Meet the Woman Whose Full-Time Job Is Making Boob Pots

Amongst all its faults, sometimes Instagram throws up a real gem. I’m not sure how long I’d been Insta-stalking Emma Low, creator of Pot Yer Tits Away Luv — I was captivated by her handcrafted creations and trusty sidekick, Lady the cat. A few DMs later we spoke about all things boobs, business and beyond. 

Words by Jenny Brownlees

Emma’s work is a celebration of the female form in all its diverse glory; crafted by a woman, for women, inclusive of all. Pot Your Tits Away Luv, which began in 2017 is helping to change the narrative on nudity. Rather than it being seen as sexual, as it is so often perceived, this is about women owning their bodies and expressing themselves for their own liberation. If there were ever a perfect time to be a feminist maker, some would argue that time is now. In a post #MeToo world, women are standing together, demanding to be heard. I for one am feeling the shift, slowly but surely seeing brands both large and small embracing equality. While there’s still far to go, images of men’s and women’s bodies in the media are changing compared to that of say, five years ago and I will wholeheartedly support anyone who contributes to that positive change. 

It’s so refreshing to see the variety of Emma’s pots – designs include pregnancy and mastectomy pots, skin with vitiligo, stretch marks, nipple piercings and hair. There’s tattooed breasts, breast reduction scars, tits adorned with flowers, symmetrical and unsymmetrical breasts alike. There’s the saggy and the pert, the large, the small and everything in between. I think PYTAL’s popularity in part is due to a wide variety of women seeing themselves represented in Emma’s work, in a way they haven’t previously. Not only can they see a piece of art that looks like them, they can own it. 

All breasts are fucking normal!

Emma Low

It was actually Emma’s boyfriend who was the potter in the relationship, having previously completed a ceramics course – something Emma had always wanted to do. She tells me she has always been creative, but had never quite found her niche. She made her first pot, modelled on her own breasts, as a Christmas present for her boyfriend. After making the pot for him, Emma caught the clay bug so to speak. Alongside working in retail, she completed a 10-weeknight course in pottery. Admittedly, she tells me she doesn’t use too much of the technical aspects in her work — the glazing or use of a kiln (perhaps one day, she notes.) 

Technique wise, while boyfriend Archer suggested creating coil pots (which Emma describes as “the devil” in terms of crafting) Her creations are technically ‘slab pots’, made by wrapping one large slab of clay around an object. Emma is quick to say she has “No qualifications in potting or ceramics.“ But talent doesn’t need a certificate. “Sometimes people think I started this with a master plan,” Emma explains. In reality, her business couldn’t have grown more organically, which IMO only adds to its already alluring charm. She is the one-woman show, challenging our perceptions of ‘normal breasts‘(“All breasts are fucking normal” Emma comments) one tit pot at a time.

As a heterosexual woman, Emma tells me that like many young women, she hadn’t seen many boobs, except on TV or in magazines. And when she did, they were nearly always “smallish, white pert breasts with pink nipples”. Emma wanted to celebrate women’s bodies for the diverse and individual wonders she knew they were. When she began to get images sent to her for commissions (all participants are above the age of consent) even she was awed by the wondrous variation. I tell her my favourite images of hers are the photos where all the pots are lined up together – the sheer uniqueness of each one beautifully palpable. 

After the popularity of her Christmas gift pot, Emma began PYTAL’s Instagram account and crafted five pots to sell. “There were two black pots, one freckled, one olive skin and one white.” From the get-go, diversity in terms of skin tone, size and shape was naturally something Emma included. Four pots sold almost immediately, the one that didn’t sell she gifted to her Dad, which I think is genius. While Emma “Never thought the pots would become her full-time job” she began selling them (via Instagram, at first) and the rest, as they say, is history. 

After success with pre-made pots, many customers began messaging Emma to ask if she could recreate their breasts in custom pots, from the description and later images. We discuss Instagram’s nudity policy and the #freethenipple campaign. Emma thinks it’s nothing short of a miracle that she hasn’t ever faced Instagram’s wrath, with them deleting her images, as they have with other feminist feeds. Emma tells me “In Instagram’s terms and conditions, sculpture is classed as art, so they don’t sensor it. I don’t find my work provocative, but I see that some people might see the pots as sexual, though that is not how they’re intended.” 

