Pottery Throwdown 2022, Episode 2: Ancient Egyptian Veterinary Apparatus

Now it’s a party.

In this week’s episode Pet Wars heats up and we ponder “What came first: the ceramic chicken or the ceramic egg?”

Getting Clocked

For their Main Make Challenge this week the potters found themselves the victim of Time as they had to slab build a 3D pendulum wall clock with a display inspired one of their hobbies, or if you’re Zahra you could depict every vague flying fancy you have including, but not limited to, origami, Vincent van Gogh, hiking and catering to the ever increasing demands of a very handsome cat

much like her crockery set last week, there’s obviously a lot going on, and much like Alice in Wonderland, it was all a little bit confused. Yeah, I’m firing shots at Lewis Carroll a cool 157 late. And she was having to do a lot of fiddly detail work with her tiny origami birds, and in true Pottery Throwdown fashion, Rich voices concern about how much crisp detail she’ll be able to put into her birds and then, heralded by The Tuba of Concern, 10 minutes later this happened

but it wasn’t only her dewinging of an origami bird that was giving her problems as she accidentally decorated the wrong side of her birdbox’s roof and instead of flipping it over and just decorating the other side quickly, she decided to just trim its edges to the correct angles, which did then result in the roof not fitting

she never said architecture was one of her hobbies.

Zahra wasn’t the only throwing every hobby and a kitchen sink into their design, as Josh decided he was going to just make a display cabinet featuring everything he likes including racehorses, a tennis ball (which makes him sound like a golden retriever, he plays tennis), woodworking tools and a bottle of fine wine

which are also all items that MacGyver could use to stop a bank robbery.

Josh doesn’t have much of issue with his building, oh no, his construction issues were too come much later.

While most of the potters opted to mould their smaller details, Anna was hand sculpting all of the details in her artbox clock

I’m mostly glad to see her hobbies extend beyond seeking retributive justice against the foxes of the British countryside, but if anyone was going to knock out a clock based on fox bashing, it would have been Tom who was designing a clock as an ode to his now non-existent chickens – which did mean everyone had to really accentuate the L in clock when saying “chicken cLLLLLLLLLLock” lest there be a misunderstanding…

or at least I assume it was the foxes eating his chickens and he wasn’t just skirting around the face that he, himself, ate The Myth, The Legend, The Biggest Barbara.

I loved seeing Tom’s clock slowly coming to life, it was like watching a behind the scenes clip of an Aardman creator, sure it was a little disturbing that his chicken’s head spent most of the time trussed up on a pike like old Ned Stark though

Hi, I’m back on my Game of Thrones referencing wagon again.

He did come up against an unexpected issue with his chicken, and that was how exactly to position the head, finally opting for a 45 degree angle because, as he pointed out, chickens do look a bit weird when you look at them straight on

I’m glad somebody was finally brave enough to shame the skulls of the poultry world, you skittle pin headed weirdos.

The Tom vs Jenny fake rivalry that I’m building up here, continued this week as their Space Race turned into a Battle of the Birds with Jenny making this boxy behemoth

that’s a very large cLLLLLLLLLLock, and honestly I’m amazed at the level of maturity everyone managed to maintain with Jenny having to say “I’m currently moulding my tit.” – not a snicker from a single soul!

Making a big square box of a clock and then decorating it with some clay relief work did feel a little bit uninspired but to be fair they did have to come up with like 10 ideas for their creations, so not all of them can be winners. But when you have Miles in the corner trying to build an Indian temple because his hobby is apparently colonialism exploring India, you might have to rejig a little bit

much like Anna, Miles had decided to hand-build his pendulous temple, which was ambitious and quite clearly had him running out of time as his “troupe of monkeys” quickly became a single monkey as Miles wasn’t happy with the other one and banished it to the other side of his workstation to lie in its simian shame, begging for the sweet release of death

Please father, kill me swiftly.

In exciting Miles news though, he is this series’s Obligatory Wild Swimmer

it’s not a British TV competition show until someone strips off and swims in a miserably cold British river, such is the stipulations of the TSG. I would probably have put money on Cellan being the wild swimmer of the bunch, there’s still time (dare we push the limit to 2?) but I was half right in that he’s a fan of camping, so he’s at least a little bit masochistic. Cellan’s clock being shaped like a tent as a nod to his scouting days

and featuring a backpack pendulum that he was a little worried about, both because it was potentially going to be too heavy for the pendulum to swing and he’s not that big a fan of hand-building – quite why, I don’t know because his backpack sculpture was, well, the best clay backpack sculpture I’ve ever seen

and by the end of the challenge, he seemed to finally love hand-building and all it took were some teeny tiny clay feet

is there a section on WikiFeet for inanimate feet?

