Can you tell us a little about you and the path you are currently on, internally and externally?
Internally, I am trying to navigate through life in search of my true place and purpose. I have very strong values and I believe that what is meant for me will arrive at its own pace. It wasn't always this way, though, and I have had to experience a wide variety of things that have brought me to my current headspace and environment. I have learned to be reliant on myself, to walk away from what does not serve me, to trust my gut instinct, and to know my body, love my body, and encourage my self to be the woman of my dreams. I am now working toward my future and what I'd like that to look like, and I know I will fall more and more in love with myself as I walk my life. Externally, I currently spend my days traversing between work, my studio at home, and I always make space and time to be in nature. It realigns and corrects me.
What inspires your work?
It definitely doesn't boil down to one specific thing or place, and what inspires me constantly changes. I think inspiration arrives in ways I neither expect nor search for. I give and allow it the space to make its way to me when it is ready, and I don't often go out hunting for it with knife in hand unless it's necessary. I am never without it though; I am in constant supply. It is absolutely, everywhere — from a rusted wall in a city street, to native flora in a dry landscape, to the posture a dead animal carcass takes in its final moments. If I feel like my eyes need to rest on something in particular and I am being drawn like a magnet to it, such as the mountains or a snake being eaten by a bird of prey, I will make sure my eyes see it — whether that means I jump in the car and drive to the mountains or search for a video where an eagle steals a snake. Life being lived and life being taken as it should be, in natural ways, is inspiring to me. The constant equations happening around us, additions and subtractions of animal and plant life, is inspiring. Finding a snake skin on a track. A dead falcon on the side of a road. I love the language that life has within itself, and how there are components that humans just cannot touch. The habits of animals and their instinctual needs are something I constantly align with my own. The landscape around me speaks eternally of inspiration, and its whispers are something I will never tune out. If I were to try and focus what my current inspiration is for my silver work, it is weathered and worn items. I am trying to echo in my jewelry the notion that what you are purchasing from me has already had an owner prior to you, akin to when you find a vintage ring and it already has worn properties to it. You, in purchasing a ring, are adding to its journey.
Can you talk about your journey into becoming an artist and how it's changed your daily perspective?
I think that forming artwork has always been my reality. It didn't quite feel like a destination I journeyed toward, or an aspiration I had when I was young. It's just an innate "need" to be fed, otherwise I feel wayward or lost. If I am not creating each day I feel completely out of touch with myself, and that is the way it has been. I have evolved as an artist in more recent times, and I thank my flighty nature for it, because I am always eager to try a new medium. And in turn my perspective on other artwork and life in general is vastly different than, say, what it was five years ago. There is a language that is woven when creatives share work with one another and with themselves, and it's something that often cannot be justly articulated. It's so special, and I cannot imagine my life without tapping into that language, forming my own and deciphering the language of other artists. I am in love with my vision and the time and room I have made for myself to bloom into the woman I've always wanted to be.
What's the most rewarding part of your work you are doing now?
That what I make with my bare hands is purchased by sets of eyes that have travelled through time and space to see and own them. That what I manifest from different materials becomes a piece a complete stranger or friend can love, take ownership of, and push further along on its special pilgrimage. It brings me a deep sense of joy to see women in particular own a piece and that it has the ability to change their posture and attitude toward themselves, as if they feel beautiful, or a piece accentuates a feature of theirs. I also like to think the pieces I make have already existed in another dimension and that I am giving them a three-dimensional earthly breath of life when I form them in this moment. So there's an element of other-worldliness I attach to pieces. I feel this is even more so the case with my current silver work that I am hoping to release in the coming months. They are already weathered and worn a little. And I wonder how long their life will continue on in this world after I push them out and sell them. Will they end up in a second-hand store on a highway in the middle of nowhere? Will they have up to five different potential owners? I hope so. The mystery of that alone is really intriguing. I'm so lucky to be in a position in my life where I can afford to live and work and create the way that I can. Not everybody has that luxury. I'm very grateful and I keep my feet sewn to the ground.
What inspires and motivates you to keep growing and challenging yourself?
My determination and grit motivates me, and I am constantly inspired by the life-force energy that is in the air and the soil. I always feel like nature is on my side. I have a keen eye for detail and what lies on the periphery of the bigger picture. I can be extremely stubborn when it comes to how I want something to form, and in turn I become even more determined to make sure the end goal in my mind is reached — whether that takes months or weeks, or an entire day. I usually just do not stop until the visuals I've seen flashing across my mind come to fruition.
What advice would you give to others?
To paraphrase an artist I had the greatest privilege of listening to live: Put your ideas out in the air if you're unsure of them, and in time you'll know if it is worth pursuing. I personally think air between the pines or in the desert is a great place to do it. I guess another piece of advice I would give is: Trust your higher self.
Emily is a multidisciplinary artist, working with mediums such as pencil, oil painting, photography, embroidery, taxidermy, wax, and sculpture. She's been working in seed bead jewelry for the past 18 months, forming handcrafted offerings of the modern woman, and has just now moved into a new phase of working with fine silver. She collects taxidermy, bones, and pelts and absorbs their energy to use as inspiration for her work. She is firm believer in the medicine of animals and is a ferocious tea drinker.
Words: Emily Wilde
This interview has been edited for clarity.