Behind the scenes with Rich Miller: The Great Pottery Throw Down

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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 interviews from past issues of Ceramic Review with on-screen technician and owner of Froyle Tiles, Richard Miller.

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Rich Miller, holding one of his unique stoneware pieces. Photo Cristian Barnett

Rich Miller, holding one of his unique stoneware pieces. Photo Cristian Barnett

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What’s your role on the Throw Down?

Although I am officially the ‘on-screen technician’, I’m unable to offer technical advice to the participants as it has to remain a level playing field. I look after the work, fire kilns, and set up workspaces. I also provide technical pointers to the production team, to make sure they cover anything interesting.

How did you feel during filming?

When someone’s success relies on their work remaining intact, you feel hugely responsible. My biggest fear was dropping or breaking a participant’s work. All the filming and crew were booked on specific days; if the pots weren’t ready to go, it would spell disaster. I think the biggest challenge was scheduling – we pushed ceramic process to its very limits.

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Relief tiles by Froyle Tiles. Photos Cristian BarnettRelief tiles made by Froyle Tiles. Photo Cristian Barnett
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What do you think was the toughest challenge for the potters?

What was successful about the challenges was that they tested every essential (and non-essential) skill a potter might need. As makers, we become proficient at the processes we specialise in and use most, but these tasks put everything to the test. Even the most experienced potter would have found the variety of tasks a huge challenge.

You run your own successful business, Froyle Tiles. How did filming affect your life?

It took a lot of time out of my workshop – for the first series, it was six solid weeks. But I was intrigued by the concept and keen to experience something new. Fortunately my workshop manager, Ziad Kadri, kept production going in my absence.

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Rich raw-glazing a stoneware tile. Photo Cristian Barnett

Rich raw-glazing a stoneware tile. Photo Cristian Barnett

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Overall, what do you think of the show?

I think that it has got to be positive for ceramics. For people who haven’t experienced clay, this will bring the medium into their front room. Some are sceptical that the medium can work with this kind of reality competition format, but my feeling is that it will be hugely beneficial. Education is the key. It may also encourage participation.

Read more about what happens behind the scenes of The Great Pottery Throw Down with Rich Miller in issue 276 and 279 of Ceramic Review. You can purchase them here, or access them 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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