In the studio with... Emma Alington
Emma Alington
Emma Alington founded her eponymous ceramic brand in 2013 after graduating from BA Hons Ceramic Design at Central St Martins. As a designer, Emma creates collections of handcrafted homeware and tableware.

Where is your studio?

In Maidenhead, Berkshire.

Describe your typical day

I typically start the day in my ‘clean’ space, i.e. my small home office. (A place where the clay dust never reaches!). There’s a constant flow between working on emails, leads, new projects, admin, orders, and also the creative side of things in the studio.

Luckily my studio is in the garden so it’s pretty easy to hop from one to the other. I usually spend the mornings following up with new and existing clients and working on ideas, and the afternoons are a mixture of packing up orders, throwing, glazing, and decorating.

It’s surprisingly hard to schedule time to sample new products…the endless to-do list all too easily get’s in the way!

Emma Alington' studio

What are the key stages of your design and making process?

Things usually start life on the potter’s wheel. It’s an integral process to everything I create. There’s something very humbling about starting with a lump of clay, and working it into a new shape using such an ancient process. Once I have a shape I’m happy with, I make plaster moulds of it, which enables me to replicate the shape numerous times using liquid clay (a process called slip casting).

What is the best thing about your job?

Being my own boss! And also the creative freedom – I feel very fortunate that everything I create, I get to put my own name on it. Anyone who runs their own business will know there are many highs and lows, but I think a huge part of starting a creative business is about persistence and perseverance.

Emma Alington ceramic bowl and cups

Do you listen to music in your studio? What three songs are on your playlist?

I listen to a huge range of stuff – podcasts, lots of TED talks, audio books, music…

I’m never in the studio in silence. But if I had to choose 3 songs, it would have to be: Dew on the Vine by Bears Den, Smoke by Brian Fallon, Blue Moon by Beck.

What’s on your desk right now? 

Right now I’m at my desk, so everything is relatively clean (!) There’s a terrarium (which I’m constantly struggling to keep alive). There’s one of my favourite photo props which is a hammered copper tankard I found in my local antiques shop for an absolute bargain. Luckily I’m never short of pen pots thanks to my samples and seconds!

Emma Alington jar and ceramic bowls.

Who do you look up to as entrepreneur?

I think Tom Raffield is definitely someone to look up to who is creating a brilliant business with craft at the heart of it. He specialises in steam bending wood for furniture and architectural structures.

What three apps or companies should every entrepreneur know about? 

OK so apps: Blinkist (think ‘audio books’ but each book is boiled down to 30 minute podcasts), Instagram (bit of an obvious one, but vital for my day-to-day business).

Why were you interested in having your products sold at not just a shop?

Having graduated from UAL, it feels pretty special to now have my products stocked in the place I was taught! I also love seeing who else has pieces sold there, that once graduated from UAL – it’s different to any other shop in London.