Pottery Throwdown 2021, Episode 9: She-Hulk Daisy Buchanan

I have never seen a more perfect representation of life in student shared housing.

It’s Bathroom Week and we get to appreciate the rare televisual thrill of watching people watch water drain out of a sink!

That Sinking Feeling…

As has now become tradition for the semi-finals the potters will be taking on both their biggest build and the infamous Bathroom Week in which they will have to make a fully functioning pedestal sink – taps, plugs and whatever a trap is and if that challenge isn’t daunting enough Gladstone Pottery has a whole wall of intimidating Victorian sinks

but Keith doesn’t want an ordinary sink, he wants something with character and an emotional backstory – he wants the full Jane Campion bathroom experience.
You may be think that this means we’re about to get 4 sinks that look like they belong in weirdly themed hotel bathrooms and you would be absolutely correct. All I personally wanted was for someone to make something even half an unhinged as The Teacup Toilet complete with between-the-legs-handle

and with sinks and toilets having been made I hope the potters who sign up for the next series realise they’re going to be making entire bathtubs – GOOD LUCK GUYS!

With it being a bathroom you fully expect everyone to go quite water-y or nature-esque in their designs. Peter’s mind went straight to luggage inspired by the time he spent on ships while his dad went around the world doing his engineering bit

I’m really going to need Peter to write me an entire autobiography because his life sounds FASCINATING, screw Meghan and Harry, can Peter have the sit down tell-all interview with Oprah?
Unlike all of the other potters Peter is completely slab building his without any internal supports so that he can get that crisp square, classic trunk shape. This obviously comes with the bigger risk that it’ll collapse and because it’s so big and fragile does mean he frequently has to get everyone to help him flip it over, which thankfully went better than that time Sal and Alon flipped an okapi and crushed its dainty hooves

One of the loveliest things about Pottery Throwdown is that everyone will down tools at a moment’s notice.
And Peter did repay the kindness when he took Adam’s coral sink to the drying room for him

and yes Adam was once again returning to the inherent eroticism of the ocean for his sink, and I was very excited when they first showed his workbench and I saw what I believed with a writhing mass of tentacles

MORE OCTOPI!
Alas no, I will be issuing the challenge to any future potters: octopod bidet. Adam was instead making a mermaid’s tail pedestal

I had hoped the sink was going to be a well beheaved mermaid’s bosom but it was instead going to be a “mythical coral” shaped sink, which is the more pre-watershed friendly option and this scene would have looked very different

You just can’t motorboat a mermaid before 9pm.
The mermaid’s tail takes A LOT of work but if anyone is able to scale an entire sink-high mermaid’s tail it’s the man who made 70 odd mushrooms and a ceramic washing line.
Because at this point The Ocean is now his brand and what is brand may never die, Adam is of course using beachballs as the internal support during his building process

You can take the boy out of Brighton…
He does fall a little behind during his scaling process and as a result has to slightly… scale back the plans for the fins of his mermaid but he still managed to get everything built on time but he did say he was a little disappointed by it but really there was no need to be, it wasn’t as though he had completely de-finned a mermaid.

Jodie was also going down a more nature inspired route with her dragonfly sink inspired by the full back tattoo of a dragonfly that Jodie has

Jodie’s never ending bag of tricks is my favourite gradually unfolding plotline, although personally I’m not to surprised that Jodie would tattoo herself with a dragonfly considering their full panoramic vision, highly developed mathematical brains, their crushing jaws and ability to reach speeds of 54mph in order to kill their prey in one fell swoop.
In order to maintain that classic bathroom aesthetic she will be painting it in delicate whites, blues and greens with dragonflies flying up the sides of the pedestal

and unlike Peter she makes her pedestal in two halves and because Hannah and Rose are too busy birthing a former

and Adam is shoving beachballs inside a mermaid (niche porn klaxon) and Peter was bonding with Keith over the bottom holes of a sink

Jodie then has to connect her two pedestal pieces with the help of experienced potter… Siobhan

It at least went better than you would have thought and the pedestal was properly connected, this was no elbow on a muffin incident.

