Rebecca Leaves The Great Pottery Throw Down

Category: News Release

Q&A with Rebecca:

Walking onto the set on the very first day, did you feel nervous or excited or was it a combination of both?

Walking onto the set on the first day was so exciting, so exciting! I could not contain myself. I was grinning from ear to ear, jumping up and down. I could not believe that I was there. I was a little nervous when we all got into the pottery and stood at our benches. It was a ‘it is really happening moment, don’t mess it up’


Was the set as you thought it would be from seeing previous series?

Gladstone is an incredibly atmospheric place, steeped in so much history it was such a special experience to be there actually doing real pottery.  After seeing the Throw Down for so long It was so surreal to actually be there. It was a lot smaller than it looks on screen. It was a pinch-yourself moment. Especially when the judges walked out of the sliding doors. It was a lot to take in.


What age or time in your life did you start pottery and who inspired you? 

I started pottery properly about 5 years at a local community pottery studio in Australia, my first make was a sculpture of a woman’s head and I instantly fell in love with clay. It sounds a cliché but I knew from that 1st make that this would be a lifelong journey with ceramics.

Creative people in general inspire me, creatives who champion people to be creative - are my heroes (shout out to Keith!).


Can you say something about the best piece of pottery you have ever made, even if it was your first piece - and any memories that are attached to it?

I don’t really have a piece that I would say is my ‘best’ piece. I really see each piece I make as a growth in style, confidence and creativity so as long as each piece is at least one of those things then I am becoming a better potter. I struggle with my confidence in my makes a lot of the time so being on the show is a big challenge for me.


Where do you make your pottery, do you have a shed or a workshop that you share?

I have recently moved back from Australia so my studio contents were in transit for a long time. I am currently in my spare room with the kiln in temporary accommodation but I have a lovely new log cabin studio currently being built in the yard so that is very exciting.


What is your favoured technique – hand built or thrown – or both and give reasons why?

I love both, but for very different reasons! I love hand-building, it is a form of therapy for me. Hours can pass by whilst my brain compartmentalises thoughts, memories, plans and to-do lists. Hand-building is complete creative freedom for me and I love it so much. Wheel throwing is much more of a discipline but not in a bad way. It has structure and rules and techniques that you must learn to become better. It teaches me perseverance, patience and practice and I love that so much too! I love them in equal measures.


Pottery is usually a relaxing hobby and a lengthy process so what was it like to be working under quite strict time constraints that first week?

OMG, is the only way to describe the first week. There were so many items to make and what seemed like 10 minutes to make them all. Time flies by in the pottery and not in a good way! It was so much fun but very stressful. I remember looking around at the other amazing potters and thinking, I can’t do this why am I here? It was a real test of mental strength but it was fun, and exciting to share the experience.


What is your favourite piece of pottery that you make for friends and family, and do you get any special requests around Christmas or birthdays?

I love making quirky characters they are always a hit and everyone loves a good old planter!


Biggest personal disaster for you making something and did it hit your own bucket of doom?

There’s plenty of makes gone in my bucket of doom, Keith would be proud! I am very strict with myself about what I fire because once the clay is fired it cannot be broken down. I know I am being a negative Nancy but it is important to think about environmental impact. FYI: I am terrified of Keith’s bucket of doom!


Who would you most like to make a piece of pottery for?

I would love to make my late grandad a cup, if he was still here, for the hundred brews a day he used to drink. I think he would be really proud. I would also like to make Keith something as he is my pottery hero (Cringe alert but it is true!)


Are you a messy potter or do you keep everything clean and tidy?  What was your apron like by the end of the first episode?

I am such a messy potter, I am always covered head to toe in clay. I can’t help it! I feel sorry for the person who had to sort my apron out! I offered but they wouldn’t let me.


What was the camaraderie like between the Potters on set and off set?

This might sound so clichéd  but they are just the best people, we are already friends for life (sick bucket alert). They are an amazing bunch of talented potters but the teacher in me had to keep them organized in our break room, stuff was everywhere! On a serious note, I feel so blessed to have met them all. We have all geeked out talking about kiln temperatures, clay bodies and pottery tools, things that other people would find a little too much.