Of the pots Emma says, “They’re as unique as the real deal – no two pots are ever the same”. Humour is at the heart of her work — even the name is a perfect example of the artist’s wonderful dry wit and comedic nature. Much to mine and her followers’ delight, Emma shares her musings, humour and daily snippets of her life on Instagram Stories.  As two self-employed women, we discuss ‘never thinking we’d Insta story.’ Of this Emma says “I don’t talk to people from 8-5 every day, apart from at the post office!” Emma has become she says, one of those people in a shop you can’t get rid of as they’re talking away, the recipient with “fear in their eyes”.

While Emma’s Instagram side hustle was flourishing, she made the jump to open shop – even though she tells me this felt a scary move to make as then it “becomes a thing, that’s my job. What if suddenly no one wanted them?” The pots are now sold using Tictail, as Etsy would not allow the word tit in the shop title. While friends suggested she used a different name, this was something that was important to Emma to keep. “I don’t want to dilute what I’m doing,” she says. 

When it comes to a job title (something we discuss is complicated as a creative, especially if you, in essence, create a job role for yourself.) In general, we British are self-deprecating and terrible at giving ourselves a title or praise. “It’s not what my pots are that makes me embarrassed; it’s that it’s me doing it.” When I call Emma, she has just returned from a trip to New York. She explains she saw a physic there (something her boyfriend thought was a waste of $20). After asking Emma’s name, the physic said she’d had a huge change in her job recently that she was really hard on herself and she needed to stop doing that. Emma thinks that was worth the $20 alone. But she also said Emma was going to live a long life, which she was disappointed with, always thinking she’d “be one of those people to die at 40.”

Emma has faced problems with others almost identically copying her work, something her 30 thousand plus strong Instagram followers have been keen to support her through. Even though it upset her, she now looks at it from a stance of, “All my pots are so individual, they cannot be copied. I think of each pot as belonging to the person whose boobs they are – they belong to them, I just made it.”

Emma recently shared a post of all her favourite fellow boob / human form crafters. “I love tit pots obviously — I make them! They’re fun things to make, these people do amazing work, and I love what they do.” In fact, Emma’s met so many amazing makers doing similar things, but in their own way. We discuss the mentality that ‘there can only be one’, particularly as a woman in business. But our question is, “Why?” That post blew up, with over 9,000 likes. Emma’s self-confessed “Weirdo brain” hoped people didn’t think she did it for the gratification of those red hearts, and realise she genuinely loves others work. 

Crafting the pots from clay can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, to perfect the shape and form. “Of course sometimes I fuck up and has to start again which doubles the time” Emma explains. Pots then need to dry and be painted depending on skin tones. Layers of paint are built up, then the details (piercings, tattoos, freckles and markings for a custom pot, hence the time taken). Plus there’s drying time in between.  When she’s making, Emma often has to concentrate and just do the pots- which is, she says therapeutic. Often she watches Friends reruns via Netflix, listens to podcasts, music and the radio – which often helps her work faster. If she has to look at photos, she often split screens. Big boobs, Emma tells me to take less time, while small boobs were an art to master. Commissions for male pots, usually come from wives or boyfriends wanting them for their partner, rather than the person themselves contacting Emma. While made much less frequently than her boob pots Emma “much prefers making the men ones….I just think they’re funny.”

Though working from home in, Emma has a room upstairs to work in, which means she can “Shut the door if I want time away.”  Originally from Scotland, Emma is now based in Leeds, as she thinks it’s important to stay central. “You can get to Scotland, get to London, plus it’s a very creative city, I’ve met so many artists and freelancers here, there’s a great community and loads is going on.”

In my eyes, Lady the cat is a focal part of Emma’s brand – the mascot if you will. Emma describes Lady as “more of a guinea pig than a cat, sitting like a little loaf” She loves to snuggle Emma whilst she’s working, (often a distraction) but doesn’t have much interest in the clay itself.

