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Penwortham youth worker impresses judges on Channel 4’s Great Pottery Throw Down

Posted on - 2nd February, 2022 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Penwortham, People, Proud Preston, South Ribble News
Judges Rich Miller and Keith Brymer Jones. Pic: Channel 4

A Penwortham youth worker competing in The Great Pottery Throw Down has impressed judges with her skills and touching designs.

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During the first episode of the Channel 4 show, which aired Sunday 2 January, 57-year-old Christine Cherry produced designs that stirred judges Keith Brymer Jones and Rich Miller to tears.

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Facing off against 12 potters from across the UK, Christine narrowly lost the first episode to Shropshire NHS therapist Lucinda Lovesey, but she remains in the competition.

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Christine Cherry. Pic: Channel 4

In the first challenge, the judges tasked the potters with making a five-piece children’s crockery set inspired by their childhood memories, including a plate, side plate, bowl, a beaker with two handles and a character eggcup.

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Christine made an ornate crockery ‘Nature Wonderland’ in the spirit of a childhood fairyland, styled as a Narcissus flower, with sculpted butterflies, flowers and a fairy.

She said: “When we were young, my mum was really interested in fairies.

“She used to take us through the bluebell woods, and she would show us the knots in trees. She would say they were the doors, so we’d knock on them and leave little daisy posies – things like that.

“My inspiration is flowers and fairies.”

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Former teacher Christine grew up in Preston with eight siblings, and now a mum of two herself, she loves nothing more than a family get together in Penwortham.

In the second challenge, the competitors made ceramic milk bottles – as many as possible in 15 minutes.

After throwing away a range of entries from other contestants, Keith welled up in delight at Christine’s offering.

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He said: “Honestly, Christine. I’m crying at them already – they’re brilliant.

“Folks, we throw these challenges at you, and you don’t know what you’re getting. You get on that wheel, and you persevere, and it’s brilliant.

“I’m sure Rich will back me up when I stop bloody crying. That’s your hands that’s doing that. You should be proud of yourself.”

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Christine’s work also impressed Rich Miller, who noted her milk bottles’ ‘beautiful’ form.

Afterwards, it was time to judge the newly decorated crockery sets and Christine’s entry.

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The judges praised Christine’s decision to use a brown skin tone in her fairy’s design.

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She said: “She had to have brown skin. I’ve just never seen anything like her in any of the books.”

Rich said he ‘massively respected’ the choice as he did not ‘experience broader society reflected at him in the mirror when growing up in the 1980s’.

He said: “I’ve got a small daughter now. How critical that is to any sense of self – it’s a massive thing.

“I think the beauty of that is that it is reinforcing a positive message for children.”

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Keith said: “I think that is inspirational.

“What’s wonderful about it is that attention to detail of yourself – you’ve brought it through to the design. It’s really lovely. “

The judges went on to say they were particularly impressed with Christine’s work, praising her design concept, with all three presenters admitting to being affected by the heartfelt design.

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Christine said: “I’ve totally surprised myself. When I was walking up, I said, this is for you, Mum. Obviously, she’s in my mind.

“To get the responses from the judges made me even more emotional. It was hard, but ultimately I’m glad my things turned out the way they did.”

Christine missed out on the coveted Potter of the Week title, losing to Lucinda.

As of week seven, Christine remains in the competition.

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