This new TV program by the BBC has to be the most anticipated craft TV show for some time. Potter friends were up in arms when the working title “Britain’s best potter” appeared last year asking how could any aspiring amateur deserve the title? Would it be dumbing down? Who could they possibly get as hosts to do it justice?
I personally have always felt that perhaps with the notable exception of Gerald Ratner’s little blooper all publicity is good publicity. The recent episode of Poldark showing a brief clip of topless scything had the growing scything community up in arms at the appalling technique and terrible representation of their skilled craft but it has resulted in a huge amount of positive discussion about scything across the media.
So coming back to the Great British Pottery Throw Down it is made by the same production company that made the hugely successful Bake Off and Sewing Bee. It will be fronted by Ex Radio 1 Ladette Sara Cox with the subtitle “It’s messy, it’s hot, it’s pottery”. Fantastic! What better way to make pottery cool for the next generation?
OK so folk may say but it’s still dumbing down. Well that is where the “expert judges” come in and I don’t think they could have anyone better than Kate Malone for the job. I imagine every week will be a microcosm of a craftspersons life showing the hard work, the planning the preparation, the hopes for how our work will come out and then at the opening of the kiln there will be that mix of disappointment of and delight followed by the return of the cycle of more planning and more hard work.
Folk mostly know Kate Malone for her magnificent huge arty pots sold for thousands of pounds through high end galleries.
Two lesser known aspects of Kate’s work are her work bringing ceramics back into architecture with large building frontages and her work on glaze research, she is a superb technician with a deep understanding of her materials. What even fewer folk know about Kate is that she is also a lover of the humble kitchen pot. She told me once that if she could survive doing it in her London home she would be every bit as happy making humble everyday jugs and mugs. A few years ago we traded a porringer and spoon for some of her small sculptural pieces, I love the textures and colours.
I also regularly use a mug she designed and has made in Stoke
All in all Kate is just the most wonderful down to earth person with a deep understanding of her materials and techniques and passion to share and pass this knowledge and enthusiasm on. I would like to predict that this show will be an absolute winner, and result in all those pottery classes that have been closing down around the country reopening, I can’t wait.