Kara Leigh Ford Ceramics

Handmade pottery from Somerset

Why *not* getting on a TV show was the best thing that ever happened to me….

LifeKara Ford2 Comments
‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ is set to be the next Bake Off (! do love a bit of Bake Off! -yay for Nadiya!!) it’s the newest and hottest craft show about to hit our TV this autumn. I for one will be watching.

‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’ is set to be the next Bake Off (! do love a bit of Bake Off! -yay for Nadiya!!) it’s the newest and hottest craft show about to hit our TV this autumn. I for one will be watching.

If you read my first blog post you’ll already know about the ‘signs’ from the universe instructing me to spend my days as a potter! At least that’s what it felt like.

It all started back in 2014- I saw an advert for this pottery show. ‘Are you Britain’s Best Potter?’ it read. ‘No’, I thought but what the hell- ‘what have I got to loose?’ Things at work weren’t floating my boat. I was commuting over 2 hours per day (sometimes 3- if I was stuck behind a tractor, a common occurrence in my part of the world!) and getting home way after my husband, too exhausted to speak let alone make any pottery or do anything creative.

At that time, we had just buried one of our closest friends, Alex.  Alex 32, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour 2 years prior. The tragedy was on a level I had never experienced before and profoundly brought home the reality that we only get one chance. ONE. Thinking ‘this could this be it’ I gathered all my strength and filled in the application, chose the best picture of me I could find (taken at a friend’s wedding that summer, fake tan and false eyelashes included;-) – attached some pictures of my best pots and emailed it through to the address. To my total shock- the production company called me the next day. I went through 3 rounds of auditions, 2 in London.

One of the pictures I sent.

One of the pictures I sent.

‘Sugar lumps!’ (or similar) I exclaimed to Mr T, my hubby ‘I might just get on this thing!’ As excited as I was at the prospect of having an amazing life experience and spending time doing something I loved, I had a nagging at the back of my mind. Yes, I would learn a shed-load and it would be so nice to be surrounded by other potters (we are rare beasts you know) but the fear of doing it on TV in front of thousands of people made me feel sick to the pit of my stomach. The closer I got to the final audition phase, the stronger this feeling became - ‘what if I actually get on the show?’

The stress of the final audition was intense- a camera in my face, whilst trying to throw on the wheel, being watched by two of the best potters in the country, asking questions about glazing techniques- it all felt so unnatural. I even had a little cry on the train on my way home. When the email arrived a few weeks later explaining that they hadn’t chosen me this time, I was relieved.

Not getting on the show was the best thing that ever happened to me. Just being chosen for the audition gave me a newfound confidence: I was chosen out of hundreds of potters, I got to the final audition. I’d asked all the other people on my audition round what they did for a living and each one looked at me perplexed before answering ‘I’m a potter’ Everyone at the final stage was making (some level of) living from creating things out of clay. Except me. So I wasn’t chosen, but the journey took me to the life-changing question: if all of these people can make a living from pottery, then why can’t I?

If I am honest with myself, as a potter, I wasn’t ready to be on the show but what I was ready for was giving myself the chance to truly become a potter and earn my living doing something I love. Six months later, here I am. Not quite earning a living (yet) but I am giving myself the opportunity to try and you never know, I might reapply for the show next year…!