Next Episode of The Great Pottery Throw Down is
Season 2 / Episode 4 and airs on 23 February 2017 20:00
Ten home potters from around the country head to Stoke-on-Trent, the home of pottery, in their quest to become Top Potter.
The search for a top home potter begins with a four-day assignment to make stackable kitchen bowls from lumps of earthenware clay. Throwing, trimming and decorating are just some of the stages of the make. The potters' every move is watched over by judges Kate Malone and Keith Brymer Jones, while Sara Cox makes them feel right at home in the heart of the Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent.
While they wait for their bowls to dry and fire, the potters face two more challenges of their potting skill. The Spot Test is a chance to show off their technical ability against the clock. This week, they must make and attach handles onto twenty mugs using a technique called pulling - with mixed and amusing results.
And in the Throw Down, the judges test the potters' skill at the wheel. This week, they must throw as many egg cups as they can in twenty minutes. They must throw 'off the hump' - a technique which helped to bring about modern-day mass production of small pots. But which potter will make the most?
On the last day, the potters' bowls finally come out of the kiln and they see whether all their hard work has paid off. Who will be this week's top potter? And who will be the first to leave the pottery?
Nine passionate potters return to Stoke-on-Trent for more tests of their skills and creativity, all aiming to be named Top Potter.
This week they face a big main make for the smallest room in the house - a decorative hand basin. The potters are using a technique which is over 15,000 years old, coiling ropes of clay, one on top of the other. But the slightest mistake and their lovingly crafted basins could explode in the heat of the kiln.
The basins will take seven days to make, so in the meantime judges Kate Malone and Keith Brymer Jones set more tests of the potters' skills. In the Spot Test the potters must add a surface design to nine plain tiles, a technique which flourished in Stoke-on-Trent's heyday. And in a fiendish Throw Down, the potters are challenged to throw the tallest cylinder they can while blindfolded.
It is week three and the home potters are back in Stoke-on-Trent for more tough tests of their ceramic skills, each hoping to be named Top Potter.
They are playing with fire in their main make, when judges Kate Malone and Keith Brymer Jones ask them to make ten identical long-necked vases using the raku technique. This Japanese method of decorating and firing dates back to the sixteenth century and requires the potters to take their red-hot vases straight out of the kiln and plunge them into a bin full of combustible materials.
For their spot test, the potters must produce the finest decoration on three jugs using slip - watered-down clay. It is an ancient method which first enabled potters to colour and pattern their work. And for the throw down, the potters have just fifteen minutes at the wheel to produce exact copies of two ornate candlesticks thrown by master potter Keith.
It is week four in Stoke-on-Trent and just six potters remain, all striving to be named Top Potter.
For their main make, judges Kate Malone and Keith Brymer Jones set the potters a monumental task - hand-building a five-foot garden sculpture out of slabs of clay. At stake is a place in the semi-final and their designs this week are more ambitious than ever before. But building big is fraught with danger and even the slightest technical error could cause their sculptures to shatter in the heat of the kiln.
For their spot test, the potters must transform an ordinary chimney pot into a decorative strawberry pot by cutting holes in the original and adding pouches to the side. And for the throw down, the potters have just ten minutes on the wheel to throw the widest plate they can. Judge Keith makes plate-throwing look easy, but who can match him for size?
It's semi-final week in Stoke-on-Trent and just five potters remain, determined to secure their place in the final.
For their main make, the potters face their most technically demanding challenge yet - creating a decorative chandelier in bone china. This delicate and translucent clay was first produced in Britain at the end of the 18th century as a cheap alternative to Chinese porcelain. The potters must pour liquid clay into plaster moulds to make the pieces for their chandeliers in a process called slip casting.
For their spot test, steady hands are required when judges Kate Malone and Keith Brymer Jones test the potters' banding skills. They must paint consistent and fine lines onto plates which are revolving on the wheel. And for the throw down, they have just 15 minutes on the wheel to make the largest closed sphere they can, a hollow ball of clay which could collapse at any moment.
It is the grand final and the four remaining potters have just three tests left before one is crowned the winner of the Great Pottery Throw Down.
For their main make, Kate Malone and Keith Brymer Jones serve up their hardest task yet for the potters - a mark of how far they have come. They want each potter to make an original twelve-piece tea set out of porcelain, a true test of a potter's skills. The teapot is the toughest item to make, with a body, spout and lid, while the white and delicate porcelain is known as the trickiest of all clays to work with.
The other tests don't get much easier. They face a spot test from hell when they must cut intricate and decorative designs into leather-hard porcelain vases using a technique known as 'the devil's work'. For the final throw down, they have just 20 minutes to make three high-shouldered jugs - one of the hardest shapes to throw at the wheel.
Keith Brymer Jones(Judge)
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