Pottery and ceramics had been inside me for a very long time, during the many years I built a career in the creative live events and marketing sector. Finally, a few years ago, I took my first pottery class, and haven’t looked back.

Finding my creative vibe

I’ve always been creative and come from a family of creatives, so it was no surprise to me that I would love playing with clay so much.

I have a very free approach to working with clay; mostly I throw clay on the pottery wheel and other times I handbuild. From time to time, I’ll combine both techniques. For certain, I make what my hands and thoughts want to create at the time. This makes for interesting structures and designs, as well as textures and surface patterns. I keep learning and experimenting.

Over time I have developed my style. I like to make items that can be enjoyed and used, that are fit for their intended purpose but do not look like they are produced in a factory. I make one-off pieces and small batch or limited edition collections. My pieces will all have slight variations in weight, finish, and glaze. That’s how I like it.

Perfectly imperfect

I embrace the uniqueness of the pieces I make, and the hand-made nature of the designs. When I started you’d be forgiven for describing my work as a bit ‘wonky’. Now, I would describe my work as perfectly imperfect. This gives me great latitude to play, explore and discover.

Based in the south Leicestershire market town of Lutterworth, UK, I work from a small studio surrounded by my garden. When it’s cold and wet in winter I’m lucky to have access to a wonderful (and much bigger) studio in Northamptonshire run by my very good friends and pottery wizards, Bob & Joe Stafford.

I use mainly white and grey stoneware clay though from time to time I play with different ones to explore different results. Texture and depth interest me and create hours of experimenting. I have a thing for blues, but I also really connect with earthy colour combinations. I’ll then surprise myself and go down a more colourful and vibrant route, like my landscape collection. The journey is definitely a long one, filled with surprises and new directions. Who knows where it will take me? But it’s a journey that really excites me.

Handmade pottery serving bowl 2, landscape glazes, Emma Swales Ceramics
Handmade pottery trinket ring dish in peacock design, Emma Swales Ceramics

Come learn with me

If you’d like to play with clay and join a group of like-minded people who’d like to learn how to throw on the potter’s wheel, and learn handbuilding techniques, then pop over The Shires Workshops in Wilbarston. We provide classes throughout the week, and I teach there on Tuesday afternoons and evenings.

Full details on the website including pricing and how to book.

Buying pottery

The Shop is updated from time to time. You can also find me at makers’ markets and pottery events throughout the year. If you see something that is not available then drop me a message to see if I have any more, or are planning to make some more of the item(s) you like.

“I embrace the uniqueness of the pieces I make, and the hand-made nature of the designs. I love that rather than being ‘wonky’, my work is perfectly imperfect. This gives me great latitude to play, explore and discover..”

– Emma Swales

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