Occasionally, Keith Brymer Jones, a judge on ‘The Great Pottery Throwdown’ will shed a tear over someone’s work. Making Keith cry is to aspiring potters what a Hollywood handshake is to aspiring bakers.
But what is it exactly that makes Keith cry, or Paul Hollywood put out his hand?
It isn’t the idea they put into their make, both judges only ever react to a completed product.
It isn’t the effort that goes into the making either. All the contestants work hard.
It isn’t the style of the finished work, very different styles of work can provoke the same reaction.
I think it’s that the person in front of them truly understands their materials; has mastered the skills needed to make those materials express their idea perfectly, and has put their whole self into the process of making, without making the whole thing mere self-expression.
The product they make stands alone, ready for a customer to claim it.
I think what makes Keith Brymer Jones cry is recognition of a Promise truly kept. That touches the heart.