Looking for a fun theme-night event this holiday season?
I’ve got something that will create lots of laughs and is sure to get your family and friends playing with clay! Introducing Pottery Game Night!
This past year, I have been a Community Spirit co-leader at the Mississauga Potters’ Guild with the aim of building community through monthly events we call Third Thursdays. Throughout the year, we offer themed making-sessions to stretch our skills and imagination. Members can either join in on the fun or make whatever they want, knowing there’s a delegation of members to hang out with.
In November, we ran a mashup pottery game night of The Great Pottery Throw Down and Taskmaster, two awesome UK reality TV gameshows. Each show has a set number of contestants and judges or assistants.
Photo Credit: https://hdclump.com/category/the-great-pottery-throw-down-2023/
Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taskmaster_%28TV_series%29
Taskmaster has five comedians per series. So far, there are 16 Series as well as 5 Specials. The show is hosted by Greg Davies and Alex Horne, who each have a role to play. Davies is the official Taskmaster, who judges the success of tasks with humour and charm, while Little Alex Horne creates each task and is present throughout the filming of each event. Contestants open a TM-marked wax sealed envelop and read out the task to the audience including the timeframe to complete the task which always ends with "Your time starts Now!". Many of the tasks are ridiculous, while others require cunning and creative thinking. Some players intentionally set up Alex and others try to butter up Greg. Each episode has single and group tasks and always has a winner. Tie breakers are resolved with yet another task. The series winner receives bragging rights and a glorious golden head of Davies. It is available to watch for free on YouTube.
Photo Credit: https://www.youtube.com/@Taskmaster
The Great Pottery Thrown Down selects amateur potters through an application process. In each episode, contestants are challenged to create a ceramic based object with a specific ceramic technique, process, and/or theme. Each episode has a technical challenge, where contestants compete for immunity. The episodes are fraught with drama as contestants battle against each other and the tight making, drying, and firing schedules. The judges rank the top 3 and 3 worst, finally narrowing down to the least successful entry and subsequent elimination.
One task that stuck out for me was the blindfolded throwing challenge and it started the ideas flowing for our Pottery Game Night. In case you didn’t know, Canada is soon to have its own Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down, set to premier on CBC in February 2024. You might recognize the host, guest judge and executive producer and the two Canadian ceramic artist judges. All I know is that we are all going to be cozy as we watch this show this winter.
Photo Credit: https://www.cbc.ca/mediacentre/program/the-great-canadian-pottery-throw-down
How we played:
If you are familiar with Taskmaster, I took the role of Alex Horne and created tasks alternating from wheel throwing to hand building. I created six individual tasks and four team tasks for the event each sealed with a sticker in place of a wax seal (not shown in first image below but added and hidden within the coloured envelopes). Two spectators became the Taskmasters (i.e., judges) and filled in the score card as we went along. We had seven participants in total, each on their own wheel. I was fully prepared to create teams if we had a bigger crowd. We only got through the first six individual tasks, so I see a sequel coming in the future!!!
Photo Credit: Tracy Tang
Photo Credit: Tracy Tang
How I created the tasks:
In each task, I set at least one limitation (wheel or hand building, weight of clay, the object to be created, time limit), variations in the theme and other choices, sometimes a disqualification if a specific thing occurs (like same height as someone else) and finally, the criteria for the Taskmaster to judge the results. Sometimes the maker had to persuade the Taskmaster that their entry was the best solution. This created some great improvised stories! The tasks are more fun when they’re a little silly or require the Taskmaster to figure out something based on what they think the maker might have done. The humour comes when the Taskmaster shares their thinking.
Each task followed the SMART goals acronym format!
- Specific weight of clay and either wheel throwing or hand building
- Measurable results like height, length, wide or attempt at an adjective or noun in the design
- Achievable in either wheel or hand building and not so hard an attempt can’t be made
- Relevant, well that’s the fun part given the short time frame the results are likely not useable and everything that is made, can be reclaimed.
- Time-Bound with a time limit or race against time
If you would like to run your own event and want to make your planning a bit easier, feel free to sign up for my newsletter to get your own copy of Pottery Game Night (PGN Jacquie’s Version) as a downloadable PDF.
Whether you use mine or create your own, be sure to play them with your friends and take lots of photos and share on social.
Don’t forget to tag #potterygamenight #pgnjacquiesversion #jacquieblondinceramics
Click the links to learn more about any of the above:
Credit for imagery created using Canva and photos not already credited are by me, Jacquie Blondin