Lastly we have Hannah whose was making more of a fresco design so was mostly just making a sink with an attached wall on which she would paint a vase and a naked woman

which while maybe not being as intricate as an entire mermaid tail or a swarm of dragonflies, it did mean she was making an almighty slab of a clay that almost turned into the couch scene from Friends while they tried to manoeuvre it into the drying room

PIVOT! PIVOT!

She ran into a bit of a problem with her sink because she had made the walls slightly to thin and had to rebuild the wall which ate into a her planned time and in the last 5 minutes of the challenge had to freehand a plughole, which might be my favourite turn of phrase this series?

Potty Mouthed

For this week’s Throwdown Challenge the potters wont actually be making anything and will instead have to decorate that famously sentimental item… the chamber pot

And Rich wanted it to be very personal and dedicated to a specific loved one which certainly drew a varied reaction for everyone

I highly identify with Peter’s slow tortoise-esque retreat into his own body.

Obviously when faced with the challenge of creating the Valentine’s card equivalent of a chamber pot there was a lot of intense staring at said chamber pot

or just flat out head-desking

and while Adam and Hannah came to terms with the challenge Jodie was up and away painting a train on the inside of hers to honour the memories she had over riding the train with her grandmother to specifically get Welsh Cakes from the market

We have reached Peak Jodie.
As for the outside of her chamber pot it’s all Sunday school and Lily of the Valley and then because she realised she wasn’t going to have time to fill in the background she drew in a washing line to take up some space

It’s a very cute, playful design and very well executed given they only had an hour to do it all in!

Peter was also straight into his design by just writing “No matter what we always have each other” – the spacing of which took up a lot of time which meant his exterior was a little bare but I admire the panicked flower drawings on the side to take up space

and then because he heard everyone else was doing an interior design he kind of just drew the world’s worst jigsaw into existence because “families don’t always fit together” – at least there was something to aim at

Make Peter the poet laureate for blagging his way through this challenge to be honest. What a king amongst men.

Adam was eventually struck by a brainwave and was going to dedicate it to his new nephew Theo, I imagine to make up for the tragedy that befell The Tagine That Was Promised.
Much like Alon’s terra cotta tiles he is decorating it as the globe with no care for geographical accuracy

and then inscribing it with puns and gems of wisdom such as “Don’t poop where you eat” which is pointedly written all over Europe

I do not have the time to unpack that.
His writing is incredibly neat, especially given that he started shaking really badly and had to do his, hopefully patented, Shake Dance

The campaign to get Adam on Strictly Come Dancing starts now!
It’s a really fun design and humour was certainly the best way to approach the challenge – the sentimentality brief was a real sand trap.

Once Hannah had emerged from her chamber pot induced funk she planned on doing what Hannah does best, drawing foliage!

She was dedicating it to her best friend’s new baby daughter and of course Hannah’s brushwork is second to none, I mean the calligraphy is VERY satisfying to look at

as for the décor, I love it and think it’s very pretty, it does just have that feel of being slightly predictable and if Happy New Baby Chamber Pots were a thing, I think this would be a pretty common design.
She, much like Peter, really panicked and just hurriedly drew something at the bottom of her chamber pot

For something done in what seemed to be the last 2 minutes of the challenge it’s still very good!

A Chamber Pot Ranking

  1. Around The World in 80 Pees
  2. Jodie’s Welsh Crapper
  3. Libby’s New Loo
  4. The Family That Poos Together, Stays Together

It’s Sink or Swim

The first port of call was for the potters to find out how their sinks and pedestals had faired in the kiln: Adam was thrilled to bits with his and the lack of any signs of damage, Peter had a few stress cracks, Jodie’s sink and pedestal had warped and now didn’t quite fit together like a married couple on the brink of divorce

and Hannah was trying to manage this situation as best she could

and to her credit she kept a very level head, I would have cried for several unfilmable minutes.
She did a remarkable job of fixing it, considering she ended up with a fully standing and remarkably well functioning sink bar from a gentle dribble

I think the design will be polarising, I personally love it because it reminds me of that very niche style of art you see in Italian restaurants – it’s always sort of Picasso meets de Lempicka and who amongst us could resist She-Hulk Daisy Buchanan?

