The Great Pottery Throw Down final: all hail the winning potter

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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 post marks the end of the programme – and the crowning of the winning potter, Ryan.
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Photo: Love Productions / Mark Bourdillon / BBC

The complete cast of Throw Down potters at the start of the series. Photo: Love Productions / Mark Bourdillon / BBC …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

After 8 episodes and 24 gruelling challenges of The Great Pottery Throw Down, the judges had to decide whether Clover, Ryan or Richard deserved the title of winner. After a series of challenges – including sculpting a torso from life, throwing with the wheel spinning clockwise in Japanese style, and creating a pair of identical light features – model and home potter Ryan emerged triumphant.

After Ryan won the coveted title, judge Keith Brymer Jones said ‘I am so incredibly proud of Ryan. It just shows that hard work and determination can get you to grow and really flourish. Well done Ryan!’

Fellow judge Kate Malone added ‘It’s such an achievement. Ryan has only been doing this for a few years; that’s why we are here – to see people like Ryan develop and learn and to watch the whole process.’

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Photo: Love Productions / Mark Bourdillon / BBC

Ryan, 2017’s winning potter. Photo: Love Productions / Mark Bourdillon / BBC
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We caught up with Ryan after the show to find out what he thought of the programme, what he’s learnt – and what he’s got planned next.

Congratulations on winning the Throw Down! How did you find the final?Although it was a tense final, I loved it. I love pushing my own boundaries, and I tend to work well under time constraints. Richard and Clover could have easily won too – they both have great skills. I am ecstatic that I actually won The Great Pottery Throw Down. It’s going to be a memory for the rest of my life.

 How did you feel about the public’s reaction to the series?
I think it has reached out to different markets; I hope I have had a little impact on the craft itself. I was in the gym recently and a young guy said to me that I had inspired him to take up pottery. Ceramic fairs are very cool, and I think there is a kind of hipster style to it at the moment. I didn’t expect the Twitter reaction to take off in such a big way. It was great to read all the tweets and to see that the viewers were enjoying the show, because that’s what it’s all about really.

What were the best and worst moments for you?
One of the best moments was the first time throwing: it really made the whole thing feel real and was an ‘Oh my god, this is happening’ moment. Another great moment was winning the first episode with my 16-piece dinner set, which gave me a confident boost that was much-needed after seeing the overwhelming talent of the other potters. And impressing both judges with my toilet – the first moment of them flushing it and me going ‘Phew, it actually worked!’ In terms of the hardest moments, I think we all found it super hard to see people leaving the series, as we had all bonded as a family.

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Ryan holding his trophy with judge Kate Malone. Photo courtesy Ryan Barrett

Ryan holding The Great Pottery Throw Down 2017 trophy, alongside judge Kate Malone. Photo courtesy Ryan Barrett

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What inspired you to start potting?
I first touched clay during a first date from Tinder just under two years ago! I instantly fell in love with it. I went on eBay straight away, bought my first wheel and kiln and moved them into my grandma’s shed.

How did the Throw Down affect your making?
It was a life-changing experience. I had never hand built or done pit firing, so it has sped up my progression as a potter, and I can throw quicker now.

Where do you make your pottery? What do you like making the most?
I tend to make a lot of bottle forms of all different shapes and sizes with organic surfaces and textures. I love throwing, as you have instant results and it’s faster paced than hand-building. I am a huge fan of raku firing! I have my own small studio space at my grandma’s house, and I also go to a membership ceramic studio in London.

What are your plans for life post-Throw Down?
I am still modelling and busy with that, but I always throw whenever I can. I am now starting to build a website to showcase some of my latest works. I am in the process of building a studio at the bottom of the garden so I will be able to start getting creative soon. I loved being on the series and who knows what the next chapter will entail!

 

Thank you Ryan, and congratulations once again!
We look forward to seeing your next steps in the world of ceramics.

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Catch up with Series 2 of The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC iPlayer. Can’t watch it? Explore our Twitter feed @ceramicreview, where we live-tweeted the action as it happened, and read our weekly Throw Down blog posts. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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