BBC Sport Tokyo Olympics Commission
Having seen one of my Turmeric Coffee Cups in Country Living Magazine at the beginning to this year BBC Sports Lead Director Sally Richardson contacted me to commission a collection of carafes and water cups for the BBC television Tokyo 2020 set.
Sally wanted a special collection of Ceramics, unique items made with an organic design in a beautiful glaze – something ‘off the shelf’ would have been missing out on a great chance to showcase UK Craft.
The BBC set for the Tokyo Olympics was created using green screen technology, in fact the only real objects on set were the wooden flooring, the red tables, the chairs and the ceramics – even the plants were green screen! Sally informed me of the potential pitfalls of working with green screen: a highly reflective glaze could be problematic and a green glaze would make the pots disappear! So the search for a complimentary glaze that worked technically, was on.
The inspiration for the carafe and beaker design was based on a simple Noodle bowl form I made at Kigbeare Pottery some years ago, during a Japanese pottery workshop with a group of Potters from Japan. The cups were to be fairly tall and well balanced and the slightly out turned rim made them comfortable to hold and drink from. The Carafe had a very well placed thumb rest on the neck just above where the form tapers and this made it an easy grasp form. The embossed stamps are simple carved raised decorative sprigs which the glaze runs over and as it does it etches away from the raised edges of the motif. The decoration is sparing and provides a lovely contrast to the polished satin surface of the ash glaze.
I developed the ideas whilst sketching and then throwing initial shapes on the wheel which I sent photos across to Sally over email and the earlier sample Noodle bowls had their screen test before final approval. The proportions of the carafe and beakers worked very well together. After dipping the pieces in the glaze I brushed the rims with a thin cobalt oxide wash to add a highlight of colour.The gas reduction firing added the final flourish.
It was exciting to see them in use by presenters and guests during the Tokyo Olympics coverage by BBC Sport in July.