Pottery Throwdown 2021, Episode 5: Aggressive Rhinoplasty

I need to know how many times someone banged their head on this perilous staircase.

This week had everything: Brawls! Exploding Dolly Parton! Ed Sheeran Discourse and a Wobbly Ozzy!

It’s Music Week in the pottery, which pairs very well with Dance Week over on Dancing on Ice where apparently not every week is Dance Week…? In the Main Make Challenge the potters will have to make the bust of a music legend or Ed Sheeran while in the Throw Down they have to create a 20cm model of a musical instrument.
Due to the way the main challenge works and because it didn’t have a lot of steps between Make The Bust and Judge The Bust I’m going to start with the model instrument challenge – just call me David Lynch because today I’m non-linear baby! (Request for next year: Movie Week but someone has to make a life-sized sculpture of Nomi Malone from Showgirls.)

Instrumental My Dear Siobhan

As mentioned already the challenge was to make a 20cm model of an instrument, a challenge that took Hannah on quite the facial journey

Very Kombucha Girl Meme.
Unlike the music legend subjects the instruments that the potters had to sculpt were decided in a flat out brawl

It doesn’t surprise me at all that Shenyue was at that table first. Meanwhile Sally is left with the large horn that nobody wanted

and Keith mercilessly laughs at her like the least menacing hyena on the Serengeti

and it proved a tough subject matter for Sal as the thinness of its structure didn’t lend itself to holding itself up against the basic force of Earth’s gravitation pull and Sal becomes so frustrated with the flaccid horn that she abandons it

and proceeds to glare around the pottery looking like my music teacher during every recorder lesson in which 25 students couldn’t even play Three Blind Mice in tune

While Sally was busy cooking up a war against the entire brass section of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Lee was threatening to go toe-to-toe with Jodie because she stole his electric guitar, and no offense Lee but I don’t think you stand a chance against Wales’s answer to James Bond.
Lee’s drum ends up looking a little bit too simplistic

but in his defence the drum they gave him was EXTREMELY boring

And he was also contending with the most structural issues as he decided to make it entirely hollow and contending with the issues that that brought upon him.
Meanwhile his new found foe made a really lovely little electric guitar with highly commendable knobs

The stringed instruments faced a particularly difficult task in how to construct the strings of a 20cm clay model, Shenyue calculated it to be a requirement of 0.25mm (MILLIMETRES) if they were to keep the scale correct – which I think you would have realised is impossible unless you were some sort of Henry Moore / Spider hybrid. So they could either do what Peter did and craft an acoustic guitar that looks like it was strung with spaghetti

and get told it had too few strings despite being very well modelled, or pull a Shenyue and just engrave the strings into a slab

And then be told it wasn’t authentic enough… And I will genuinely go to war over Shenyue’s harp because I thought it was really good and that she made the best of an impossible situation. Keith Brymer Jones really did choose violence this week.
Shenyue did also have the issue of the fact her harp was more obviously sold than the flat-lying instruments like Henry’s Banjo which was incredibly well observed and crafted

and Hannah’s violin which featured a particularly lovely f-hole

But her f-hole was no match for the lovely bell end on Adam’s saxophone

Honestly, it deserves a spot in Rose’s Room of Wonders – it’s SO DAMN GOOD and yet Keith still refuses to cry but will tear up the moment Sally so much as touches a piece of clay.
Alon’s bell end didn’t garner quite so much praise from the judges despite his trumpet and least being recognisably a trumpet, if maybe a touch crumpled

It’s just a very well loved trumpet.

A Model Instrument Ranking

  1. Adam’s Lovely Bell End
  2. Hannah’s Lovely F-hole
  3. Jodie’s Commendable Knobs
  4. Alon’s Well Loved Trumpet
  5. Peter’s Spag Bol Guitar
  6. Henry’s Banjo du Jour
  8. Lee By Virtue of Sally Giving Up
  9. Sally’s Limp Horn


For the main make the potters were each assigned a music legend and because image licensing is apparently very expensive there are a few random double ups giving us some Duelling Dollys, Battling Basseys and Opposing Ozzys. At least we were granted the sweet reprieve of a solo Sheeran.
The busts will not be decorated, putting a focus on the ability to sculpt a perfect likeness of the subject’s head, neck and shoulders. It didn’t entirely bode very well for anyone given the state of the example busts that Keith and Richard showcased

How is it possible that they both look like Tilda Swinton?

