the BBC.  This way the beeb will be able to make more such programmes.  BBC programmes are paid for by the TV Licence Fee payers in the UK.  Not by advertisers.


They should set up Pay-Per-View, I would happily have paid up to $5 per episode to watch these. I sent them an email. (Fire exclamation point. Fire exclamation point.)


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#85 GiselleNo5

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Posted 03 December 2015 - 08:09 PM

I thought exactly the same Ann, re the slip casting and Alumina!

Below some interesting comments from Richard Baxter (potter) and member of Anglian Potters (UK).

A few random thoughts on the Great Pottery Throw Down as it glides majestically towards the finish line. The spot tests seem to be all filler, no killer....they are told the tallest, widest etc will win, but either they don't get measured or the best looking wins (which should probably be the winning criteria anyway). Jim is most experienced but tends toward slick and novelty/ humour(with all due disrespect), Matthew is a good designer potter, fluent at handling nearly everything, clearly a contemporary thinker. Tom is a strong, gifted amateur with not enough background from art school tutors, I don't mean you get taught how to do things so much as how to think, evaluate and bring interesting ideas in from disparate sources. Jane is fairly competent but when we saw her own work in her studio, the forms were not terribly well considered or 'designed', and finally Sally Jo isn't being given the credit she deserves as an interior designer who seems able each time to consider the brief as though it is finding a solution to a client's request......she is just not às experienced as the others at making in clay.
So, it will be Matt, Jim, Sally-Jo, Tom in that order. My opinion only.

Let's see if he's right - one more week to go!

 

Jim drives me nuts. He talks like he's trying to be Elvis or something, slurs everything he says. That being said I do think he's quite competent and relaxed which is good because if you're tense your pots are going to flop and your thinking will be muddy (no pun intended). 

I think Matthew is very good, knowledgeable and diverse, but he's kind of smug ... plus, he better be good, both his parents are potters. LOL

I love Sally Jo but she gets really flustered and I agree she isn't very "expert". Same with Jane. I really like Jane as well but I felt like she sabotaged herself on every turn. 

Tom did really well at the beginning but I agree that his amateur status is starting to really show the more techniques they do that he has never tried, or never heard of, and he just kind of loses his grip. 

Finally, last point: is it just me or do all the women on there seem to have a major lack in self esteem, second guess themselves, and seem to feel doomed to be eliminated? I don't know if it's just who they happened to pick but I don't think one of the women has ever been top potter on any of the episodes, they all seem to be apologizing for themselves when they do well and almost relieved when they get sent home. Does anybody else agree? I'm not making a political statement, I just wondered if anybody else noticed. 


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#86 Chilly

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Posted 04 December 2015 - 04:21 AM

 

 

 

Finally, last point: is it just me or do all the women on there seem to have a major lack in self esteem, second guess themselves, and seem to feel doomed to be eliminated? I don't know if it's just who they happened to pick but I don't think one of the women has ever been top potter on any of the episodes, they all seem to be apologizing for themselves when they do well and almost relieved when they get sent home. Does anybody else agree? I'm not making a political statement, I just wondered if anybody else noticed. 

 

 

Agree.  Hadn't thought of putting that into words, but looking back...... yes.


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#87 Evelyne Schoenmann

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 11:33 AM

Chilly and Celia, thank you for your insights. Too bad we can't see it by ourselves.

 

I heard from UK potters that Episode 5 was unfair? That Tom should have left instead of Jane because the judges were completely unsatisfied with Tom's chandelier, and in addition Jane was 2nd in the "plate printing" test and Tom last? And that Jim should have been Top Potter of the week and not, for the third time, Mattew? And that Matthew is a professional (teacher, and both his parents potters) and shouldn't have been selected from the start?

 

What do the UK potters here say to that?


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#88 GiselleNo5

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 02:02 PM

I'm not a UK potter but I agree, Evelyne. Tom fumbled and bumbled through the whole episode and yet he stayed. His design was horrible but he hung the chandelier nicely ... Jane's design was good but she didn't do a good job hanging it. Jane was just waiting to go.

And I did wonder how Matthew was included since he's a teacher. In fact, I feel like if he spends all his days working with clay he should be better, honestly.

I create order from chaos. And also, chaos from order.

 

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#89 Chilly

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Posted 05 December 2015 - 03:30 PM

I thought they said Matthew was an art teacher.  I know an art teacher and he knows nothing about clay!

 

Matthew did much better in the main challenge (my opinion).  He used the slip-cast shapes and made a real chandelier.  The others looked like mobiles, and they cut open the slip-castings and cut shapes out.  They could have rolled slabs and had the same.

 

If you take the time element into it, Jim won two short challenges, Matt won one long one. 

 
I think they should keep all the contestants through the whole show, and award points for each challenge. Say, 12 for 1st place, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2 and 1 for last. Multiply points by minutes then add them all up.
 
