Creativity Found: finding creativity later in life

Peter White – Great Pottery Throw Down Finalist: Part 2 of 2

April 04, 2021 Peter Whte Episode 14
Creativity Found: finding creativity later in life
Peter White – Great Pottery Throw Down Finalist: Part 2 of 2
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This episode is ALL about Peter's experiences on The Great PotteryThrow Down.

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Researched, edited and produced by Claire Waite Brown
Music: Day Trips by Ketsa Undercover / Ketsa Creative Commons License Free Music Archive - Ketsa - Day Trips
Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.uk
Photo: Ella Pallet

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Speaker 1:

In some people's minds. I think they feel like Peter is the old boy who will probably go quite early. And it was emotional. They had to stop filming a couple of times because we're all sobbing. Like Keith said, we've never had anybody of your age get this far and there's still more to go. If I can do it, anybody can do it. The Great Pottery Throwdown it's advertising for new contestants. Have a go.

Speaker 2:

Hi, I'm Claire, founder of Open Sage Arts Drama and Singing Classes for adults. Lots of the adults who come to our classes and online events are looking for a creativity that has been put on the back burner during their sensible grown-up years. I have found this to be true among other creatives, too, so I've decided to find out more about the painters, photographers, writers, printmakers, actors, crafters, teachers, musicians and more that have found or refound their creativity later in life. In this bonus episode with Peter White, we're talking all about the Great Pottery Throwdown. Hello again, peter.

Speaker 1:

Hello, claire, lovely to see you again.

Speaker 2:

Thank you and you. We're on the throwdown now, and it was your family that applied in your name. What happened next?

Speaker 1:

Well, you know, families have a lot to offer, don't they? You know, that's one of the things where I love throwdown the most kind of programs. And of course you say, well, you know I could do that as one does. You know, I wouldn't have done it like that. So, yes, they did sort of apply and they told me last minute.

Speaker 1:

So, to short this process, there's interviews and because of the nature of the beast, it was all done either zoom or by telephone. Under normal circumstances you would be face to face. But what happened was you have a like a technical questionnaire just asking you through what would you do with this? What materials would you do? What oxides? Just just basic ceramic clay information, just to make sure you do know something about it clearly. Then you go on to interview. You're also interviewed by a psychologist as well. I suppose it's not to make sure whether you're okay, I think it's just to make sure that you're quite happy, because it's highs and lows. You know that you're going to handle it okay. And then of course there's a couple of skill tests. Towards the end of the process they contact him and said we don't get to join us.

Speaker 2:

Were you surprised.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was terrified. I was terrified, yeah, I thought my only. But yeah, I just. It's hard, isn't it? I know they'd like to have a range of people and I said to Joel, I'm not going to like the token old person, I'm like no, don't be silly, you know. And of course it wasn't like that. I just got through on merit.

Speaker 2:

Brilliant. So you headed up to Stoke and Trent and you moved in with a group of strangers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they gave me a date in August and off I went, I got on my pickup truck with all my bags and rubbish and everything and we stayed in a bubble. We were put into like a, a small gated community it's like a sort of hunting lodge sort of thing where I met the other competitors, the other 11 competitors, and I also met two people that were going to look after us, and so you had to be a totally secure bubble. We had on site, we had a chef that came in the evening it's a good evening meal six days a week and we had two medical people because we were COVID tested every other day and we have a temperature check every single day. So it was all very professional, very well run. But I met these people, different nationalities, different parts of the country.

Speaker 1:

I was very, very young, like you know, in the 20s to me and then we brought skateboard along and I'd be sitting there, despite with a beard, working away and he comes skateboarding across. It was wonderful, it was absolutely fantastic and I suppose initially I was very apprehensive. I was away from home. I love my family, I'm a big family guy. Suddenly I was with all these other people and so you're waiting for the conflict, I suppose you know, because there are always situations isn't there, but it wasn't like that. The 12 people that were picked, I think, were picked perfectly, so I can understand why all the interviews and all the psychometric tests and all that kind of thing, you know, was fantastic. I think I did a perfect job because we gelled really, really well.

