HELLO. I'm Emma
and I'm an artist, designer and maker based in Lewes, East Sussex.
I am inspired by folk art from around the world and the incredible craftsmanship displayed in objects that people used daily. I am especially intrigued by items people made, either collectively or alone, for celebrations and rituals throughout the year.
Toys are my other passion. From the dolls and animals of ancient Greece and Rome to the Galt toys from my childhood. I'm interested in how we represent ourselves and our world in toy form. The designer Alexander Girard once wrote “Toys represent a microcosm of man’s world and dreams. They exhibit fantasy, imagination, humour, and love.” I particularly enjoy making Indian street toys. They are ingenious and I like the way that you can make something delightful from everyday materials.
During lockdown I spent my time researching folk art, hoping to find fresh inspiration for my work and gain a greater understanding of other cultures. In uncertain times, I found the world of folk art was a very grounded place to be.
I began to wonder what a folk museum shop would be like. What would I like to buy there? This became the theme for an exhibition that I had in September 2020 at the Meiklejohn Gallery in Lewes called My Make Believe Museum Shop. I designed a collection of objects that were related to the research I had done and would be for sale in my fantasy museum shop. I posted my make believe 'souvenirs' on Instagram and uploaded videos and instructions for how to make them to the 'free fun' page on my website.
This seemed to chime with my followers on Instagram and as a result I created Make Believe Museum Shops for Pollock's Toy Museum in London and for Newhaven Museum. I have since worked with local museums in East Sussex, including Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, the De La Warr Pavilion and delivered making workshops at Ravensbourne and Brighton Universities to demonstrate the importance of making in the design process.
Since then I have become a designer for Metio Studio. We design flat pack DIY craft kits, inspired by the collection at the Museum of International Folk Art.
If you'd like to keep up to date with my current work, sign up to my occasional newsletter.