Ideal Home Show 2024 Glasgow: Guest speaker, Keith Brymer Jones, on life in pottery

The interiors show is coming to the SEC from May 24-27

This year’s Ideal Home Show will feature a few starry special guests and experts.

Along with co-host of Escape to the Country, Denise Nurse, and Interior Design Masters 2022 winner, Banjo Beale, they include master ceramicist Keith Brymer Jones – the judge of popular Channel 4 series The Great Pottery Throwdown. On May 24, from 12 until 12.45pm, he’ll be appearing in the SEC’s Super Theatre, where he’ll be discussing his love of making, as well as his book, Boy in a China Shop: Life, Clay and Everything. Afterwards, he may even open the floor to questions from wannabe potters.

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As broadcaster Sara Cox described him as a “great raconteur”, we think this will be one of the most enjoyable parts of the show.

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Keith Brymer Jones on August 18, 2023 in Southport, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Keith Brymer Jones on August 18, 2023 in Southport, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Keith Brymer Jones on August 18, 2023 in Southport, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

In advance of the event, we asked this designer and celebrity a few questions about his impending appearance.

What will you be discussing at the Ideal Home Show?

Basically, the algorithm of life and how one finds oneself in situations that can offer up possibilities or opportunities. I’ll also be talking about my forthcoming tour Life, Clay, and Everything, which will involve going on to play the Perth Concert Hall on Monday June 17 and The Music Hall in Aberdeen on Tuesday June 18.

Have you done this sort of thing in Scotland before and are a Scottish audience particularly receptive?

Keith Brymer JonesKeith Brymer Jones
Keith Brymer Jones

Yes, we’ve already played Edinburgh and Glasgow and it was great. You can sometimes tell, the moment you walk onto the stage, whether the audience are with you. It’s a strange thing, but the larger audiences seem always to be more responsive.

Do you have any Scottish links?

Yes, my partner’s family are from the Isle of Bute, and my sister now lives in Oban after moving from Glasgow where she lived for over 20 years.

Is pottery particularly fashionable in homes right now - do they prefer minimal or maximal pieces?

I would definitely say that ‘pottery is the new black’. It’s incredible how popular it has become. I think there are numerous reasons, but one in particular is that you can’t rush it. It’s almost like forced relaxation in a world that is constantly speeding up. I think people love it as an antidote to that.

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Has your creative style changed over the years? Any pieces you're particularly proud or embarrassed about?

Yes, my style has changed over the years. I think it’s to be expected if you are to grow as a maker. There are a few larger orders that have particularly made me feel proud. As a production thrower, throwing thousands of pieces is regarded as one job. There are ranges I have made for various large retailers back in the day, that I am particularly proud of, if not simply for the fact that I actually manged to finish them. Some order numbers were between 6 to 9000 pieces, all made by hand. My hands!

Do you still love clay as much as ever?

Yes! It’s been a companion of mine all through my professional career. This is one of the reasons why I’m taking a potter’s wheel with me on my forthcoming tour.

What kind of personality do you have to have to be a good potter/designer?

You have to have tenacity, enjoy hard work, and have a vision for the finished piece you are trying to achieve.

Is it always a solo activity?

It can be. For years I have worked alone and quite like it, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the things that fascinates me are ceramic factories, with lots of people playing their specific part in achieving an end goal. They’re like little (or big) communities.

Did loads of people take it up during lockdown?

Yes!! I put it down to that bloody programme on the telly, where that bloke cries all the time.

Are there any Scottish designers you are inspired by, or you particularly like?

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Yes, Timorous Beasties. I think their design aesthetic is wonderful. They know how to take wallpaper and push the boundaries.

Tell us about some of your unusual jobs that could have led you down a different path. Weren't you in a band?

Yes, I was in a band for a time, and I used to dance. Both could have taken me in different ways. If I’d continued with one of them, I’d mostly likely be dead by now, and, if I’d gone for the other, my career would have been over. At least with pottery you can virtually do it until the day that you drop.

Is there a new series of Pottery Throwdown in the works?

Yes, very much so, we’re looking at applications now for the new series. We will start filming in late August, for the Christmas special, obviously, in the height of summer. Telly, eh!

Ideal Home Show Scotland takes place from Friday 24 to Monday 27 May, 10am to 5pm, at SEC, Exhibition Way, Glasgow. This year will mark the debut of the Dream Home, which showcased the most innovative property features. Tickets also include free entry to the Eat & Drink Festival, with chefs include Phil Vickery on stage, The Great Eat and an Artisan Producer’s Market. Advance tickets are £13 for adults, concessions (over 60) are £12 and children under 15 are free, for more information, see

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