Speaker 2:

Because it's I mean, famously there are tears from Keith, but generally it's quite. There's a lot of emotion on the show and that you're obviously really into what it is you're doing, so you're going to feel emotionally about that. You did come across as a show all of you as a really supportive bunch contestants and judges and I'm guessing that was quite an important factor for you to support others and be supported in return.

Speaker 1:

Well, we have people there that were a lot more skilled than me. I think most people were more skilled than me in the sense that they had recent experience. But you just do, you've just gone on and helped people and I think, well, you offering to help, they want to reciprocate that, they want to share that, and we shared information, we shared knowledge. We say, no, don't do that, don't do this. You know, try this. And I think at certain points you know one of the, you know, one of the technicians said to me you do know this is competition, don't you? And I went, yeah. So I thought, oh, am I being tabbed off here? I thought, do you know what? I don't care. So when somebody had a problem, what you didn't see was the fact that a couple of times I was ahead in my time and one of the two of the others, I would go and help them. So I would do a bit of the work and help them and just simple, like glazing and wiping the bottoms of pots and things like that, just to make sure they got up in the drying room or they finished it. But the same from them. I'd be sitting doing some design work and I'd say, oh, that's great, you know what about you know? Would you consider that or consider that?

Speaker 1:

The gel clear, the gelling of the conference was fantastic and of course we had the two supportive members who would go out and sort of shops for you and we wanted to allow to leave.

Speaker 1:

And also, I mean, we had a situation where you were like at the studio at the crack of dawn and sometimes you would be down at Crack-a-Dawn and you'd leave really really late at night. So, with long days, not only long days for a person of my age but also for young people as well but that was fabulous time, fabulous group of people, and it was emotional I have a lot of empathy and I suppose I do get emotional. I do care very much about people and so with Keith, you know, I think even Richie and Siobhan got a bit emotional a couple of times and there was lots you didn't see because they had to stop filming a couple of times because we're all sobbing, everybody's like oh my God. And then when somebody left crying, you know, if you can't let those inhibitions go, that's a worry. You've got to be able to go. No, I am sad for that situation.

Speaker 1:

I don't think anybody's that hard on me or cold face, you've got to let go. We're all part of this crazy world. We just, you know, just be happy and be sad at the same time.

Speaker 2:

The audience at home connects with that. We can understand what you're going through and when you're showing that emotion, we feel it as well. We completely understand. So is that empathy. But it's a nice connection between you guys and everybody watching you.

Speaker 1:

Throughout my life. I mean, you know I'm a private pilot. You know when we're allowed to be flying in on Mrs Fly. I've taught, I've been. You know real situations. I've had businesses with all the pressures that that takes. But the tension on that show was nothing more than that because you know, when they say you had three hours to make this, you have three hours and she's all made counting down. That's genuine and you're panicking, you know, because you look at the task and you think I couldn't make that in three weeks. I don't have three hours. You do, and so you have that pressure and you don't want to leave. You don't want to let your family down, you don't want to let your friends down and all the crew are rooting for you being interviewed and you go oh, no pressure. Then, yeah, there's bonkers, but no, but you just weather it. It was great. It was a great experience.

Speaker 2:

And there's the breakages as well. Sometimes I feel so nervous for you all as you get your stuff and it's coming back from the kiln.

Speaker 1:

Do you know what? I'm afraid? Breakages are the normal four potters, because you're dealing with wet, you're dealing with extremes of heat, you're dealing with melted glass and silica and oxides and all those things that are massive problems. You're throwing loads of heat in, taking loads of heat out, so you do get breakages. Human nature allows you to push the boundaries and it wants you to push the boundaries, and so you work out and you think it's going to take me 12 hours to dry this piece of work and you think, what about fan heat from it? Can I dry it any quicker? And then when you go back in, it's got a crack in it. You think no. So then it's not taking you 12 hours, it's taking you 24, you know, and it got people ringing up well pace ready, and that's the kind of tension it is. So for the technical crew that were loading and unloading kilns, they were trying to dry and fire it and the stressing clay is phenomenal. So it can't be helped.