Whilst talking about Emma’s life as the sole employee of her own business, I note that as her following grows (rapidly, I might add) Emma is tasked making, packaging, posting and answering all enquires. Emma’s custom pots have become so popular, selling out on site in mere minutes. These can take hours to make, working from photos and with “more pressure involved to get them exactly right.” Emma remarks. She explains the heart of her work is inclusivity, and in general custom pots aren’t very inclusive, the majority are white, symmetrical, pert and with a pink nipple. While she loves all boobs, her heart is in the vast variety and diversity. She is now working mainly on pre-made pots, with custom options perhaps being made available on her shop periodically.

Not all women have tits and fannies.

Emma Low

Where there’s the positive side of Instagram, the side where I discover artists like Emma – there’s always the haters, the rogue commenters, the trolls. Emma has had “people message asking, how can you be inclusive if you don’t do this type of pot? And I’ve had to say, but I have…it’s here. Did you look past the first six squares before messaging me? One woman said a black pot with pink nipple doesn’t exist. I thought – have you seen every nipple in the world?” On International Women’s Day Emma posted an image of a pot and said “not all women have tits and fannies” and some were quick to comment, ‘Yes they do.’ Emma tells me, “We had a bit of a back and forth, then the commenter deleted all her comments and said, “Who’s being nasty now?” 
Emma is also disheartened by some young girls commenting, tagging their friends to say being ‘LOL look at these boobs, they look weird!’ Of this, she says “I think, oh no! This is exactly why I do what I do – you are only seeing the media’s very limited offering of women’s breasts and are so uneducated on the wonderful variety of women’s bodies. But overall the positive comments hugely outweigh the bad.” 

Emma is a huge fan of The Slum Flower aka Chidera Eggerue and her hashtag #saggyboobsmatter. Again, a woman took offence to this on a post Emma’s used the hashtag on, stating “They’re not saggy boobs, they’re just normal boobs” Emma remarks, “All boobs are fucking normal!”  

I ponder to Emma if she is now ‘The Boob Woman’ and certain people online see her as having to answer for and to everything to do with boobs, “I am the Boob Woman…” she replies. “I didn’t start thinking I’m going to be the boob woman, but now I am. I’m doing my best! But obviously don’t speak for all women.” 

Emma’s pots are sold in selected concept and independent stores; we discuss the future of her business and potential new ventures. There’s a line to walk between keeping the pots as unique and personal as they are, and keeping up with the demand. The money aspect isn’t what brings Emma the joy, she tells me. If she pushes herself to make as many pots as physically possible (remember she only has one pair of hands, people) yes, she could be making more money but that’s “not the joy of it, that’s something else” the satisfaction and pleasure comes from “Creating, being inclusive, making people feel good about themselves.”

With Emma’s boyfriend being so creative (he studied photography at Uni and takes the photographs of the pots.) He is also a talented painter, (they collaborated on an abstract painted pot together) and more work may be on the cards. Emma says she does no experimental work at the moment, which she wants to try more of. “Have more fun, do more collabs, don’t take it so seriously”, that’s her plan.

PYTAL recently created a beautiful jewellery line, featuring boob beads on illustrated laser cut wood, in collaboration with artist and body positivity advocate Lou Clarke. When it came to artists collaborating, “releasing music or anything” Emma used to wonder “How the fuck do people do that? How does that come about? But you just have to do it. Having the confidence to contact the people you want to work with and ask.”

Emma says then you get the bonus of building friendships, as her and Lou have.

When discussing taking on staff, Emma says she has no status in her making, she worries people will look at her and think “she has lots of Instagram followers she must know what she’s doing. But I don’t! They might think ‘She’s just this mad woman that sits in a room all day trying to make it work’ isn’t that what everyone is at the end of the day? I ask. We agree that yes, it is.

You can follow Emma on Instagram here, and shop Put Yer Tits Away Luv here.

Ahead of Ireland’s Abortion Referendum, We Meet the Repeal Voters
Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
To keep up to date with our events, parties and print magazine, subscribe to our mailing list
ErrorHere
%d bloggers like this: