ART WITH HEART All the pieces will be sited on the town’s West Side – for the directionally challenged among us, that’s the side with the whalebone arch, not the one with the Abbey – and will guide visitors along the harbourside, up Flowergate and Skinner Street and back down to the bandstand. Each piece is made from hot-dipped galvanised wire painstakingly woven by hand (the pain sometimes being quite literal as Emma twists the heavyweight wire) and can take up to four weeks to create. Emma starts by welding a strong steel armature, or skeleton, to support the woven ‘skin’ – the Whitby sculptures will need to withstand some extreme weather in the winter and are made of galvanised mild steel wire. But she also uses willow and bronze wire in her work. Then, using basic tools such as pliers and mallets, but mostly her hands – she confesses that nice hand cream is always gratefully received at Christmas and birthdays – she twists and weaves the wire into finished sculptures Detail from Emma’s net mending sculpture that look as they could walk away from their static sites at any moment. The new Whitby team includes a fishwife, a herring lass, a fisherman mending a net, a knitter at work on a gansey and a crow’s nest. The lifesize fishwife is already at home near the picturesque Swing Bridge that straddles the mouth of the River Esk as it flows into Whitby Harbour, and is picking up fans on Instagram, where her thoughts and opinions on the world around her can be ABOVE: Hours of painstaking work are needed to make the sculptures RIGHT: Emma’s workshop is a hive of activity as she creates her trademark large scale sculptures Yorkshire Life: October 2020 101
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