Emily’s work is influenced by a desire to immerse herself in landscape, letting the invisible become visible, elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary. Her map-works take landscape as subject, but not content. She practices in alliance with the natural world in order to fully embrace her subject of ‘earth’ and to generate conceptual suggestions beyond the surface of the works, which are indeterminate of their geographic location but nonetheless an insistent sort of fact.
Emily places a big emphasis on field-work. She cycles or walks out to selected sites and preoccupies herself with the surrounding landscape; writing, drawing, taking photographs, making frottage traces of the topographical surfaces and collecting materials such as gorse flowers, seed heads or seaweed for making natural pigments with. She works primarily on linen, hand-stitching panels of fabric together before stretching over canvas supports upon completion. Using linen as her working material allows the works-in- progress to be folded and transported like the ease of a map in a pocket.
Taking her findings back to the studio, she makes natural pigments, organises her gathered materials and pieces together a considered curation of a place and a journey in each piece. Panels of linen are hand-stitched together, raised stitched seams running through the linen landscapes. Grids are a nod to graticule references, networks of lines representing meridians on which maps can be drawn and alluding to an ever-present line of orientation in landscape: the horizon line. The frottage is a direct impression, abstracting landscape in its imagery, recording time in place.
The naturally dyed fabrics allude to the temporality of a place – different organic materials are abundant at different times of year and so it is interesting to note how her work changes with the seasons. Her first trip to Swanpool Headland in November 2016 rewarded her dye pot with fern leaves and seed heads – producing shades of orange and burnt umber. Her second trip, during Spring, left her collecting gorse and cow parsley – imbuing the fabric with vibrant shades of yellow.