Emily Stapleton-Jefferis (b.1992) is an artist living and working in London. She works between drawing and making, with a particular focus on the use of clay. Craft skills remain integral to Emily’s practice as she pushes her material knowledge to pursue an excellence of making. She believes in the importance of hand-crafting, with such an act responding to our innate creative nature, often forgotten as our daily lives become increasingly digital. Her sculptural work primarily involves clay which she is drawn to as a result of its plasticity, tactility and intimacy within our daily lives. The very fact that it lies beneath our feet, the transformative qualities of the material and the rich history of ceramics are also a constant source of inspiration.
Emily’s current work draws upon the materiality of clay to explore states of flux and growth.
“These sculptures come together to form a strange landscape, a bizarre dreamscape in which the work feels simultaneously familiar and alien. I am interested in exploring this tension and creating work which both confuses and comforts. Which seems caught in the act of becoming, and remains uncertain. Forms refer to both the anatomical and to the botanical, to the micro and the macro, to both our own landscapes and science-fictional worlds. Echoes of my touch remain embedded in the work, with my entire body involved in the shaping, and forming and moulding. My hands acting to channel my unconscious into physical form.”
Emily has recently graduated with an MA in Ceramics and Glass from The Royal College of Art. She has exhibited her work alongside fellow artists in a range of venues throughout London, including at the artist-led space The Icing Room and at The Royal College of Art Degree show. She has previously undertaken an artist residency at The Kunstlerhaus, Neumunster, Germany, and has worked with potters in Ethiopia and Myanmar.
Alongside her practice Emily works as an Education Artist at Camden Arts Centre delivering ceramic courses in response to the current exhibitions showing in the gallery.
Touchscape Sculptures, 2018.
A visual exploration into the phenomena of sleep, 2017
Time At Hogchester Arts
Residency period - January 2019
This residency provided a fascinating starting point for a new body of work
which I am currently working on and developing back in my London studio.
Spending two weeks in relative isolation meant I could refocus on my art
practice without any distractions, and this meant I had the headspace to
explore in depth new ideas in relation to my continuing practice.
I learnt about the Jurassic coast and gained an understanding of the vastness of time through the materials and fossils I found there. I explored processes linked to the location such as erosion, transformation and flux, all the while gathering visual research through drawing. This meant I produced a rich resource of visual information which I have been working from in clay since returning to London. These drawings have helped me to develop new forms and ways of working with clay and have pushed my practice forward.
The walks Rob led us on were an interesting way to learn about the site of
Hogchester, and I valued walking through the location exploring it in this
manner. I also took the time to explore scale, visualising ideas of how my small drawings could be enlarged into large scale sculptures - reflecting my interest in micro and macro forms. It was very useful to spend time with Clare Burnett learning about her practice and its relationship to scale. She also gave me very helpful advice on a range of technical problems.
Additionally I spent time working with clay in conjunction with concrete. I had never worked with concrete before and so this was very exciting and has opened up a new avenue for my work. It was valuable working in the studio with Clare and Chantal as I gained new knowledge as a result, along with learning about how they are navigating their careers as artists - particularly interesting to me as I have only recently graduated.
I gathered clay during the residency and experimented painting with it, and am now conducting material research with this clay in relation to bought clay, and am experimenting with firing the two together. Again this is a new avenue within my practice and so this is providing a rich learning experience.