1. As an artist, what inspires you about the locality around Belper? Definitely the scenery and landscape, it is so beautiful, I love being on the edge of the Peak District. Also the people are friendly and there is a really good energy, people seem to want to make a difference. It is a creative place to live, with many events to get involved in.
2. Name three artists that inspire and/or influence you? So many but I think Tom Hare, Andy Goldsworthy and Helen Hallows.
3. Where are you from, and when did you start realising you wanted to be an artist? I am from East Sussex. I have always been creative and drawn, foraged and made stuff from an early age. I realised that I wanted to make a career in the Arts when I was at school. I liked the idea of working for myself and being in control of my destiny. So the next step was art college then Uni.
4. How and where do you regularly work? I work full time as a freelance as a community artist and I am also a tutor for the Eco Centre and Derbyshire County Council. I work where anyone needs me. So in schools, adult groups, social groups, for events, festivals, target groups such as mental health and family sessions. As a maker I also create objects for private commissions.
5. Where will you be exhibiting in the coming year? I haven’t exhibited on my own recently but I am working up to it. I am taking part in the Belper Arts Trail in 2016 and hope to do the Derbyshire Open Arts festival too. I have had many of my illustrations published in the past as I used to be an illustrator but I am now trying to build up my reputation as a maker using willow and natural materials. As a maker I am hoping to continue to practise my willow weaving and get more commissions in this area.
I shall be working as Junky Monkey Arts at the Belper Goes Green festival. As part of this I am organising a community project that involves the local schools, nurseries and businesses. I want to create recycled and upcycled flowers and window boxes to display around town and at the festival. I will be running workshops in the weeks leading up to the festival. These will be both creative and educational. I hope to bring awareness to the amount of rubbish we collect and looking at ways of reducing this and finding creative ways of using it. I am excited about this one and hope many local people will take part!
See more of Emma’s work here: willow leaftlet 2015weddings