Which Judge did you want to impress the most [or both] and why? Did you find Siobhán a great support when the going got tough?

I think everyone going into the pottery wants to make Keith cry which sounds bloomin awful but it is true! I just want to try my best and show that I care about getting better as a potter and putting my heart and soul into my makes. Both Keith and Rich are so genuinely lovely I want them both to love what I make! Siobhan is hilarious, she was helpful… in her own special way.


Did you enjoy being in the midst of pottery country in Stoke, and filming at the Gladstone Pottery Museum - did it inspire you?

Gladstone (and Stoke) is the most awe-inspiring place for potters, I love the place so much. It has so much history, it will always have a special place in my heart after this experience.


How hard was it to keep a secret?

So hard! It is the most exciting thing and you cannot tell anyone. I found it so hard. That is what bonded the potters even more!


Are the potters good at keeping in touch, and what do you think bonds you so well?

We are great at keeping in touch. All of us come from very different backgrounds and our paths would have never crossed in our normal everyday lives. We are now bonded through this crazy wonderful experience. I love each and every one of the potters so much!


Do you think your pottery friends or work friends will be surprised to see you on television?

Erm… I don’t think my friends are ever shocked at the challenges I throw at myself so I don’t think they will be shocked but I hope that I can do them proud. It is a fabulous achievement to even get on the show.


Overall comments from the whole series:

What was your best and worst moment overall in the series, and why?

Best moment was Raku - honestly it was one of the best days of my life. It was my ultimate goal to get to Raku week so I was sooooo excited to be there. I could not stop moving, dancing. It was just such a fabulous experience with my fellow potters.

Worst moments - there were a few! The hot water bottle and the chimney 2nd challenges allowed me the opportunity to ugly cry on TV. I said to myself before I came on the show ‘whatever you do, don’t cry!’ that went out the window when Siobhan shouted 30 minutes. That time call got me every time. It was the feeling of complete failure. It was really upsetting and I still wished I had done better in those challenges.


Favourite challenge of the whole series and least favourite?

Favourite challenge: I really enjoyed the Gargoyle challenge even though it was my last challenge in the pottery, it was something that I would never usually make and it was creative freedom. The feedback from Keith and Rich was really special, it didn’t matter that I went home. I will always cherish that day.

Least Favourite: The damn hot water bottle. I never want to see a ceramic hot water bottle ever again in my life. It was so difficult to make under the time pressure. I can just remember the tears welling up and I couldn’t stop them. I was trying so hard to save it but I couldn’t and it was so upsetting to be the only one that didn’t have a complete piece to show. I felt like a failure.


What do you feel you learned the most from taking part in the series and what will you take away from your experience on The Great Pottery Throw Down?

Oh my gosh where do I start. I have learnt so much about myself. First of all I learnt to retract my application for the hot water bottle factory worker role!  I learnt to try and be more confident in my own ability. When I started this journey I questioned why I had gotten a place and as the weeks went on I felt that I was coming to terms with being ok at pottery! I learnt that this journey was mine and everyone is at their own stage in their journey so it is completely wasted energy to compare yourself to others. I learnt that it is ok to be me (welling up as I type) it is ok to have a childlike style and make the things I like to make, that is just as worthy as what other people make. This has held me back for so many years creatively and this experience has broken down that barrier. Thank you TGPTD!


What is next for you, and what are your hopes and ambitions in the world of pottery?

Life is busy but pottery is up there with my top priorities. I want to continue to refine my style and embrace the ‘quirky’ even more. I want to make as much as I can and start selling on a small scale. Practice my throwing skills (I will make a damn 13kg chimney if it kills me!). I want to do more pottery workshops in my local area to introduce more people to the wonders of clay and creativity. Most of all I want to keep in touch with my new pottery family. My other mission is to go and visit my bestie Lois and the cool kids down in Margate.