A jeweller and ceramicist from Ramsgate is competing to be named champion in the sixth series of Channel 4’s The Great Pottery Throw Down.
Lois Gunn is one of 12 of Britain’s best home potters to compete in the series which kicked off on Sunday (January 8).
The series is hosted by Siobhán McSweeney with judges Keith Brymer Jones – who is also from east Kent- and Rich Miller (pictured below).
Lois, 36, made the cut in episode one to carry on with the challenge.
After many years as a teacher, Loïs changed track and embarked on jewellery design, working in recycled sterling silver and gold and ceramics.
Her passions are recycled glass, the ocean, spirituality and ancient and modern tradition.
Lois discovered ceramics at Margate’s Clayspace Studios and now teaches at the venue.
She said: “I always liked crafting at home with my mum and making salt dough creations was one of my favourite things to do together. I first went to a pottery drop session about 8 years ago and started doing pottery more regularly during lockdown.
“I make pottery at a studio in Margate and I also now share a little corner of my mum’s home studio where they let me store all my clay and glazes and even let me bring my kiln.
“I really enjoy making tiny sculpted porcelain pendants and a favourite is an oyster with a small gold pearl in it. I put this on a silver chain and a few friends and family have received one of these after some hints! I do love making pottery for my friends and family.
“I’m not a tidy potter and I seem to always lose the tools I know I have just put down. I try to tidy up as I go now or my mind gets too messy. You will see me covered in a fair amount of clay during the first episode.”
Lois said the first day on set provoked a mixture of emotions. She said: “I felt just so overwhelmed walking on to the set. It was all so exciting and when the judges and Siobhan walked out it just hit me – ‘I cannot believe I’m here!’ I really felt like I had achieved something and was so proud to be part of it.
“It felt like somewhere I had already spent so much happy time in so it just made me feel lucky to be there in such an amazing situation.”
Lois, who revealed she would love to make something for actor and Throw Down fan Brad Pitt, says her favourite piece to date was made just a few months ago: “I made a large coiled vase with mussel details attached to the outside and lots of gold lustre.
“It was the first time I really allowed myself to just make something for me with more self belief and less self judgement so it is an important piece in my memory.”
As the Great Pottery Throw Down gets underway Lois has decided her technique needs some brushing up.
She said: “I started in the pottery accidentally, being a bit too relaxed as pottery does usually make me feel fairly chilled out. During the make time I realised that I needed to speed up for the refine and decoration time. Time goes faster when you’re in the throw down.”
Lois says all the contestants got on like “a strange family” and host Siobhan is “lovely.”
She added: “I so wanted to impress both of the judges but I also wanted to do myself proud. As long as I managed to show something of what I can do then I was happy. “
The series has been filmed in Stoke and the Gladstone Pottery Museum.
Lois said: “I’ve never been to Stoke before and it really is the heart of British ceramics so I was so excited to be there.
“The museum is really beautiful and those bottle kilns! If you get a chance to visit, I would highly recommend it. Being there and being part of the throw down will be inspiring me for a long while to come. It’s a really special place and a special thing to be part of.
“It’s been really hard to keep a secret. I’m so excited to watch the series and see what everyone else made and how they got on. There’s hardly a chance to look around when you’re in there making too.
“People are going to be so surprised to see me on the tv! This year has been crazy for me, leaving teaching to work on my jewellery business and now getting to be part of the Throw Down I just feel so lucky and so excited to see what else I can do now.”
The Great Pottery Throw Down in on Channel 4 on Sundays at 7.45pm.