While Cellan embraced the temperamental chaos of the British outdoors, Christine was keeping it cosy with a clock inspired by the fact she might be on the wrong show

and apparently she’s quite the baker as her sister claims that Christine’s Victoria Sponge is the best one – my absolute favourite thing about British culture is that everyone has been told their Victoria Sponge is the best one BECAUSE WE’RE ALL USING THE SAME RECIPE THAT MARY BERRY ORIGINATED IN 1844. She was also pulling a bit of a Zahra and combining her love of baking with her fondness for crochet, sadly stopping just short of also incorporating her Favourite Zombie Boxset

you couldn’t have made the pendulum a hideously decomposed head? Or possibly the slowly crawling torso of my favourite character from The Walking Dead Favourite Zombie Boxset

but to be fair, she was already doing a lot of sculpting work with her all too phallic strawberries

a surprisingly perilous fruit when it comes to sculpting apparently, even more so when you glaze them

And if you’re wondering who The Moodboard Aficionado this year was, it is Lucinda who this week brought in her dance shoes as a prop

I love the sinister why she used a knife to point out all the finer details of her drawings, like a geography lecturer being pushed to their absolute limit.

Sadly she does not spend the rest of the episode tottering about the pottery wearing the shoes, I’m still waiting for someone to fill the fashion void left by Irina’s glitzy lobster brooch that she wore on her sock

I truly do think about it every day as I put on my disappointingly mundane socks.

But back to Lucinda’s Strictly Come Moodboarding, she was making a clock based on her and her husband’s love of Ceroc (a sort of modern jive and rock and roll hybrid)- and Lucinda and her husband look exactly as you’d expect a couple who enjoy Ceroc would look like, if maybe lacking a piano key tie

I would also believe they’re a world famous Magician and his glamorous assistant who are very popular on the cruise ship circuit.

And Lucinda’s love of dance does perhaps explain the fact she very quickly excused herself from partaking in Ellie and Nick’s attempts at doing the robot, which had all the energy of Orion Star doing one halfway through a lipsync to a Lizzo song

Nick was of course leaning into his love of all things Sci-fi and making a little robot clock

it’s called TD-21 for “Throwdown 21” because apparently nobody told him this was only going to air in January of 2022, it’s fine though, I keep writing 2021. He was also intending on making it look a little battered and worn down, which was basically 2021 in a nutshell.

Nick making a robot was a little expected, I might have liked to see him making a clock inspired by his menacing family skateboard gang that rule the Barry seafront with an iron fist

but skateboards don’t exactly have a great track record on this show


Lastly we have AJ, and things were escalating quickly between them and Keith

that’ll be 1D12 of slashing damage. (I’m trying to get myself an invite to a D&D party here, I’ll do anything, I’LL PLAY AS A BARD FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.)

They were of course drawing from their love of Dungeons and Dragons, except AJ continues to be cursed by Channel 4’s clearance lawyers and was not allowed to say as much so it was an episode of Tabletop Roleplaying Games. The idea for their clock being to have a dragon slithering all over a treasure chest and eating the gold within like a sort of Frube for Smaug

I continue to be obsessed with how AJ builds faces. I am however excited to find out if they do every animal like this, or if the delightful derpiness is reserved only for reptiles and their kin. But with chonky derps comes great risk as their dragon’s Thiccness could mean that it doesn’t dry out enough, making for an explosive firing… *foreshadowing*

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: I would like to warn you that the rest of the recap was written while recovering from a dental anaesthetic so… brace yourselves.]

Going to The Dog Bowls

For this week’s Throwdown Challenge the potters were going to have to make a pair of dog bowls – one for a large dog and one for a small dog. I do however regret to inform you that they did not use this as an opportunity to bring in a pair of dogs to test said dog bowls for accurate sizing, so no we do not get to see Keith Brymer-Jones slowly lowering a shivering Chihuahua’s head into a badly formed dog bowl like a clergyman baptising a baby.

The twist in this (dog’s) tale was that the potters would be doing it blindfolded, which does beg the question as to how much time Keith spends wearing a blindfold because he was FAR too proficient for someone that only does this once a year for TV purposes

and with him knocking out a pair of perfectly made conical dog bowls, you can’t really blame Lucinda for seemingly having a religious experience

as for the others potters, Cellan was dreading the meme opportunities of it all

sorry babes x – Meanwhile Jenny looked like she was about to age 50 years in the next 10 minutes

and Josh… Josh seemed to be getting ideas

we shall pry no further.

