POTTERY THROWDOWN 2021, EPISODE 3 RECAP: Speaking of Phalluses

At this stage Alon is just a permanent case of *fingers crossed*

Week 3 and this time they’re getting fruity and a little bit handsy! It really is a miracle that any of this aired before 9pm.

Getting Fruity

Keeping up with last week’s theme of hand sculpting the potters this week will be creating ceramic fruit. Each potter having to create at least 5 ceramic fruit with at least 3 different varieties. As we know all good fruit needs a fruit bowl so the potters will also get the opportunity to return to the wheel if they so desire! Keith is particularly looking out for something modern and contemporary – because if there’s anything that screams modernity it’s a fruit still life.
As well as wanting modern fruit they also want realistic fruit – so no blue cherries… Suz.

While the brief was very clear that you could get away with making a mere 5 pieces of fruit Adam decided he was going to be a fruity powerhouse and craft the entire fruit and veg section of a Tesco Express with 23 hand crafted pieces of fruit based around the cocktails his partner, Dan, keeps him well supplied with

as they say “Lockdown is for Day Drinking”.

Adam wasn’t alone in boozing it up as Lee decided to base his around Merlot wine by making grapes and a vine leaf shaped bowl. And then obviously because the brief he had to throw in a few extra fruit and opted for that classic pairing of wine and bananas

An extensive range of berries and the man just couldn’t help himself

Obviously he needed to go for something slightly easier because making the grapes is an incredibly arduous process – with each one needing to be created in two halves and then carefully sealed together in a process known as The Pinch Pot Technique. Most of the potters seemed to opt for this except for Hannah was making her series of Nepalese fruit out of solid lumps, cutting them in half, hollowing them out and then attempting to reseal them in a process we now call The Hannah Hollow.

Jodie was also going far a field with her fruit and headed straight to Polynesia because who doesn’t immediately think of a kava bowl when they hear “make us some ceramic fruit”? Her bowl isn’t however being filled with a plethora of exotic and intriguing fruit as she opts to recreate her fibrous breakfast instead

Exotic but not too exotic, that’s the British way!
Shenyue on the other hand went very left field with her fruit by creating an ode to the unsung heroes of the fruit world: the courgette, peas, squash and tomatoes

And yes she did spend a lot of time on Twitter having to fight people about this decision

Shenyue, Queen of the Fruit Truthers.
Also props to her for realising this challenge was almost entirely conceptualised because of the hilarity of people creating clay bananas and then making a clay courgette which throughout the show just looked like something Ann Summers made to celebrate Veganuary

An icon. And I profusely apologise for sullying the honour of the clay courgette.

Speaking of phalluses, Henry cut right to the chase and just made a fruity cock and balls

He then had to explain that the idea for his fruit bowl is based around the fact he and his brother can’t resist rearranging fruit into pornographic tableaus to annoy their mother. Except this aired before 9pm and so Henry has to beat around the bush and honestly the whole segment deserves to be nominated for an Oscar, who else is going to be nominated this year? Sonic the Hedgehog?

Peter had woken up this morning with a spring in his step and more eagerness to craft ceramic fruit than I thought anyone would ever be capable of. In fact he’s so eager he just about has Keith crying and he hadn’t even had the opportunity to fondle a ceramic banana yet!
Peter’s concept is a delightful one and instead of throwing a bowl on the wheel he’s going to be making a crumpled up paper bag

even going so far as to cut out the jagged edge

It was really was shaping up to be Peter’s week as he even got to showcase his moodboard

Adam found DEAD. But seriously, they’re really fun and impressive and I cannot believe they’re not showing them to us.

While most of the potters went for fairly large fruit, Alon was going miniscule with a dainty selection of berries in a small bowl precariously balanced amongst a series of fan-like wings

I can’t possibly see how this could go wrong!
And fast becoming one of the highlights of the show is the fearful looks in Rich’s eyes as he listens to Alon’s latest hairbrained scheme

The only other time I’ve seen someone look that concerned is in a screenwriting seminar when our tutor had to listen to a screenplay pitch from a 19 year old who thought himself the next Nolan.

While both Alon and Shenyue went more restrained in their colour palettes, Sal was painting with all the colours of the rainbow in her rainbow of fruits which proudly featuring the Lovecraftian horror that is the dragon fruit

I’m also very relieved that the show didn’t try and turn this into Sal making a fruit bowl to honour the NHS like that time Paul Hollywood claimed the Gay Bagels were “NHS Bagels”. LET THE FRUIT BE GAY.
The dragon fruit isn’t the only unusual fruit she’s featuring as she has also opted for a Tigger Melon (I read that 5 times just to make sure I typed it correctly) which is so unusual it doesn’t even have a wikipedia page BECAUSE IT’S JUST A FUNNILY COLOURED MUSKMELON. But it did lead my down a wikipedia rabbit hole in which I discovered the Snake Melon

God bless the plant kingdom’s never ending absurdity.

