Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Artist Emma Harding with her ceramic heads and mosaic tablets at ZoomArts One of basketmaker Julie Gurr’s sculpted baskets is to the left of Emma.

Emma’s heads and tales

Make sure you head to ZoomArts between now and Saturday 19 December for a perfect treat of a show. Ceramicist Emma Harding and basket-maker Julie Gurr have taken over the little white cube gallery to the left of St Leonards Warrior Square station. Erica Smith visited the Branching Out exhibition and spoke to Emma Harding about her work.

This wall mounted head illustrates Emma’s fascination with how dementia tangles and unravels our thought processes.

I have been aware of Emma Harding’s work as a mosaic artist for several years. One of Hastings’ hidden gems is her beautiful mosaic of the town on the south side of the circular kiosk above Bottle Alley. She also co-ordinated the making of the Transition Towns mosaic which brightens the car park in front of Zoom Arts. But for the last three years, since studying for an MA at the University of Brighton, she has been ‘branching out’ and exploring ceramics – primarily producing ceramic heads.

Head inspired by the carvings on White Island, County Fermanagh.

Emma’s work is always ‘thoughtul’ and her studies of heads began with an exploration of dementia. Throughout her MA, she spent time in care homes talking to and working with people with alzheimer’s, writing down their thoughts and piecing them together through mosaic and ceramics. After completing her MA, she has continued to work with these themes, but concentrating on ceramic heads. Sometimes these are studies of people she knows, and sometimes they refer to ancient sculpture – there is a beautiful Olmec head with a woven basket on top, and a head inspired by the stone carvings on White Island in County Fermanagh, where she lived until she was seven.

A Harding/Gurr collaborative work

Emma’s work often includes basket weaving – sometimes collaborating with willow weaver Julie Gurr.

Some of Julie’s beautiful sculptural baskets are included in the show – and there are some stunning pieces of collaborative work.

If you talk to Emma about buying her work, you will find that her prices are extremely affordable – and 50% of any sales of work that result from this exhibition will be donated to Hastings Food Bank.

You are also welcome to bring donations for the foodbank along to the exhibition.

Branching Out is open from 11am to 3pm every day this week until Saturday 19 December. Zoom Arts is to the left of St Leonards Warrior Square Station in St Leonards. You can find out more about the artists by following these links to their websites: Emma Harding and Julie Gurr.

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Posted 19:45 Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020 In: Arts News

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