I have never felt such mingled fear and excitement from a TV show in my life. But after watching the season 3 premiere of The Great Pottery Throw Down, I am complete. I know a reality competition show centering around pottery sounds dull at best, but hear me out. This shit is intense. There is no messing around. Critics may say that The Great Pottery Throw Down throws the calming, comforting, aspect of pottery out of the window by making it a competitive, timed event. To this I say: if you aren’t in it to refine and perfect your craft in a reality competition, then get out of the kiln.
Pottery is high stakes. It requires focus through every artful second of the sculpting. One bad move, and your beautiful thrown bowl is done. The stakes only intensify when you realize the permanence of the multi-step process. Whatever mistakes contestants make in the throwing or trimming process get carried over and intensified in the firing and glazing ones. What makes the show even more dramatic is the luck involved in firing the pottery. In the kiln, the contestant’s creations can fracture, fall apart, or even blow up. All of this to say, The Great Pottery Throw Down is not lacking in drama. Pottery is an art that forces contestants to live with their decisions. A fact of which they are brutally aware.
On top of that, these pottery challenges are not for the faint of heart. The intro task on day one was throwing an entire breakfast set on the wheel. I’m talking french press, espresso cups, AND a toast rack. The set had to be as close to perfect as a handmade clay creation can be and then glazed with a themed design. Quite honestly, I didn’t know toast racks were a thing before this episode, but do I now appreciate the delicate, complex nature of them? You bet I do. In the downtime produced from the clay’s initial dry before its first fire, the contestants had to throw as many egg cups as possible in a set amount of time. Once more, I was appalled that so many of them could produce such a large quantity of egg cups with such high precision. One of the judges cried over the beauty of a chicken themed breakfast set. The show is fantastic to watch for the craft alone.
The cherry on top of this season’s premier episode was the contestants. Hailing from across the UK, these home-potters are delightful. They make the show enjoyable, and their personalities are evident not only in their dialogue but also in their creations. I have no qualms with these contestants, and I really do enjoy the collaborative nature of the entire show. They’re just good and kind people wanting to make some pottery in a highly competitive environment. What’s not to love? Tune into More4 (or YouTube) for some quality entertainment. I promise you won’t regret it.