Hannah and Lee were both given Dolly Parton as their subjects and came with a little more pressure given that they received a video message from Dolly herself (which I guess is where the budget went?)

Lee’s reaction was particularly precious

find someone that looks at you the way Lee looks at Dolly Parton.
He of course then came into the pottery fully prepared for everything a sculpture of Dolly needs

I personally think those balloons do Dolly’s bosom a disservice and really could have been much bigger, and probably should have been much bigger given that he gave Dolly quite the noggin

surprisingly the neck didn’t collapse under the weight of it and it was instead Hannah who gave her Dolly sculpture the full Freddie Mercury Cake Treatment and completely eradicated Dolly’s neck the moment she removed the armature from within

I think we all knew this was going slightly awry for Lee the moment he started applying the hair and his Dolly Parton looked alarmingly like Igner from Futurama

Someone please address a freshly baked muffin gift basket to Nashville immediately.
I do think he actually achieved a fairly good likes, I would definitely know this was Dolly Parton despite her eyes which are quite the pair of wandering wanderers (deep-cut Dolly reference for you)

It’s a whole other story post-kilning in which she sadly self-combusts losing her cheekbones and much of her hair and looked like someone had sucked all the insides out of Uma Thurman

In many ways Uma Thurman is a music legend – if you haven’t seen her in Smash and The Producers you’re missing… something.
I did greatly enjoy that Lee did his Crate of Miscellaneous Dolly Bits on hand during the judging in which Keith was so desperate to praise something about the rapidly disintegrating Dolly that he praised the craftsmanship in her shoulders.

The kiln proved problematic for both Dollys in the end as Rose emerged carrying the severed head of Dolly like a scientist in a sci-fi film handling a potential dangerous meteorite

much to the utter horror of Alon and Henry

Prior to the judging they could at least try to reassemble their creations and Hannah managed rather well considering hers got the full Marie Antoinette Treatment

And you know, she didn’t have to bring half of Dolly’s face along with her in a crate.
It was also no wonder that Sal parading past her with her completed bust of Shirley Bassey seemed to put the fear of God into her

Sally had a lot of ground to make up given that she was at the bottom of the bottom of the heap in the Throw Down and she got on marvellously well with her bust of Shirley Bassey, the only real issue being that she lost her shoulders to the kiln but because of the way Sal had crafted the feather boa you couldn’t really tell

There’s a lovely contrast in the textures between the hair and the boa that gives the sense she’s standing in front of a wind machine.
The other Bassey Bust was being made by Jodie so of course it went incredibly well, I think I preferred Sally’s approach to the feather boa slightly more, Jodie’s was a little chunky and looked more like it was made out of paillettes than feathers

Who’s pettier, Keith wanting clay strings or me demanding a featherier clay boa?
I did get hell of a kick out of Jodie lobotomising Dame Shirley Bassey though

which might have been an OK excuse for the slightly lifeless eyes.

The last of our duelling potters were Adam and Henry who were landed with Ozzy Osbourne and Henry was very much getting into the mood

Turning looks, stunting pretty, he’s the boy from Suffolk County.

I was very curious about Adam’s approach to the challenge as while seemingly everyone else opted for an armature he was building his as a solid lump and going to hollow out Ozzy later. But also because at one point his sculpture of Ozzy Osbourne looked alarmingly like the head of a Chinese dragon dance puppet

meanwhile Henry had brought in a profile stencil to ensure that he got the profile of Ozzy just right

which is a nifty little trick that unfortunately didn’t entirely work out for him…
Henry’s clay wasn’t playing ball and the moment he began to remove his bust from its internal support it developed quite the wobble

And this was just the beginning of his structural issues.

Obviously one of Ozzy’s most recognisable features are his round glasses and both of them had different approaches. Adam realised that he could at least use the glasses to cover Ozzy’s eyes and potentially same him for a somewhat lifeless stare – we call this The Chris Hoy Loophole after Peter in Bake Off just made a cake sculpture of Chris Hoy wearing a cycling helmet so that he didn’t have to make fondant hair or give him the unnervingly sinister stare that only a cake can achieve. His final result was really great

I love that the glasses look like they could be removed like the glasses of the John Lenon statue in Cuba (I know about this because I was the only person that watched Sara Pascoe’s documentary series). Keith was particularly taken by the texture that Adam managed to achieve in Ozzy’s skin, which I personally didn’t care for because clustered of tiny holes unnerve me

I’ve read too many Junji Ito comics to have this in my house.
Henry opted for a pair of lens-less glasses, not that it really mattered in the end because his Ozzy Osbourne came out of the kiln in two distinct pieces like he’d been in a leper colony

I think it’s fair to say that Adam won the The Great British Ozzy Off.