With WandaVision over I demand Disney pile all of their money into Marvel’s The Great Gatsby – it has after all finally entered the public domain and we know how Disney loves to snap that right up.
I also love that it’s just distinctly Hannah, I was going to say “it’s always amazing when someone so young has such an established art style” because in my head Hannah is 19 years old but according to Wikipedia, that trustworthy font of knowledge, Hannah is in fact 30, which, as an approaching 30 year old, IS NOT OLD, but speaks to why she has such a defined style, and we also have to admire her ability to make Keith cry on demand

Maybe drop Adam a couple of hints, yeah?

For her dragonflies Jodie was layering various shades of blues and greens to give them a sense of that iridescent sheen that they have, which she could have done with oxides but she opened the book, saw the risks and closed it again. Which as someone who had panic attacks at the back of every Science of Cinematography lecture whenever the lecturer said “candela” and very quickly scratched out “aspiring cinematographer” from my resume, I fully identify with that feeling.
But my favourite moment of Jodie’s painting was when she described her technique as being “like Monet with all his ponds and things” – just Claude Monet, founding father of the Impressionist Movement, being reduced to “ponds and things” really tickled me. But you can certainly see the inspiration in Jodie’s final sink

The pedestal is the stand out, the swirling patterns, as Rich said, give it a real sense of energy and dynamism.

I agree with Keith that the dragonfly on the sink could have afforded to be a touch bigger and more graphic

The shapes of it all might not been the most adventurous but the clarity of concept was there and I think we have to at least acknowledge that Jodie very nearly blew her own lungs out trying to decorate it

It should surprise nobody at this point that Jodie has the lung capacity of a Weddell Seal.

My biggest concern for Peter’s suitcase sink was how he was going to approach the glazing because when I think of travelling cases I think of that classic old, slightly worn leather look and let’s be honest brown isn’t the most desirable colour in the bathroom. He seemed to realise this too and used a very paled out brown and broke it up with some white to mimic packing tape and it looked a treat

the magic was really in the finer details, taking the time to paint on the stitching was nothing short of a labour of love

it’s all about that handle for me though,

it’s got that real tactile look about and Peter could easily have been Potter of the Week again.

While Jodie may have shied away from oxides Adam was fully embracing them in order to give his coral sink that glistening, algae covered look of something you’d find in a rockpool which came out phenomenally well

as someone with akrotithalassophobia (that’s the fear of rockpools that I just made up) ever since there was an unfortunate incident with a ghost crab in Mozambique, I’m not sure I could bring myself to wash my hands in it, but I will admire the craftsmanship from a safe distance.
The tail on the other hand I am fully on board with

The fact he took the time to paint each scale individually to give it that dazzling pastel Rainbow Fish effect was really pretty and I imagine there was a severe case of RSI that day, if not for the painting then certainly for his barbaric approach to filing down his tap holes

It’s best he gets the frustration out somehow.

An Arbitrary Pedestal Sink Ranking

  1. I Sink I Saw a Mermaid
  2. Peter The Travelling Sink Salesman
  3. Jodie’s Tribute to Monet and His Ponds and Things
  4. Hannah’s She-Hulk Fresco

With his last chance to find his place amongst The Gods of Rose’s Room of Wonders Adam had really gone all out and it was a very well deserved win for him

And I do enjoy the visual justice of a transwoman getting to place a mermaid themed sink in the pottery equivalent of The Hall of Fame – the stars just align sometimes.

And as the only potter with a slightly leaking sink it was inevitable that Hannah would just miss out on getting to the final

And she will always have the crowning glory that was Naked Raku Week under her belt – I’m glad we wont have to spend too many episodes without her, she’s been a joy to watch.

NEXT WEEK

The winner announcement has a faintly Ari Aster vibe to it!

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