Lancashire man wins Potter of the Week award on third week of Channel 4 show

James Stead made it through to the fourth week of The Great Pottery Throw Down <i>(Image: Channel 4)</i>
James Stead made it through to the fourth week of The Great Pottery Throw Down (Image: Channel 4)

Lancashire-born potter James Stead was awarded Potter of the Week in the third episode of Channel 4’s The Great Pottery Throw Down, sending him through to the fourth week.

The 44-year-old, who was born in Rishton, also placed first in the throw down challenge for the third week in a row.

The main task for the 10 remaining potters this week was to create a trio of birds in their own style but akin to the Beswick Flying Ducks, an icon of 20th century design and a valuable collectable that was created in Stoke-on-Trent, where the show is filmed.

James and the other contestants were give five-and-a-half hours to design and create their birds, with James, who now lived in Banbury, Oxfordshire, opting for a trio of macaws due to their colourful nature and the nice structure they give – and because they’re the favourite bird of his youngest daughter, Poppy.

READ MORE: The Great Pottery Throwdown: Second-week success for Rishton-born man

The birds should have been in each potter’s unique style and each one had to be a different size to gain perspective. Also, it needed to be able to be secured to the judging wall with one single screw.

James said that rather than adding feathers as separate pieces of clay, he would carve them into the surface and cut away around the edges of the wings to bring them to life.

After the pieces were placed in the drying room, the contestants were given a further three hours to decorate their pieces, with James opting for a light coat of red before going over it with shades of orange and a glaze to bring out the vibrant colours of the macaw.

When it came to judging time, James was praised heavily by judges Keith Brymer Jones and Richard Miller, as well as presenter, Derry Girls actor Siobhan McSweeney, saying they “couldn’t have asked for a better trio” and that the quality of glazing was “exquisite”.

They added: “James had a wonderful week. The way he created feathers, the surface pattern he’d managed to put in there, they were extraordinary.”

James said after the task: “It’s been a great week and it feels like there were hardly any negative comments from the judges at all.”

The success didn’t end there for James, who once again scored first place in the throw down challenge.

This week the potters were tasked with creating an old-fashioned hot water bottle in a tight time limit of 30 minutes.

The bottles were blind-judged and it was between James and fellow contestant Jon in the final two, but James was voted top again, meaning he has won the challenge on every episode so far.

READ MORE: The Great Pottery Throw Down: Rishton-born man through to second week

The two big wins were finally enough for James to be awarded Potter of the Week for the first time in the series, despite being in contention in the two weeks prior.

James said: “It couldn’t get any better because, you never know, anything might happen, and it’s nice to have your work appreciated.

Going home this week was Christophe, a 36-year-old architect originally from France but now living in London.

Next week, James and the other eight remaining contestants tackle the unpredictable art of Raku firing, while they are also paid a visit by a contestant from a previous series.

The Great Pottery Throw Down airs on Sunday nights on Channel 4.