Interview with Christophe on leaving The Great Pottery Throw Down


Channel 4

Q&A with Christophe:

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

When I arrived on set the first day, I had mixed feelings. I was very nervous, super excited and asked myself, what have I done?

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

Strangely, I thought the set was smaller than it is when you watch it on TV. This did not help me to be more relaxed [Laughing]

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

I started Pottery during the second lockdown in February 2020 (age 34). I have always been crafty, and I miss this so much in my daily job. Interestingly, I had never touched ceramics before, but I knew deeply it would be something I would enjoy. I jumped at ceramics at the time I was making concrete pots for my plants and realised I didn’t have much flexibility with it. I was also bothered by the fact concrete is not the most sustainable material to use.

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?

Even though I am more like a thrower, my favourite piece is handbuilt. It is a vase with angular shapes and a pen holder interlocked together like a game of Tetris. I am revisiting the shapes to integrate more pieces that can work together as a series, or separately. It is very architectural and I have it on my office desk.

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

I used to make my pottery in the shared space we called the artistic and workout hub with my flatmates. I was lucky to have a small courtyard where I built a shed out of a broken bed to house my kiln and wheel.

I set up my workspace and put it back in the shed every single time I used my wheel. Cleaning was quite a burden. I had to mop three times to not see a single line of clay to be sure my flatmate would be able to use the space comfortably. Today, because I moved with my partner Zeb, I became a member of a studio when a place became available. It is so interesting to share a space with other potters, to discuss about it and see everyone’s creativity.

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

Throwing was my favourite technique for quite a while. I enjoy the fast process of it as I tend to be impatient. Ironically, since the show, I am realising that mixing both techniques helps me to develop my style. Funnily enough, I am now doing things that require a lot of time and patience. I developed a ‘pixel series’ of vases where I must attach cubes almost one by one. It took me a week to do 3 vases as a prototype.

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?

My daily job requires me to perform well under pressure and to adapt myself to any last-minute changes that can occur. This helped me a lot for the first week. However, when things are not going according to plan and you have a time limit, I sometimes get overwhelmed, especially by things I am passionate about. This is what happened during the first week at the decorating time.

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 made about over 20 mugs for my team at work. I put their initials on each. It was the first time I intended to make a large amount in one go and I was very proud of the result. I have had several requests for special events. I am glad people are interested and touched about my work. This is what makes me want to carry on.

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

The biggest disaster I had at home was in the kiln unfortunately. One of the bottles I put in exploded and all pieces went to the other pots that fused with the glaze. It was a great moment of sadness when I opened it. I was mainly sad because it was a waste of material and energy. I managed to convert some of my jars into small plant pots to avoid too much waste.

I still have no idea why it exploded even after asking advice from some experts.

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

For my best supporter and the person who everyday shows me what love is: Zeb. I have so many ideas for him but the one that would touch him and me the most, would be making ‘Gaspard’. This is a real urban fox that came to visit us every day. We really got attached to it. So much, then Zeb wrote a series of children’s books about it: “Gaspard the Fox”.

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 have OCD when it comes to cleaning ! I am always trying my best to keep everything clean. You might have seen it during the first week. My wheel and bench were one of the less messy. I used my apron as a tablecloth that night for dinner [Laughs]

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

Honestly, it was the most wonderful thing. We were instantly like a little pottery family, and we will be like this forever from now on. We were all taking care of each other and being sure everyone was feeling ok during this entire process.

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 wanted to impress them both. Siobhán was a great asset to the show and very lovely. She gave a more relaxed atmosphere while we were working - aside from telling us how much time we had left…

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

The heritage and history always inspired me. Being able to make use of that heritage and not let it decay is even more rewarding for me. I was thrilled to be inside this museum and understand more about it.

How hard was it to keep a secret?

Very hard. Everyone was asking me how I was, What I was up to? I had to really sound boring to avoid people asking even more questions ….

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

We are already planning to do things together. Everyone is so kind and lovely, being part of something unique like this and sharing the same passion is all what makes us bond together.

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

I am doing pole dancing as an exercise workout - what could surprise them more than that? [laughs]

Overall comments on the series:

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

The best moment was in episode two, seeing Rose’s reaction when I managed to open my box freshly out of the kiln and hugging each other. I really thought my lid would have been stuck.

The obvious worst moment in week three, was when I saw all the makes of everyone on the table before judging. I knew at that time it was my turn to go. I lost my words during judging as I was very disappointed in myself.

Favourite challenge of the whole series and least favourite?

I would have loved to make the large vase. My least favourite was making the 3 birds for the wall. I was daunted by it from day one. I tried to make it a bit different to give it some interest for me, but that didn’t pay off…

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?

Aside from new amazing friendships, I learned that my love for pottery is even stronger than before. The show also helped me to stay true to myself even though it was sometimes through bittersweet emotions.

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

I am currently defining my style as a potter and looking for some more training. I hope at some point to become a full-time ceramicist.



CHRISTOPHE, 36 from London (originally France) – Architect

Architect Christophe moved to the UK from his native France 8 years ago – it was only ever supposed to be short term but he found love and in doing so, found a home. Away from the wheel, you’ll find Christophe either at the local swimming pool, coaching the team, or pole dancing! Having only taken up pottery two years ago, he uses it as a means to get away from the stresses of work but loves that elements of his day job come in very handy when constructing with clay.

The Great Pottery Throw Down continues on Sunday 5 February 2023 at 7.45pm on Channel 4.

Source Channel 4

February 1, 2023 4:00am ET by Channel 4  


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