The Throwdown is a good opportunity for any potter that struggled in the first half of the Main Make to claw back some points and with Zahra struggling to fit her roof together and amputating an origami bird, she did need to pull something out, and in her eagerness did have her wheel going at about 100mph

and sadly Keith shouting “SLOW DOWN!” at someone who can’t see anything they’re doing didn’t help a great deal with her final bowl not being particularly conical but potentially being great for a dog that lives a household suffering from subsidence

I’m honestly almost more impressed by that angle than the fact Cellan threw two near perfect dog bowls after having started the challenge looking like he was going to be a bit sick

regretfully Keith does not sob into said perfect dog bowls.

After valiantly battling for Potter of the Week last week, Christine and Lucinda found themselves at the bottom of the dog(bowl)pile this time, with Lucinda seemingly trying to destroy her slightly disappointing duo with the power of her mind alone

as for Christine’s woes, she hadn’t thrown a dog bowl so much as she had thrown a bird bath

although, you find me a single basin birdbath that hasn’t had a dog drink out of it.

Shaping was the biggest issue the potters faced with most of them not managing to get that, in Keith’s words, “classic dogbowl shape” (Can’t say that one ever came up in geometry class). However, while most of them ended up with quite bulbous shapes, Anna had gone in completely the opposite direction and over-conicalled her bowls and inadvertently made a pair of pottery Cones of Shame

Ancient Egyptian vets had to use something.

An Official Dogbowl Ranking

  1. Cellan’s Surprising Blindfold Proficiency
  2. Jenny’s Competent Pair
  3. Anna’s Ancient Egyptian Veterinary Apparatus
  4. Miles’s Pretty Good Pair
  5. Josh Was A Little Too Into The Blindfold
  6. Nick’s Steep Pair
  7. Lucinda, They Weren’t *that* Bad
  8. Tom’s Good Top Sections
  9. AJ Said “Long Necked Chihuahuas ONLY.”
  10. Zahra’s Slanted Dog
  11. Christine Making Her Own Birdbath Challenge

Clocking Off

With many potters on their last nerve over whether their slab built clocks managed to survive their firing, Rich decided to welcome them back to the pottery in the most ominous way possible

although it was probably kind of him to at least soften the blow of the first kiln disaster – the unfortunate soul that The Kiln Gods had decided to use as a lesson being AJ as their dragon came out decidedly lacking in limbs

to be fair, I would pull this face too if I was slowly falling to pieces

and because they’re no Noel Fitzpatrick and can’t assemble a series of new dragon limbs using only elastic bands, oxide glazes and concrete, AJ decided that their dragon was now in fact a slug and snapped off its last remaining leg – and if there’s one thing us trans people are good at, it’s getting rid of pesky appendages. And with the newly dubbed slug not being quite what they wanted it to be, AJ concentrated heavily on making their treasure chest as realistic and well glazed as possible, the final result being really rather incredible

Keith does obviously hone in on the poor slug and drives it closer to the existentialist brink

Look, without the dragon slug, it would’ve been just a treasure chest and then it would have looked like AJ’s hobby was piracy and buccaneering, and we’re trying to keep that underwraps.

While AJ excelled at getting their treasure chest to look like realistic wood, Josh didn’t have quite the same success with his display cabinet of privilege

do I love that his thoroughbred racehorses look more like gingerbread ponies? Yes, they’re adorable – but the whole piece, as Rich pointed out, does lack a certain degree of observation and detail work. As for how it hung, there was a minor issue in that it looked like it belonged to the same dog that would use Zahra’s dogbowl

personally, I found the fact the cabinet sat askew to actually be quite charming, sure it wasn’t an intentional design, but it should have been.

Having hanging problems of their own were Miles and Zahra, the latter of which took one look at the screws on the wall and said “Nah, it’s not gonna hang” and just let it sit on the bench

to be fair to Zahra, it’s not nearly as confused looking as it should be when she said it was going to feature elements of Origami, van Gogh, Her Handsome Cat and the Peak District and I think if she was making this in a position when she wasn’t being harried to finish in time by an Essex comedian, this could be a really spectacular piece, because I think the glaze work is wonderfully delicate and works as a nod to van Gogh very well. Miles on the other hand struggled with his glazework and decided to paint his Indian Temple Clock a very uniform shade of eye-searing turquoise

I can see what he was going for and it does somewhat have a look of the Ranganathaswamy Temple about it, but given the fact the actual build of it was quite rustic looking, having such a stark and modern looking glaze does feel a little disparate. His only surviving monkey was his saving grace though

especially as his clock never quite got to hanging

You know the scene in Grey’s Anatomy when the man has a bomb *inside* of him and they have to remove it from him without detonating it? Miles hanging up his clock was very that.

