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Olds teacher still in TV pottery reality series

Renu Mathew has survived a third week on CBC’s The Great Pottery Throw Down

OLDS — École Olds High School art teacher Renu Mathew has survived a third week on CBC’s The Great Pottery Throw Down.

The reality series began Feb. 8 with 10 amateur potters and runs every Thursday night for eight weeks. Each week, the judges declare one contestant the winner of that segment and one contestant is eliminated.

Week 3 of the show was broadcast Feb. 22. Eight potters remained.

In the Feb. 22 episode, the contestants had to complete two challenges.

One, a test of the contestants’ carving abilities, was to exactly replicate a lidded urn.

That required contestants to carve out six flower petals in two rows around the body of the urn as well as on the top. The carved-out petals had to be sharply defined; narrow at the end and wider in the middle.

They also had to place tiny pieces of clay in the middle of those petals to serve as the pistils.

Mathew survived that challenge.

The contestants also had to create an abstract self-sculpture that spoke to them.

“Can’t wait to see how you all see yourselves,” said Seth Rogen, an amateur potter himself who is serving as a guest judge and an executive producer.

Mathew’s sculpture, entitled Lifelong Learning, was a kind of triangular piece in different shades of green and off-white that rose upward like a plant.

As she worked on it, Mathew said she loves teaching and the idea behind the piece was to demonstrate new growth.

“You’re never too old to learn new tricks,” she said.

Mathew’s abstract sculpture was the first of to be judged.

Brendan Tang, a Vancouver-based ceramics artist, and Natalie Waddell, a professional potter and educator based in Toronto, did the judging.

“It is a really striking, really stunning little composition of forms that you’ve created here,” Waddell said.

“Thank you,” Mathew replied.

“The nuance, the movement, with the shape and the colours as well as the enhancement of that texture’s really, really wonderful,” Waddell said.

“The glossy glaze on the inside and how it catches the light is just so clever and so smart,” Tang said.

“I also have a lot of interesting hobbies and I’m getting to the point where they’re fighting for my attention.

“And I do feel a little bit of that struggle, but I think you can sort of turn the drama up a little bit.”

“OK, thank you so much,” Mathew said.

“I used every last second today because f there’s time, I’m definitely going to use it,” Mathew said.

Doug Collie

About the Author: Doug Collie

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