Speaker 1:

You know, sometimes you're cured, you open the door and you go fantastic, and other times you open the cure and you go close the door again. So I'll come back to that later, when I'm done. When you've cut in an aspirin. It's like that. The highs are the lows. Grey days and dark grey days. That's what we have. I don't think it's the same on the show.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know, like sometimes I mean I'm sure people look to the show and think why are they all laughing when all their works all smashed? And because the tension, because sometimes you cry and then you laugh and think there's nothing I can do about it. I'll just try and piece it all together and make it look good in bits. You know, that's just this sort of mosaic of mess. You know, I just hope that your mess is tidier than the mess behind you. You know, but no, that's what it was like.

Speaker 2:

And how did you feel to get as far as you did, to get to the final?

Speaker 1:

Interesting question. I think and it was mentioned that there was a bit of a rank outsider I don't think anything. At the end of my age I think, probably more to do with my skewer base and my knowledge base wasn't quite there. So I think in some people's minds I think they feel right. Peter is the old boy who would probably go quite early. Like Keith said, we've never had anybody of your age get this far and there's still more to go. It was hard not to cry because you're tired, you're tense. He's very emotional. He's so passionate about you can't help but be passionate. I'll defy anybody not to cry. In fact, a couple of my mates like right here, enjoy. You know they'll get post-topping like a baby, you know, and I can genuinely believe it, because it draws you in, doesn't it? You know you have this creative energy with them and then when they start bubbling like you're off. But yeah, to make it to the end was absolutely amazing. Jodie won. She was just fantastic. They were all fantastic. Anybody there could have won.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So what lessons have you learned from being on the show, whether specifically like a practical lesson a practical, actually pottery technique lessons, or life lessons, lessons about yourself?

Speaker 1:

Right. Okay, so what I've learned is about my confidence level. I was against really really great people. My throwing skills went up through the roof. I throw quite large very confidently. Now I'm certainly more knowledgeable.

Speaker 1:

You have people there that were still all together, were still talking on WhatsApp, and I can put a question on the WhatsApp and know that I'll get 11 answers. Personally, it's given me more confidence. It's made me appreciate my family a lot more. Not that I needed to have it anymore, but I miss my family terribly. There were a couple of times when I realized that was I was 70. You know, when it came back really really tired and they'd all go which we just go to the bar and they go, no, I haven't got in the bed. I suppose it's taught me to be realistic as well, be realistic about life, not take things for granted. Just all get out there and then you know, come on, do these things. You know no one hates in the pains. You know, take a step and have a go. What I can do, anybody can do it, and that's what it taught me and hopefully encourage the children as well to go for it.

Speaker 2:

Brilliant. That's the perfect ending ethos there to give it a go, and if I can do it, anybody can do it. It's what we're all about here at Creativity Found as well.

Speaker 1:

So the great possible, throw down it's advertising for new contestants, have a go. Apply. If you're interested in clay, have a go. If you're at that stage of your life where you think, oh, I don't know what I'm going to do today, get a pencil. Get a pen, get a bit of paper, get outside, have a look at the world, have a look at the birds. Get away from television, get away from social media, get out there. Just annoy somebody. Just have a bit of fun, but just do it. I ain't just any number, your body's not. But no, just have a go.

Speaker 2:

Amazing. Thank you so much, Peter.

Speaker 1:

Actually, I love you talking to you, claire, thank you.

Speaker 2:

Thanks so much for listening to Creativity Found. If your podcast app has the facility, please leave a rating and review to help other people find us. On Instagram and Facebook, follow Act Creativity Found podcast and on Pinterest, look for Act Creativity Found. And finally, don't forget to check out creativityfoundcouk, the website connecting adults who want to find a creative outlet with the artists and crafters who can help them tap into their creativity.

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