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Side-effects of the Throwdown

I was back at Eastnor Pottery today, having my regular fix of pot-throwing. I was mostly just practising throwing cylinders and vases, and cutting them in half when I’d finished to check the profile. I’m still suffering from the curse of the “heavy bottom”, and there’s usually plenty of clay left at the bottom of the pot which I could mobilise to get a taller structure, and which I have to turn away if I take the pot through to the next stage.

The pottery studio was virtually full, with four people on day two of a weekend course, and another two (plus me) who were doing a single day’s worth of throwing. Jon had called in Ethan, his ex-apprentice, to help with the tutoring. The pottery team pride themselves on giving lots of individual tuition, and the skills involved in throwing and turning are sufficiently different that Ethan was leading the throwing workshop, while Jon supervised the people doing turning and decorating.

Jon the Potter said that ever since the first episode of the Great Pottery Throwdown was shown on the tv, his phone has been ringing virtually non-stop with people enquiring about throwing workshops and gift vouchers. It’s been absolutely great for business, and he’s probably going to have to run additional workshops next year, over the ones he’s already got scheduled, in order to satisfy all the demand. He’s also taking part in a BBC & Crafts Council tie-in, offering people a chance to  throw a pot for free next Friday and Saturday. It will be interesting to see if all this interest is just a blip, or whether it leads to a sustainably higher level of demand. I suppose that will partly depend on whether the programme gets re-commissioned for a follow-on series or not. It’s very interesting how a tv series, and the buzz surrounding it, has had such an effect on their sales.