Life after The Great Pottery Throw Down: we speak to previous winner Matthew Wilcock

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

This week, we revisit our interview from issue 282 of Ceramic Review with the winner of the last series of the Throw Down: Matthew Wilcock.………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 

Matthew Wilcock from Ceramic Review, November December 2016, issue 282

Matthew Wilcock from Ceramic Review, November/December 2016, issue 282. Photo Cristian Barnett 

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Potter and teacher Matthew Wilcock, winner of the previous series of the Throw Down, was described by judges Kate Malone and Keith Brymer Jones as having ‘an almost sixth sense for ceramics’, ‘marrying design with great technical ability.’ We caught up with Matthew to hear more about his experience of the show.

 

What were you hoping to get out of The Great Pottery Throw Down?

I initially wanted to be part of something which had the potential of raising and expanding the profile of ceramics. I’ve usually done anything I can to help push ceramics to a wider audience, particularly in education when you’re teaching the next generation.

How did the programme meet or subvert your expectations?

I’m not sure what I expected from the show – I try not to overthink things like that, or anything at all actually. I just take life as it comes. I expect something different to anything I’d done before, which is another reason I took part: to have a new experience. In all honesty, I didn’t think I would be selected so I didn’t put much thought into it.

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Trophy for winner of The Great Pottery Throw Down, series one. Photo Cristian Barnett for Ceramic Review issue 282. Photo Cristian Barnett

Trophy for winner of The Great Pottery Throw Down, series one. Photo Cristian Barnett for Ceramic Review issue 282. 

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What is the one thing you will be taking from the experience of being part of the show?

I’ve made some very good friends for life. We try to meet up whenever possible, sometimes for exhibitions and ceramics fairs. We all come from very different backgrounds but have the same passion for ceramics.

What do you think makes for a good participant of the Throw Down?

Everyone will react different to the atmosphere of ‘lights, camera – action!’ What I realised after the first episode was just to enjoy it. You’re with friends, doing something crazily different, so just try to savour every minute and have a great time. I was really sad when I left Middleport and still get emotional thinking about it. I can’t think of anything which would have made it a better experience. 

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Participants and judges of Great Pottery Throw Down, series one. Love Productions. Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

Participants and judges of The Great Pottery Throw Down, series one. Love Productions. Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

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Whats next for you?

It’s really important for me to teach as well as pot. I get so much inspiration from the children. At a young age their minds are so free – they tend not to have any limits on their creative process. It’s a pleasure to watch creativity happening all around you. Since the end of the show, I have also spent even more time potting. The Throw Down proved to me what is possible once you put your mind to it.

Finally, what piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in ceramics?

Persevere. Ceramics are not easy. You will have sleepless nights (in fact, you may even become nocturnal). The best advice I can give is join a group of potters – I’m a member of Northern Potters; we often have meetings where you discuss fairs and exhibitions, if you are interested in showing your work. This offers a great forum to discuss your ceramics, and any problems you might be having, with a range of potters spanning hobbyists to professionals. I’d also advise visiting a potter you admire, and asking them about their techniques.

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Matthew Wilcock, The Great Pottery Throw Down, Ceramic Review issue 282 November December 2016

Curious about Matthew and life after winning The Great Pottery Throw Down? Read more in issue 282 of Ceramic Review. You can purchase it here, or access it online with a digital subscription – included free with print subscriptions.

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Watch Series 2 of The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC Two 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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