Peter was given the task of creating a bust of Sir Tom Jones, who in the first few stages bore a striking resemblance to a puffin

The nose was a pit of a sticking point and towards the end of their time limit Peter decided that he was going to give Tom Jones a rather aggressive rhinoplasty

which might have gone some way to explain the shocked and bamboozled expression that he gave Tom

which isn’t to say that Tom Jones doesn’t ever look like that

and I did like the method of using a brush to create Tom’s hair

and the final result had a certain liveliness to it, even his ears did look a bit like someone had stuck a pair of ears from a BFG costume onto him

While everyone was doing someone they were at least familiar with Alon had been given Bruce Springsteen who he’d at least heard of but couldn’t have picked him out of a line-up if he had tried. This honestly might have helped him and allowed him to focus and get a better grasp of his features, but we already know Alon is exemplary at observation and hand modelling – WE ALL SAW THE STRAWBERRY. And he had obviously done a frantic YouTube browse beforehand given that he had perfected the Bruce Springsteen Guitar Stance

And I was slightly worried for Alon for a little bit considering that his Early Springsteen did look like it could have passed for the bust of any number of royal family members

and then he threatened to Picasso him and rearrange his face into a sort of Springsteen Soup, which I honestly would have enjoyed but I’m sure the health and safety officer out ruled because Keith’s heart can’t take much more of Alon’s ideas – least of all Bruce Springsteen with mushrooms growing out of his ears. DO IT ALON. DO IT.
The final sculpture was really quite incredible

The movement and detail in it is immaculate – the way the denim cut off sleeves cut up at the edges and look frayed and distressed. He looks like he’s in the middle of a concert performance, and he even went so far as to give him quite the set of chompers, which do slightly suggest that Bruce Springsteen was a grass grazer in North East Africa

Springsteen was a famed vegetarian after all.

And lastly we have Shenyue who got saddled with the human puddle, Ed Sheeran. I just really think that they could have used someone with more definable features – Ed Sheeran somehow has the ability to look like every single Hobbit, every single Weasley, Mrs. Goggins, Lewis Capaldi and Chucky (Both Finster and the murder doll)

Not to turn this into the Ed Sheeran Roasting Hour or anything. I just don’t believe that someone who wrote the lyrics “Like sex in an elevator, I’m up and coming” should ever be forgiven. OK, now I have to say one nice thing about him: I like the colour of his hair, it’s a pity there was no painting or glazing in this challenge BECAUSE ED SHEERAN’S ONE DEFINING PHYSICAL FEATURE IS HIS HAIR COLOUR.
I think she got on remarkably well considering the subject matter

You can add Every Guy That Studied Computer Science to the list of people Ed Sheeran looks like.
I also enjoyed Shenyue discovering what the bottom of her nose looked like

because I too suddenly realised I didn’t really know and would like to report back that I hate it, I now feel incredibly self-conscious of my columella and I would really rather not talk about my alar rim or medial crural footplate. This has been Physiology of the Nose with Ariadne.

An Arbitrary Pottery Bust Ranking

  1. Bruce Springstone
  2. Adam’s Ozzy Osbourne Loophole
  3. Dame Sally Bassey
  4. Peter’s Peeping Tom
  5. Jodie’s Very Welsh Experience
  6. Shenyue’s Shape of Ed
  7. Hannah’s Dolly Antoinette
  8. Henry’s No Nosey Osbourne
  9. Lee’s Blonde Bombsite

In the end Adam narrowly misses out on Potter of the Week as Alon gets to have his bust of Bruce Springsteen put into Rose’s Room of Wonders

and very sadly Lee is the one that finds himself eliminated and consumed by the rapidly dwindling group hug

at what point does a group hug become “a huddle”?

Next Week

We are assured that that is terracotta.

One thought on “Pottery Throwdown 2021, Episode 5: Aggressive Rhinoplasty

  1. Nick

    Your reviews are an utter delight! 2021 has ushered in a world of loss and heartbreak for me and, incredibly, a group of strangers creating ceramics has provided me with so much happiness! I’m #TeamJodie and… I have a huge crush on Rose (along with half the country if Twitter is anything to go by). And you have helped me realise that that’s fine. And maybe even wonderful. Oh, let’s face it, it IS wonderful. So. Thank you. xx

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