And lastly we have Suz who is making a series of berries and a third wheel apple atop a wooden bowl

In order to combat her habit of ending up with an unfinished project she has meticulously planned out how long it should take to make each piece of fruit, and this pays off remarkably well as she’s the second one into the drying room – just behind speed demon Alon.
Henry on the other hand fell slightly behind because he was concentrating very heavily on his bowl and a little bit because he was shy about making a clay banana on camera.

An Obligatory 50 Shades of Clay Joke

The return of a classic! Keith Brymer-Jones in his dungarees wearing a blindfold

Honestly, where is the Pottery Throwdown calendar?

This time the potters are going to have to throw a wine carafe while blindfolded which fills most of them with a sense of dread

except Adam who does a sort of carafe dance

I’m so into vogueing right now.

However, not only is there a carafe to make, they will also be making a set of 4 identical clay beakers. I don’t know about you, but I always drink my wine out of a beaker. AND DON’T TELL ME CARAFES CAN BE USED FOR WATER.

While everyone takes a while to get used to their sudden blindfolded blindness Peter is racing ahead and has his carafe off the wheel while Suz is still scrabbling around looking for something

Lest we forget, Peter used to look like this

That is a man used to a blindfold.
However is confidence might have been misplaced as despite finishing with 15 minutes to spare and some of the potters only having just finished a carafe Peter comes a solid 8th of 10 in the ranking

Shenyue, Alon and Henry also all happily plod along in their blindfolds – the latter two both have a slight issue with the lip of their carafe and Keith wastes absolutely no time in correcting in the most erotic manner he could possibly do it

The trick to a well fingered lip is a licked finger. Apparently.
This recap is fast heading towards an R Rating. I’m sorry Henry, you’ll need a parent to read it with you.
Shenyue on the other hand smashes it out of the park with a fell formed karafe and a set of beakers which could at least be cousins

whereas Suz’s look like a collection of children Fagin scrabbled together from the streets of Victorian London

One of which has a hole in it

Typhoid will do that to a cup.

She wasn’t the only one who struggled with getting a set of matching beakers (the fact anyone managed is a miracle in and of itself) but Jodie ended up with a Thicc Beaker and a celebration of body positivity in beaker form

Hannah, while managing to give her beakers all a similar shape didn’t quite get them universally sized and had one that was verging on being a shot glass

The only real beaker related tragedy, other than the fact one of Suz’s had taken a gunshot wound to the bottom, was Lee who had one beaker give up the will to live

It’s a whole vibe.

You would think that dropping her wire and having to scrabble around on the ground looking for it like Velma Dinkley looking for her glasses would really have inhibited Sal but apparently not as she also manages to whip up a very good set of beakers and a good enough carafe

There’s no stopping her, she’s like a ceramic Terminator!

And a special mention to Adam who ended up being the messiest potter by the end of the challenge

And that’s the real winner.

The Blindfolded Throwdown Ranking:

  1. Shenyue’s Blind Ambition
  2. Henry’s Stiff Lipped Carafe
  3. Sal Does This Regulalrly
  4. Alon’s Well Controlled Beakers
  5. Adam’s War Paint
  6. Hannah’s Clay Shot Glass
  7. Lee’s Emotionally Dependant Beaker
  8. Peter’s Blind Confidence
  9. Jodie’s Thicc Carafe
  10. Suz’s Blind Fumble

Well Glazed Fruit

In order to mix things up a bit this week, the potters’ ceramic fruits will not be fired before glazing and instead will go through the process of Raw Glazing which is basically putting their glazes onto unfired clay – the downside of this is that you can’t really wipe the glaze off if you make a mistake by say… making your cherries blue. Once glazed the fruit will then be fired and in order to make sure they don’t explode in the kiln the potters have to poke a hole in each fruit to let out the air. SEE, I KNOW THINGS ABOUT POTTERY NOW MADELAINE.

So it’s off to the drying room to retrieve their hopefully dry fruit, which Shenyue is treating as its own competition

Truly we have created a competitive monster.

This time is also for applying the textures to their fruit and a variety of methods are being used from Hannah painstakingly plugging in individual little dots

To Jodie going absolutely ham with a series of bundled together paintbrushes

Henry rolling his with a twig that Suz gave him

Henry is beginning to just radiate Labrador energy.

and Adam rolling his around in a mixture of quinoa and couscous

Which somehow seems like a very Brightonian thing to do. While ingenious does come with the unfortunate side effect of filling the room with the mingling smells of popcorn and burnt pasta – where’s that Glade air freshener scent?
It’s not the only interesting technique Adam showcases as he attempts to glaze his bowl using a bubbling method which doesn’t entirely work

But despite that his fruit are mightily impressive

Can we take a moment to acknowledge that a total of 87 pieces of ceramic fruit were made of which just over 25% were Adam’s? GIVE THE MAN A MEDAL. The standout of his fruit being both his well holed plums and the blackberry which had a masterful display of observation on the way it transitions from a deep black colour to a blushing red

It’s a miracle that Keith didn’t sob at the sight of it.

