‘Shaded’ is an ongoing interview series created by 23-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people who wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.
Emma Low is a Leeds-based ceramic artist who creates pots that represent the human-form in all of its wonderful shapes, sizes and colours. At first gifts for those closest to her, Emma’s pots were soon in-demand, and the Glasgow-native found herself starting up her pottery business ‘Pot Yer Tits Away Luv’. Here, Emma speaks about her “inclusive brand”, tattoo tributes to her cat Trouble and how her work aims to celebrate differences and liberate women. “Tits don’t mean sex.”
Tell us about ‘Pot Yer Tits Away Luv’? Pot Yer Tits Away Luv is a pottery business that I started in February 2017. My main inspiration is a realistic representation of the female form, but I also do some work with the male form as well. It all started with a Christmas present that I made for my boyfriend. I wanted to give him something that was personal so I made him a pot with my tits on it. It was okay for a first attempt, but it looked nothing like mine – regardless of that fact, he loved it. People saw it and wanted me to create pots that represented them, and then from there it’s just snowballed. I never expected that it would eventually become my full-time job. I now spend five days a week crafting pots with tits on them, which is pretty mad.
What first attracted you to working with clay? My boyfriend had done a short course and really enjoyed it, so I thought I’d try it out! It was really difficult to figure out in the beginning, but like everything else, practise makes perfect. I then enrolled in a night class and learned more about the craft. I never made any tit-related items, though. It was all really basic, and most of it wasn’t actually that great.
As well as creating works that celebrate the human body, you also share the work of painters, illustrators and photographers that aim to do the same thing. Can you speak about your on-going relationship with the subject? I’ve always been fascinated by form. It’s amazing how we all have bodies that essentially do the same thing, yet they vary drastically in relation to what they look like. I grew up in a very body positive environment. To me, naked bodies were never deemed as sexual. I like to try and express that in my work – especially when it comes to the female form. Tits don’t mean sex. I think a lot of people misunderstand what my work is about. It’s supposed to be liberating, not about sexualising women. I always love to share other artist’s work because I think it’s important to express gratitude towards the people who inspire you. Social media can be such a useful tool when it comes to finding out about new artists or being exposed to new ideas. There are so many amazing artists who share similar views to me when it comes to feminism, and I like to promote those ideas.
What’s your relationship with tattooing? I started getting tattooed quite late in comparison to most of my friends. I think I was 24. My first tattoo was done by my friend’s boyfriend when I went to visit them on holiday in Berlin. It’s a black heart with ‘Trouble’ running through it. Trouble was my cat, he passed away last summer but I’d had him for around eight years. The last tattoo I got was by Olivia Chloe Lewis, and it’s a vase! I think regardless of whether your tattoos have a specific meaning you can tell a lot about a person from their tattoos and that’s what’s always drawn me to them. I’ve only ever had my thighs tattooed, I wouldn’t want to move on to anywhere else on my body until my legs are completely covered.
Photo taken by @fiayqb_
Your pots represent the human body in so many different ways – large and small, and sometimes tattooed. What is it you feel you are addressing with your all-embracing work, and how do you feel tattooing is part of that conversation? I just want to have an inclusive brand where everyone feels like they are represented. People who have tattoos usually want me to incorporate them into custom pieces, and I really like drawing them on because it can sometimes be challenging! Just like anything else; scars, piercings, moles, third nipples, freckles. Regardless of whether it was a choice, like a tattoo, or a mole you were born with, it all makes you the individual person that you are and that’s what my work is all about: celebrating differences.
Who influences you? My boyfriend, Archer. He’s very creative, and I wouldn’t be doing what I do now without him. My best friend, Tammy, has built her own nail empire (NAF! Salon). She has shown me that it’s not at all about getting lucky, it’s about hard work, dedication and endless passion. When it comes to artists I absolutely love, the work of Sally Hewett. She is unapologetically honest. Her work is so well thought out and the end product is always so beautiful even if to society the subject might be seen as “ugly”. I have a massive girl-crush on Jen Gotch, founder of Ban.do. Her personal Instagram is so refreshing. She talks openly about her struggles with mental health, is a huge babe, dresses like a crazy old lady, and pulls it off, and somehow also manages to run a very successful business.
What’s next for you? I have a few collaborations in the pipeline! The only one I can really talk about at the moment is a jewellery collaboration with Lou Clarke. We’re doing earrings! It’s such an exciting time for me. I feel like there are endless possibilities when it comes to doing fun things, but at the moment I haven’t really got a clear path. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing and see where it takes me. I’m not really one for planning – plans stress me out! So yeah, to be honest I have no idea, but for now I’m happy just living in the moment.