Jenny had also opted for a bulk use of blue, hers being slightly more harmonious with her general concept

I can’t say that I loved this, it’s all a little bulky for me personally – I might have actually liked it more if everything was a very simple white glaze to give it that classic sort of Georgian look. Although, the white glaze she had used on her sprig moulded birds was a little thick and robbed them of some of their details

but for a week 2 build when you’re still trying to get used to making things in such a strange environment, I think it’s pretty impressive, as is the fact this behemoth of a clock didn’t bring the whole wall down.

Christine also had some issues with her glazes robbing her of some detail work with her crochet elements looking like someone had melted a Risk board over her very impressively glazed cake

As for how it sat on the wall, it all hung up very well but sadly her pendulum didn’t swing as it got caught on the crochet elements of the clock, which is a shame because the ball of wool motif on her pendulum was a much more successful depiction of her love of crochet than the patchwork Teletubbie flesh quilt on the main clock

however the best pendulum of the bunch had to be Cellan’s rucksack that despite his concerns managed to survive both of its firings

the level of detail on such a small piece is really very impressive – it’s perfectly textured and even has the stitching! And his attention to detail only continued into his tent with the whole thing having a very realistic fabric-like look to it

I genuinely think it’s one of the most impressively observed and rendered pieces of pottery we’ve seen on the show. But my favourite part of it being that it looks like Cellan

we can blame that one on the anaesthetic.

But while I rate Cellan’s so highly, Tom’s Big Barbara was hands down my absolute favourite clock and probably one of my favourite things that’s been made on the show

I want her. I need her. I have to have her.

Rich had a slight issue with the red trim around the clock being “a little scrappy” – I can’t say I thought it was an issue and thought the slightly washed look of it fitted with the rest of the painting and the colour matched the chicken’s comb, so it was hardly incongruous

Yes, this is now a Big Barbara stan account, I mean just look at that fried egg swinging between those akimbo legs

she is beauty, she is grace.

I also really liked Nick’s design in all of its non-copyright infringing Wall-E glory

the weathering down of the surfaces and filling the joints and screws with black worked out really well to mute what could have been a very garish Michael Bay blue and orange combination. I also think it was the most successfully incorporated clockface of the lot – it very much feels like you could legitimately tell the time using it.

Anna also had a very successful build, I’m just not sure it was obvious enough that it was a clock?

I do admire the placing of the paint splotches to indicate the digits, I’m just not sure it’s all the most legible clock design. The sculpting work however is blimmin impressive – Rich thinking a lot of it was sprig moulded being a testament to that fact

and I love the painterly, slightly messy, look that it all has – it feels very Anna, who has very successfully managed to establish her ~brand~ in a mere two episodes.

Lastly we have Lucinda and her Ceroc Clock

Gosh, she’s good isn’t she? I love the sort of Spanish, Gaudi mosaic effect of it, with the different patterns and very cut out shapes – it certainly gives the whole piece a liveliness that you’d expect and hope for from a dance themed clock. I’m genuinely shocked that Keith didn’t cry over how good her figures are, but he was saving all his tears for Cellan’s teeny tiny little clay feet.

An Unofficial Pendulum Clock Ranking

  1. Tom’s Ode To The Ex-Barbaras
  2. Cellan’s a Happy Camper
  3. Strictly Come Lucinda Domination
  4. Nick’s Mr. Roboto
  5. Anna’s Non-fox Related Hobbies
  6. AJ Rolled a Natural 1
  7. Jenny’s Big Blue Clock
  8. Christine’s Cake-eating Crochet Monster
  9. Josh’s Clock At Least Hung Up
  10. Zahra Just Likes Doing Things
  11. Miles’s Bigger Bluer Clocker

With Cellan being the only person to reduce Keith to tears, apparently poultry just don’t do it for Mr. Brymer-Jones, it was a very clear win for Cellan’s boy scout clock

but with every Potter of the Week, there must be an elimination and sadly after having only narrowly scraped through last week, time had run out for Zahra

It’s honestly rude of them to eliminate her before she could immortalise her cat as a ceramic bidet. But you can go follow her for the potential Neo based ceramics collection at ZahraJabirCeramics.

And so, 10 potters remain

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of the Great Pottery Throwdown and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

One thought on “Pottery Throwdown 2022, Episode 2: Ancient Egyptian Veterinary Apparatus

  1. Mims

    Winter is Seattle is not my happy place, but your fabulous writing paired with a watching of GPTD is a bright spot in my week. Thank you for the deep bellied laughter generated by your brilliant observations. Off to look for my own jewel encrusted lobster embellished socks to start my day.

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