Emily Mackey

 

BORN IN LANCASHIRE IN 1976, EMILY GRADUATED FROM MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY WITH A 1ST IN CONSTRUCTED TEXTILES, SPECIALISING IN WEAVING. SHE THEN WORKED AS A HAND-WEAVER, MAKING AND SELLING HER OWN DESIGNS IN VARIOUS PLACES IN LONDON, AS WELL AS BEING A TEXTILES TECHNICIAN, BEFORE BECOMING A PAINTING AND DRAWING TUTOR. EMILY THEN CHOSE TO BECOME A FULL-TIME FREELANCER, ASSISTING A STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHER AND WORKING WITH ART DIRECTORS AND STYLISTS, AS WELL AS COMPLETING MANY TEXTILE COMMISSIONS, ONE OF WHICH WAS AN EMBROIDERED BOOK COVER FOR THE ORION BOOKS EDITION OF 'THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM'. EMILY HAS TAUGHT SEVERAL EMBROIDERY WORKSHOPS, INCLUDING AT THE V&A. SHE HAS RECENTLY HAD HER STUDIO AND TEXTILE WORK FEATURED IN COUNTRY LIVINGS 'MODERN RUSTIC' BOOKAZINE.
 

'AMONG THE MORE DEFINING MEMORIES FROM THE VARIOUS PLACES I HAVE LIVED AND VISITED, ARE MY INTERACTIONS WITH AND OBSERVATIONS OF PLANTS AND FLOWERS. I REMEMBER WASHING MY FACE IN THE MAY DEW AND EATING HAWTHORN LEAVES WITH SCHOOL FRIENDS AGED 5, MAKING BIG SKIRTED DOLLS OUT OF UP TURNED FIELD POPPIES. THEN LIVING IN SINGAPORE, SWITZERLAND AND INDIA, BEING EXPOSED TO A BREADTH OF MAGNIFICENT FLOWERS AND TREES; LEARNING THE FOLK REMEDIES, FOLKLORE, SACRED AND PRACTICAL USES OF MANY - MAKING DRAWINGS, RELIEF PRINTS AND PAINTINGS ALONG THE WAY.'

'UNLESS EVERGREEN, THE LIFE OF A LEAF IS FLEETING. ITS BEAUTY IS PERHAPS AT ITS FINEST JUST AS IT DROPS AND TURNS. I LIKE TO CAPTURE THESE IMPERFECT AND UNIQUE LEAVES IN MY CONTINUOUS SERIES, INCREASING THE SCALE AND HIGHLIGHTING THE DELICIOUS COMBINATIONS OF COLOURS AND TEXTURES. I LIKE TO WORK WITH THREE MAIN PIGMENT RICH COLOURS: QUINACRIDONE VIOLET, LEMON YELLOW AND DEEP INDIGO - THIS ALLOWS ME TO REALLY GET INTO THE COLOUR AND BREAK IT DOWN, OPENING UP THE POTENTIAL FOR MANY SUBTLE VARIATIONS.'

 

Emily's latest series of leaf studies are inspired by her great great great grandfather Georg Wilhelm Schimper who was a famous botanist, plant collector and explorer; his collections can be viewed at Kew gardens, the Bristish Museum, the British Library and in other locations around Europe.