Nation goes potty for pottery

Hobbycraft has revealed that its sales of clay are up 26% compared with last year, thanks to series two of ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’, which has been airing on BBC2 for the past month.

The arts and crafts retailer said: ‘Anyone still pining after the soggy bottoms and puns of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ seems to have found a new love, as ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ is following in the footsteps of its big sister.

‘Whether it’s the idea of being able to make your very own dinner set or decorate your own jugs, our sales reveal that people are already planning to give pottery a go at home.’

Hobbycraft said shoppers in Crewe and York are the most keen to get throwing on the wheel (with sales of clay up 245% and 243% respectively in the towns), followed by Bridgemere, Bicester and Chelmsford

Caroline Brooke, clay buyer at Hobbycraft, commented: “Our customers find programmes like ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ really inspiring. The first series was a great success and we predict this series will be bigger and better.”

During series one, Hobbycraft’s sales of air drying clay rose 60%. More specifically, sales of air drying clay in white and terracotta soared 294% and 314% respectively – which equates to nearly 30 tonnes.

Caroline continued: “It’s fantastic to already see the show influencing the nation to get crafty with clay, as the trend for pottery has been out of favour for the past couple of years compared with baking, sewing and knitting. We’re very excited about the rest of the series and what else the potters will create.”

Episode six of the eight-part series airs next Thursday (March 9) at 8pm. It is the quarter-final and two potters will be sent home.

In the ‘throw down’ challenge, the potters have just 10 minutes at the wheel to throw the widest bowl they can, while blindfolded.

For the ‘spot test’, they must carve a pattern onto the surface of a Greek urn using the centuries-old technique of sgraffito. Derived from the Italian word for scratched, sgraffito involves etching through a layer of coloured clay to reveal a contrasting colour beneath.

In the ‘main make’, the potters must hand coil and decorate four Russian nesting dolls. The top and bottom of each doll must slot together using a flange and gallery connection and the four must stack inside each other seamlessly.

Founded in 1995, Hobbycraft is the largest arts and crafts retailer in the UK with more than 80 stores nationwide. The chain stocks over 25,000 products for 250 activities including cookware and baking supplies; art materials; craft kits and components; paper craft; knit, stitch and haberdashery and ready-to-make jewellery.


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