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by Tori Sharp

London-based artist Alma Berrow found her niche in Lockdown 1.0 and hasn’t looked back.

You have probably seen Alma Berrow’s art plastering your Instagram feed, with her kitsch ceramic ashtrays and oyster shells adorned with shining gold teeth and the occasional condom. Alma started playing around with ceramics a year ago, having grown up with a mother who is a very talented potter but never grasping the art herself, she now has a strong Instagram following and a long waiting list of commissions. We got to chat all things ceramics with Alma and got a hint about an upcoming collaboration.

The idea for her ashtray came earlier last year, when she created some Butt-ons for a suit (more on this later) and then decided to make some ashtrays for friends. The perfectly quirky ashtrays sprung to Instagram renown “I think I made three ashtrays and three friends bought them so made some more and so its kept rolling. Ha excuse the pun.” What excites the Internet most about these pieces are the eclectic styles and trinkets found within all of Alma’s work. “The joy with ashtrays is no object really seems that strange to find in there I feel, they’re like table-top bins that collect and collage together a moment.”

Alma has managed to use her art to push and stretch the conversation around some taboo topics.  A ceramic condom was readily accepted and enjoyed but a ceramic tampon not so much. “It’s a subject matter I’m still working out how I feel about and although I was so nervous to put it up, I am so happy I did. I loved hearing everyone’s thoughts and feeling towards the tampon piece. The polls of ‘yes’ or ‘Too much’ came back amazingly 50/50 and not swayed by the male vote either. I did receive a few direct messages that just said, ‘No No No No!’ I wouldn’t say it was negative towards me though, everyone gave such incredible points of view be it on the pain and shame it symbolised or the empowerment.”

Her next project is a collaboration with Bonne Suits which has allowed her to delve deep and “create something totally weird and wonderful from my brain.” And after this, the Japanese art of Kintsugi is next on her to accomplish list. “I would love someone to send me to Japan for a few months to learn and explore, I am completely in love with their culture and craftsmanship – Kintsugi is top on the list to try with a teacher (My solo attempts have been questionable!) I have never been to Japan but as soon as travel opens again, I would love to go visit and find an artist residency.”

Check out all of Alma’s project on her website here and her Instagram here to join the queue for some creative commissions. 

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