The winner of this year’s ‘Great Pottery Throw Down’ series on Channel 4 has returned to Coleg y Cymoedd, over a decade after first studying at the college, to share her skills and tips with budding artists. Jodie Neale, who was crowned champion of the national pottery TV show earlier this year, beat 11 other avid ceramic artists from across the country to take the top title. The competition saw contestants take part in a series of challenges where they were required to design and create pieces centred around a theme which varied each week, from musician inspired busts to 1920s art deco party sets.
Originally studying Foundation Art and Design at Coleg y Cymoedd back in 2003, Jodie went on to obtain a BA Hons Fine Art degree at Coleg Sir Gar in 2007, before qualifying and working as a nurse for the NHS.
Despite not pursuing art as a career, Jodie never lost sight of her passion for all things creative. Shortly after obtaining her nursing qualification, she signed up to evening pottery classes and quickly rediscovered her love for the craft. After twelve weeks of classes, Jodie created her own studio at the bottom of her garden and has been creating ceramic art and pottery pieces from there ever since. After gaining confidence, she decided to apply for the Channel 4 show last year, impressing viewers and judges with her level of skill and artistry.
Having now returned home to Aberdare following the show, Jodie will be making her return to college to host a series of pottery workshops for staff and Level 3 Art and Design learners.
The workshops, which will run from Thursday 16th June until Friday 2nd July, will cover all of the basics involved in pottery, such as throwing clay on the wheel, coiling and slab building. Those taking part in the workshops can expect to gain hands on experience in creating their own customised jar using a variety of decorating techniques, from carving to sgraffito.
Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Coleg y Cymoedd’s Foundation Art and Design course, the workshops will further enhance the learning experiences of learners on the course.
Foundation art and design lecturer, and animation specialist at Coleg y Cymoedd, Vanessa Batten, who has organised the workshops, said: “We are looking to expand our ceramics provisions in the future, so having Jodie share her skills and build enthusiasm for pottery in south Wales is such a fantastic opportunity for us as a college.
“Jodie has been asked to teach all over the world but is doing these workshops as exclusive sessions as she wants to give back to the community and the college where she first started her creative journey. It’s a pleasure for us to welcome her back and offer our learners the experience of being taught firsthand by someone who is doing amazing things since getting their qualification at the college.”
Following months of remote teaching, the workshops have already been met with much praise from learners on the Foundation Art and Design course.
Foundation Art and Design learner, Katie Kirby Jones, is one of the first learners to have attended a workshop. She said: “I’ve never really had much experience with clay, so it was great to have my first proper experience be with someone who genuinely has a passion for working with the material. I have learnt so many new techniques in just one session and had a lot of fun as well.”