CLAY IN THE COMMUNITY: THE CANTERBURY THROW DOWN

The long-awaited television programme The Great Pottery Throw Down is back on British screens for its second series. Each week, Ceramic Review explores issues and topics related to the show.  

Canterbury Throwdown; Cherry Tewfik and Keith Brymer Jones. . Photo Ben Boswell

Canterbury Throwdown; Cherry Tewfik, Keith Brymer Jones, Imogen Noble. Photo: Ben Boswell 

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Enthusiasm for pottery is being sparked in the wider public by BBC2’s The Great Pottery Throw Down. This interest isn’t limited to TV-watching however – as demonstrated by a surge in popularity of ceramics evening classes. One potter has taken this wave of momentum one step further by organising an event inspired by the programme: The Canterbury Throwdown.

 Organised by Canterbury potter Cherry Tewfik and the Lilford Gallery for the 2016 Canterbury Festival, The Canterbury Throwdown was designed to be a fully inclusive community event. The initiative gave people from all walks of life a chance to try their hand at making a pot – free of charge.

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Canterbury Throwdown. Photo Ben Boswell

Canterbury Throwdown particpant. Photo Ben Boswell

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The event was opened by Throw Down judge and potter Keith Brymer Jones. Instead of following a competition format like the BBC programme, visitors were simply given tuition in throwing at the wheel or handbuilding. Completed pots were fired at local potteries.

Over 750 participants from a wide variety of backgrounds took part, including a party of Eritrean refugees, schoolchildren with special needs, four generations of a single family, and many visitors from overseas.

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Canterbury Throwdown. Photo Ben Boswell

Canterbury Throwdown particpant. Photo Ben Boswell

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Potter and event organiser Cherry Tewfik said:

‘In a climate where everything has a price tag and the arts have diminishing priority in schools and further education, it’s good to know that creative pottery was able to thrive in the centre of Canterbury. It was so successful and such a positive experience that we will certainly do this again next year.’


CR looks forward to seeing if any other Throw Down-inspired community projects appear. Heard of one? Get in touch and let us know.

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Watch Series 2 of The Great Pottery Throw Down on BB2 from 8pm on Thursdays, or catch up on BBC iPlayer. Can’t watch it? Follow us on Twitter @ceramicreview, where we’ll be live-tweeting the action as it happens.

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