Kent Artist Profile: Emily Stone
Emily Stone’s love of art began when she was in the sixth form at school, and since then she has gone on to find her favourite medium: copper. Working in copper offers Emily the chance to create beautiful creatures, and hone her skills, winning many awards for her work along the way.
How would you describe your art?
I sculpt mainly plants and animals using copper recycled hot water tanks, plumbing pipe and electrical cable. I enjoy the versatile nature of copper, creating tactile forms of the essence of the subject. I derive enormous satisfaction from seeing people drawn to touch, stroke, or even be prickled by my creatures. I often use heat to colour them and lacquer the copper to keep those colours, which provides stunning contrasts with the natural verdigris as it ages, giving each piece an extra sense of character and spirit.
What is your background?
Having studied art at A level I went on to KIAD at Canterbury for a foundation course in art and design. I then attended Hereford College of Art, where I got a taste of blacksmithing, but finding that rather heavy going I returned quickly to copper as my material of choice.
Unfortunately there are not many experienced coppersmiths around so most of my techniques are self-taught. In fact, copper seems to run in my blood as my grandfather Rodney Stone also worked in copper making several beaten pieces which can still be found around Kent today, including the Victoria and Albert medallions on the clock tower in Margate and the Dunkirk memorial plaque on Dover seafront. Sadly he died when I was only six months old, so never knew that I would follow in his footsteps, or rather more literally beat the same path, but I have inherited his anvil! In 2001 I returned home to Kent and started sculpting full time. I have exhibited widely around Britain at various galleries and gardens. Since 2007 I have been artist in residence at The Salutation Gardens in Sandwich.
What is the most difficult piece you’ve ever undertaken?
Every piece presents its own challenges; from not melting a delicate spider’s web to getting just the right colour contrasts on a woodpecker. However my most challenging piece to date is definitely my nine-foot-tall grizzly bear; he has also proved to be one of the most satisfying. The logistics of making him balanced so he would stand securely on his back feet was quite a work of art in itself! He grasps a fish between his front paws, into which I have hidden a pump to carry water up inside then cascade off his paws and the fish so it looks as if he has just scooped the his dinner up out of the pool. I, and importantly my client, are both thrilled with the finished effect.
What has been your proudest artistic achievement to date?
Bizarrely that would be my ‘Mouse’! One of my very first copper creatures and my first sale as an artist was a little sitting mouse. I still make to the same design today, albeit that each one comes out slightly different to the next and definitely with their own character.
Where can we see your work?
I exhibit regularly at several galleries including Dunlin and Diver in Deal, Lovelys in Cliftonville and Fire and Iron Gallery in Leatherhead. You can see my work in garden settings at Pashley Manor Gardens in Ticehurst, East Sussex; and at Sussex Prairie Gardens near Henfield, West Sussex. I am also proud to be artist in residence at The Salutation Gardens in Sandwich; the gardens provide an ever evolving source of inspiration and an amazing setting to exhibit my work to its best potential.