Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Artist Feature: The Wonderful work of Emma West

I came across Emma's work on Facebook and absolutely love how she captures and expresses the delicacy of flora and bird life in her ceramic pieces. Emma works with porcelain, making impressions of plants and also uses hand stitched embroidery to print into the clay. All this is created in her studio which is surrounded by the beautiful Cornish countryside..

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

I started in 2000, I can't believe it's 15 years ago and I never really intended to make it a full time job. All I've done is go with the flow.

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

I work entirely with impressions in clay, following the seasons with fresh plants, observing their structures and letting what works well guide me toward development. I also use hand stitched embroidery to print into the clay. This technique is more experimental and relatively new to me but I'm pleased with how it's going. It's also a lovely contrast to the flowers, and something I can work on in the winter months or when the weather isn't on my side for the plant impressions.

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design?

I suppose the shadow of self doubt that always seems to be somewhere around.

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

Having to make a living is quite a motivation, but knowing also how far I've come and how long I've survived helps, and definitely the sense of wonder about what I might make in the future. I want to see what I make in a years time, 5, 10, when I'm very old.... The beauty of the natural world, human creativity, craftsmanship, materials, they all inspire me.

5. Who do you admire and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

I admire so many people it's impossible to answer! I always like botanical art though, and old herbals, early Korean ceramics, photography, woodcuts, etchings. Monochrome usually. I like anything that moves me really. Antony Gormley's sculptures, Tracey Emin's drawings.

6. Describe your creative space

Far nicer than I deserve. I had a new studio purpose built a couple of years ago at the bottom of my lovely garden, amazing views and lots of space. I've had problems with the work as a result though, it's too dry an environment, so nice for me but not for the porcelain. Be careful what you wish for!

7. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

'Just Keep Going', I'm not sure it's advice but it's something I tell myself often.

You can keep up to date with Emma's work here...

(all above images are © Emma West)