Photo by Shawna Law
How did Studio Emma come about? What inspired you to work in concrete?
After graduating from Art School I moved back to my hometown, Alloa in Central Scotland, I got a job in retail whilst I searched for graduate opportunities. It soon felt as if there were no opportunities out there for me - it was such a struggle.
I would spend all my time in between work and job hunting, painting, weaving, creating in any way I could with what I had. It was a very restrictive time but also a raw period of creativity and exploration.
I came across a bag of concrete in the garden shed and started to play - I spent months trying difference recipes, shapes and ways to add colour. Eventually I made some successful pots with pastel colours, I posted them on Instagram and to my delight people were interested in buying them.
I soon set up an Etsy shop and found enough confidence to move to Edinburgh, with a new flat, job and my very own studio space. Four years and a lot of development later, I work in the studio full time, every day creating products for stockists, customers and working on commissions.
Can you tell us a little about the making process? What’s your favourite part?
The products are all hand mixed, coloured and cast in my studio, they are then left to cure overnight, taken out of their moulds and then sealed. The whole process takes 4 days.
Taking the products out of the moulds is very rewarding, there’s something I really love about the unpredictable patterns and textures which naturally happen on the surface of the concrete and just celebrating the imperfections too. I also absolutely love styling and photography, I like to forage for flowers on my walk to the studio and buy interesting fruit and vegetables and spend time creating still life’s for photographs.
We love the sculptural award you created for Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, what's been the commission or project you've most like working on?
I think the SAY Award would have to be my favourite commission to date. I also created the New Music Scotland Award before that. Before these commissions my work was very much focused on the colour and surface patterns, I would use geometric or simple shapes to compliment that. These commissioned allowed me to really concentrate on form and being sculptural. I learn a lot about working in plaster (that is how I created the master copy which I cast in silicone to create my mould for concrete). I hope to take these new skills and interest in focusing on form and create a new sculptural collection.
Would you say you have a good work/life balance?
My life is entwined with Studio Emma, I feel it’s more of a lifestyle than just a job. I do try to have a bit of a routine, working the weekdays and having the weekends off but I am always looking for inspiration and thinking about it. I absolutely love running Studio Emma and getting to be creative so I don’t see it as a negative.
What’s the most cherished object in your home?
It’s not really an object but it would have to me my avocado plant that I grew from the stone. It’s four years old now and turning into a little tree. It’s actually pretty ugly but I just love it!
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