Shenyue’s collection of green vegetables fruit were also all well observed, especially the knobbiness of the courgettes but I think my favourite is the stalk on her tomato

And the contrast between her fruit and the bowl is incredibly striking and it’s no wonder that the judges fell so in love with it.

My second favourite bowl of the week had to be Lee’s vine leaf which might have had a slight chip in it but was still a stunning piece of work

It’s a wonder that he managed to paint it given that Shenyue had grabbed all of the green glazes she could possibly get her hands on!
The laborious process of creating his grapes even paid off, and I’ll admit I was a little worried for him for a while but they do look great

I can’t possibly comment on the wine bananas.

Hannah’s bowl was also attention grabbing, after all it’s hard to ignore something this massive

That’s a Cluedo weapon waiting to happen!
Her fruit have a very organic and natural look to them, although her pomegranate does look a little bit oniony

She wasn’t the only one having a slight struggle with glazes as a few of the potters ended up with fruit that either showcased a few brush or was just to shiny for Keith was apparently on the hunt for a matte apple, Jodie falling fowl of both these things

Although, shout out to the carving in her bowl which is so precise and accurate I cannot even begin to fathom how she managed it.

Peter also had some glazing issues, particularly with the paper bag which he should have left unglazed but in a moment of panic decided to glaze it and had he not done that he really would have been in the running for Potter of the Week

Although he too had a brushy looking apple, as did Suz who had slightly bigger issues when it came to glazing and just kind of slathered colours on without much care for how they were going to turn out and in that moment Siobhan was all of us

As you could probably imagine this resulted in a set of cherries that seemed to have caught a bad case of blue mould

But while Suz’s fruit may have been questionable in its look, her bowl was a cracker and looked exactly like the weathered piece of wood she had set out to make and it was pretty obvious that she had used the majority of her time on the bowl and thrown caution to the wind when it came to her fruit

I like Suz’s stuff, there’s always a certain amount of whimsy to it that never seems too twee – it’s a real balancing act and takes a lot of talent.

Speaking of balancing acts (how’re these segues for you guys?) Alon seemed to forget he would have to carry his up to the judges and the moment he goes to lift it the whole thing collapses

It’s Lee’s wince in the background for me <3
And so he, Adam and Lee all have to bring it the judges in pieces in what looked like some sort of religious ceremony

He manages to reconstruct it and unfortunately it all falls apart again when Keith decides to manhandle it like a child in a museum

Should have made a giant ceramic DO NOT TOUCH sign.
It’s an incredibly impressive piece and as I said last week, Alon’s creations suit a showcase environment and have a very artistic point of view that is slightly at odds with what the judges are often looking for but his talent is undeniable, I mean look at his strawberry

Sal had a reversal of fortunes in that her fruit all ended up with a bit of a dull, flat finish while her striped and spotted bowl really stood out

Sal’s Fruit Pride wasn’t quite enough to bring tears to Keith’s eyes and Henry was our final hope at getting Keith to cry while holding a fake banana. For a while it was looking a little dubious as to whether Henry would end up with any fruit at all because he was falling slightly behind and had to rope in Alon to help him hole his fruit

friends that hole together, stay together.
There was also the slight issue that Henry’s monolithic bananas were slightly too big for his bowl

and of course Keith takes one look at this bowl dedicated to brotherly and cries his sweet little cinnamon bun heart out

And then you do begin to realise that Keith is essentially crying over a bowl of phallically arranged fruit and honestly God bless this show and everything it is. GIVE IT A BAFTA.

An Arbitrary Ceramic Fruit Ranking

  1. Shenyue’s Fruit Trutherism
  2. Lee’s Grapes of Rather Good
  3. Peter’s Shiny Paper Bag
  4. Henry’s Dating Profile in Fruit Form
  5. Adam The Fruity Powerhouse
  6. Hannah’s Katmandu Attitude
  7. Alon’s Berry Balancing Act
  8. Jodie’s Polynesian Daydream
  9. Sal’s Fruit Pride
  10. Suz’s Good Wood

It came down to a choice between Shenyue and Henry for Potter of the Week with the judges eventually deciding that Shenyue’s success in throwing challenge as well as the eye catching main make had garnered her the title – and so her fruit bowl takes its place in Rose’s Room of Wonders

And then it’s the unfortunate moment that it’s Suz’s turn to be absorbed into the massive group hug

Just as she had mastered time management and everything! Life can be so cruel!

Next Time

Forget your undies, it’s Naked Raku!

The Potters’ Instagram Accounts:
Adam – adamceramic
Alon – oak_fired_clay
Ara – ara.moradian
Hannah – hannahruthwalker
Henry – pot_punk
Irena – irispotsoflove
Jodie – jodie_neale_ceramics
Lee – thenookpottery
Peter – woburn_sands_clay
Sal – sally-tully
Shenyue – supperceramics
Suz – suzmacinnesceramics

Give them all a follow, they deserve the world and more.

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