 
What really concerns me is the time constraints, lack of testing time, and the "drying room".  
 
Also no mention was made of the moulds taking longer to cast each time they were used.  I've tried that and after two casts (with stoneware slip admittedly) you can't do any more, they just don't set.
 
I'm not even sure it's "entertaining".  Bored no, tho' I will watch the last one just to see what crazy thing they have to make in not enough time.
 
I think this show is made by the same company that did the sewing bee, and that was really good.

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#90 GiselleNo5

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 12:29 AM

 

I thought they said Matthew was an art teacher.  I know an art teacher and he knows nothing about clay!

 

Matthew did much better in the main challenge (my opinion).  He used the slip-cast shapes and made a real chandelier.  The others looked like mobiles, and they cut open the slip-castings and cut shapes out.  They could have rolled slabs and had the same.

 

I think they should keep all the contestants through the whole show, and award points for each challenge. Say, 12 for 1st place, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2 and 1 for last. Multiply points by minutes then add them all up.

 
What really concerns me is the time constraints, lack of testing time, and the "drying room".  
 

 

I thought the kids in the second episode said that he was their ceramics teacher? And they showed him working in his studio on a big vase perhaps 18 inches tall with other work around that looked like his style. 

I have thought the exact same thing about keeping everybody through the whole thing and awarding points for each challenge, then adding them up for the winner. I hate elimination challenges because what if somebody is just having a bad day! Or week! What if their cat died or they have a cold? I think that knowing they can be eliminated puts so much pressure on and not everybody performs well under pressure. Some people panic and their brain shuts off and they make stupid decisions or can't think clearly.

 

I agree that they are drying things way too fast and not allowing them to texture the form if they want. My style is very textural so if I was told I had to make something and then not touch it again I would go out of my tiny mind. I do like the series, though, because I love seeing the wide range of things people are making, all the styles, the different results, seeing success and failure. 

I for one loved the bright color and shape of the pansy sink that Jane made. Aside from the crack I thought it was possibly the most wonderful thing made in the series. 


I create order from chaos. And also, chaos from order.

 

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#91 JBaymore

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 11:31 AM

GiselleNo5 said :

 

I hate elimination challenges because what if somebody is just having a bad day! Or week! What if their cat died or they have a cold? I think that knowing they can be eliminated puts so much pressure on and not everybody performs well under pressure. Some people panic and their brain shuts off and they make stupid decisions or can't think clearly.

 

These "reality" type shows are about creating that kind of situation deliberately.  Watching people "self destruct" makes so-called "good TV".

 

best,

 

...................john


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#92 flowerdry

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 11:41 AM

I too was disappointed in their male/female mix.  The female side seemed heavily weighted with less accomplished, less confident potters.

 

The time constraints, the elimination, all designed to add drama.  It's not meant to be fair, it's meant to draw and keep viewers.

 

Even thought I get the bit about pirating, I still wish I could keep watching....


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#93 Sallyd

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 03:58 PM

I've just had a quick look at the short biographies that were put out just before the series started. Matthew is the youngest at 23. Sally-Jo is nearest to him in age at 33. He had only been in his first job (as artist in residence in a northern school) for a couple of months when he was chosen to be on the show.

I think the smugness mentioned earlier is rooted in embarrassment, and as a youngster he isn't quite sure how he should be reacting. He works very confidently with the clay, tho, and obviously has experience in all the areas of challenge so far.

Jane was the most experienced female......22 years potting, following graduation from a ceramics course and a 2 year apprenticeship at Whichford Pottery.

Jim, the most experienced male, has been potting for 25 years.........starting before Matthew was born!

#94 Clay Butterfly

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 07:33 AM

I love all this chat about TGBPT! I have been hooked on it since day one. Here is an interesting article on the Guardian website about the Potter's backgrounds and pictures of where they work at home. Jim turns out to be a professional, which I don't hold against him - it's just interesting to note, especially when I try to compare my own skills with them! 

Here is the link to the article:

http://www.theguardi...n-the-finalists

 



#95 High Bridge Pottery

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 08:53 AM

Whatever the results of the show it has perked up interest in pottery lessons. Had a few people looking for class Christmas presents for their other half after watching the show.

 

Not caught up on the chandelier episode.

 

I think especially over in the UK when women show confidence in their ability they get put down a lot more than men. Society still doesn't accept 'alpha' women.


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#96 JBaymore

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 10:19 AM

 

I think especially over in the UK when women show confidence in their ability they get put down a lot more than men. Society still doesn't accept 'alpha' women.

 

Unfortunately the same is true in the States.

 

best,

 

.................john


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#97 Chilly

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 12:55 PM

 Society still doesn't accept 'alpha' women.

 

I have a neighbour who after 27 years still wants to ask advice from my non-gardening male "other-half".  Grrrr.  I worked for many years in a male dominated environment and decided to just get on with life.  Women are from Venus, men are from Mars.  We each have our place int this world.

