The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down: Canada’s next craft craze 
A new competition series employs pottery as an exciting form of self-expression.

People from all over the world love to engage in and express themselves through different mediums of art. Pottery is a popular form of this artistic expression, and it was announced last year that a new competition series surrounding all things sculpting will be taking place in Canada! 

The Great Canadian Pottery Throwdown will be released on February 8, 2024, on CBC. The show was filmed on Granville Island, British Columbia, and is adapted from the British show, The Great Pottery Throw Down, which remains a popular ongoing series.

Each episode of the new series will consist of two creative challenges that test the contestants’ skills and techniques:

  1. Main Make: the biggest challenge of each episode, where each contestant is required to create a signature piece of pottery that involves several key stages, such as building and drying.
  2. Throw Down or Spot Test: the second challenge can be either a Throw Down (a race against time) or a Spot Test (testing and measuring a specific skill or technique)

Each episode will end with a potter being selected to leave a competition, and another potter being named potter of the week and having their piece placed in the exclusive Throw Down gallery. The last episode will focus on the three remaining potters, but only one will emerge as the winner. 

There will be 10 contestants, as listed below: 

  1. Kiefer Floreal: a 27-year-old man who is from Kenora, Ontario but currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He started pottery in high school and has eight years of potting experience. If he were to describe his potting style in three words, it would be “improvise, elegant, and complex.”
  2. Alice Gibson: a 21-year-old woman from Penticton, British Columbia. She started pottery at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and currently has three years of potting experience. If she were to describe her potting style in three words, it would be “peaceful, minimalist, and playful.”  
  3. Thomas Haskell: a young man from Trinidad, who currently lives in Toronto, Ontario. He started pottery as a child growing up in Trinidad and even did his Master of Fine Arts thesis at OCAD on ceramics. In three words, Haskell would describe his potting style as “striking, narrative, and eclectic.” 
  4. Susan Johnston: a 67-year-old retired high school art teacher from Surrey, British Columbia. She was first introduced to pottery as a teenager but did not commit to it until seven years ago, shortly after she had finished a university ceramics certificate program. If she were to describe her potting style in three words, it would be “rustic, sculptural, and Canadiana.” 
  5. Renu Mathew: a 49-year-old woman from Olds, Alberta. She started pottery in high school, thanks to the support of her art teacher, who let her spend “endless hours in the art room.” Over the years, she developed a diverse art background, with experience in sculpture, film, and cosmetology. She describes her potting style as “sculptural, textured, and organic.”
  6. Andrew McCullough: a 32-year-old Parliamentary Editor from Fredericton, New Brunswick. He got into pottery after a friend made him attend an art history class at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. Currently, he has 11 years of potting experience. If he were to describe his potting style in three words, it would be “modern, striking, and functional.” 
  7. Jen Sonnenberg: a 32-year-old substitute teacher from Stonewall, Manitoba. She went to university for fine arts and was required to take a three-dimensional arts class. She wanted to take sculpture, but it did not fit into her schedule, so she opted for ceramics, and “the rest is history.” In three words, she describes her potting style as “energetic, earthy, and functional.”
  8. Jackie Talmey-Lennon: a 39-year-old woman from Vancouver, British Columbia. She got into pottery in 2013, after making a casual remark about wanting to get into ceramics, which led to her dad paying for her first wheel-throwing class. She currently has more than 10 years of potting experience. If she was to describe her potting style in three words, it would be “colourful, detailed, and mine.”
  9. Elsa Valiñas: a 43-year-old woman who currently lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She first got into pottery at university but had to put it on hold due to her financial situation. After she came to Canada three years ago to seek a better quality of life, she got back into ceramics. In three words, she describes her potting style as “expressive, original, and decorative.” 
  10.  Michael Wood: a 35-year-old former restaurant worker from Salisbury, New Brunswick. He got into pottery after starting with a five-week evening class and later grew his expertise from reading books and through mentorships on pottery. As of now, he has more than six years of potting experience. If he were to describe his potting style in three words, it would be “gestural, conceptual, and ecru,” the third of which is the colour of unbleached linen.

The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down will be hosted by award-winning actress Jennifer Robertson, who is perhaps best known for her roles in Schitt’s Creek and Ginny and GeorgiaBrendan Tang and Natalie Waddell are the two expert judges who will provide their thoughts and scores. Tang is an award-winning artist and ceramics instructor, while Waddell is a renowned ceramicist and educator. Actor, executive producer of the series, and amateur potter Seth Rogen will make his appearance as a guest judge at some point in the show. 


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