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Episode 46. Exploring nature through creativity with Emma Stothard

Sculpture, and especially willow sculpture, has always fascinated me, so when I came across Emma Stothard's website, I knew I had to get in touch. Emma is a Yorkshire-based willow and wire sculptor. Inspired by the creatures of the North York Moors, where she lives, she creates sculptures of wild/domestic animals and birds. After receiving a BA Honours in Fine Art from Southampton Solent University, she briefly moved to the Somerset Levels to learn the process of growing, coppicing, bundling, and weaving willow.

In 2001, thanks to a loan from The Prince's Trust, Emma started her sculpting business. Her sculptures are exhibited nationally and internationally, with some gracing the gardens of stately homes, galleries, and private homes around the country, including a large-scale portrait of King Charles III's beloved Jack Russell dog ‘Tigga', made from willow grown on the Highgrove Estate and sited there.

Emma shares her take on creativity as a continual flow of movement of the materials and of ideas, the relationship between her work and the outdoor space, from which she draws her inspiration, and how she's always pushing herself to explore her own creativity and learn something new, using different scales (from mice to dragons, elephants, and small castles), different mediums (willow, silver, bronze and copper wire, clay, ceramics), and exploring new fields (such as, jewellery, homeware, and garden furniture), with the view to creating functional pieces with a sculptural aspect.

She describes the process of going from a 2-D drawing to a 3-D sculpture and of welding a metal armature as a basis to weave the willow around, giving her the freedom to create the shapes she wants. She also explains why she chose willow primarily and what makes it such an evocative and enjoyable medium.

From celebrating Whitby's fishing heritage to sculpting hares and six-foot tall scarecrows, there's a palpable sense of excitement in every project Emma takes on, sometimes even adding personal touches to her sculptures and, in the process, attaching a story to them. I had a wonderful time talking to Emma and learning about her creative process, so I hope you enjoy our conversation.

On Instagram: @emmastothard

On Twitter: @emmastothardart


A maths teacher can be creative. So can a financial adviser, a community builder, and a yoga teacher. Not to mention a speed painter, a potter, or an actor!

Creativity is everywhere and I love nothing more than to explore it in The Creativity for All Podcast, either by focusing on a theme – such as perfectionism, feeding your creative brain, or the pressure to be creative – in my solo episodes, or through my conversations with all manner of creative people.

I want to challenge the perception of creativity and, in the process, debunk many myths attached to it: it's painful, for artists and the chosen few, etc.

My guests and I are keen to zoom in and dissect the origin of an idea, the impulse that makes us engage with our own creativity, with the hope that it will inspire listeners to get creative too.

My podcast is designed for anyone who’s already being creative, or is tempted to use their creativity, in particular those of you who think they are not creative or can never be. I would love to change your mind!

The Creativity for All Podcast is sponsored by Blue as an Orange, where we believe in creativity through communication, and offer mentoring and coaching for aspiring writers and tailored language tuition for individuals and companies.

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