 

Reading the final four's bios, I was surprised at how their professions involved clay.  From comments during the first two episodes, I thought they were all hobby potters with no pro experience.  Also surprised at how they all have succumbed to the time pressures.  I would have revolted by now against the drying room.


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#98 silk velvet

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 01:11 PM

It's been ..... interesting....  

 

But, too much time pressure.  Giving people 5 hours to make a chandelier from (altered) slipcast bone china! Couldn't see the point really as only one (Matt) used the actual shape he'd cast.  The others used the moulds to create thin slabs which they then cut into flat forms and twisted, incised etc.

 

Also the show is pretty lacking in H&S - they placed the greenware china on alumina on kiln shelves.  After firing they were brushing/blowing the alumina off the pieces with no dust masks.

Hi Chilly,

 

I agree about the health and safety, but the time pressure, I think most potters who have been making professionally for a few years are familiar with deadlines.

 

In the past year, since I quit my paid job to finally go 'pro' potter, the tighter the deadline, the better it is for me productively. The tightest being 4.5 days to prepare for a HUGE 5 day London show as a late acceptance. I make yarn bowls, and it was the London Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace. I only had about 80 odd pieces in stock when I started to exchange emails. I was in the middle of cooking a meal when there was a glimmer of getting a stand at an attractive price, so I finished the meal, told my hubby I was going for it and he dropped me off at my studio at 10pm that evening.  I threw 20, then came home at stupid o'clock in the morning, standing on the bus so I wouldn't fall asleep. got 4 hours sleep, and hung around all morning waiting for that email. I got accepted, and went back to the studio. I ran on 4 hrs sleep for 4 days, possibly less sleep, all I knew was clay. I pushed it to the limit, used every heater in my space to hurry things through, I raw glazed EVERYTHING and put the kiln through a drying cycle before it glaze fired. I threw 50 extra yarn bowls, and finished 45, I also had a few in progress. So, from Thursday evening to Tuesday morning I managed to get one kiln load on and all the rest to the leather hard and glazed stage. Tuesday was set up. We hung around until 4pm when the kiln was at 270C and I cracked it, and pushed the cooling, so I could unload and reload the kiln before setting off to London, from Bath, Somerset just in time for the peak hour mayhem traffic through Hammersmith and north to Ally Pally. I commuted by bus after that, only sleeping on the bus, not at home, so 2hrs here, 2hrs there. Unloaded and reloaded the kiln and my hubby brought the extra ones up on the Friday night, then drove home on the Saturday to unload the last few for Sunday. Friday night and Saturday night spent in a hotel and it was the first time on over a week I had gotten 6 hrs joined up sleeping. I learned so much from doing that, like just how far I can push my product.

I took, in total 133 pieces, sold 99 and broke 1. I packed a mere 32 to bring home. I made so much money that I was able to buy myself a 2nd shimpo and loads of other stuff to expand my equipment base, as well as 250kg of clay. Oh, yeah, and I'm a stoneware girl, so my firing cycle takes even longer.

 

As for the show, the first episode wound me up something rotten until I took a few days to think about it and I realised that if they had given the real reason for the faults in the bowls, it would have gone over the heads of the target audience, the public. I'm still annoyed that they blamed it on the maker and not the drying room though. however, I have come to enjoy it, there haven't been any nasty events, the contestants have bonded into a nice friendly and supportive group despite the rivalry between Jim and Tom, which in episode 4 seemed to concern Tom more than the actual task at hand and it showed in his finished chandelier. Matthew's problem is he has the natural skill and ability, but he's really holding back, like he's scared to really go for it, that's his weakness, it's mine too and it's hard to shake.

 

To be honest, I'd like to see them all win, they all have the potential to be great potters with their own particular style,

 

I'm sorry those of you not in the UK are having issues with seeing the shows, far too frequently, it's the other way around.

 

Cheers,

 

Em



#99 Evelyne Schoenmann

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 09:12 AM

Welcome to the forum, Silk Velvet and Louise! Good to have you in the group!

 

Thank you everybody for letting us non Englishers know what's going on in the Pottery Throw Down. I really and from all my heart dislike this "Big Brother" thing of voting one or the other out of the series. That can't be fair. And hey, the chandelier episode? One was winning over another because he was hanging his pieces better than the other potter? Is this about pottery or about hanging (or Interior Decoration)?

 

And is there a reason why Keith has this weird hairdo? Is this about good vs bad - devil vs angel?? Strange... I have no problems with his crying. If it is genuin, I like men showing their emotions!

 

Today episode 6 (final)? You are more than welcome to tell us who won the final. I hope it's Sally-Jo (just to give those machos a fillip... :lol: ).

 

Thank you for keeping us in the loop!

 

Evelyne


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#100 Joseph F

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 04:51 PM

I am waiting for it to come to Amazon or Hulu, or PBS. 







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