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Alas, the artist’s statement.

It is fair to say the majority of my work is drawn from memory and personal experience. I say personal experience, but actually just the experience of what it is to be human. I don’t describe myself as a feminist but of course I am female so some of this will translate into what it is to be a woman. A daughter, a sister, a mother, a lover. I find this world so full. At times I it overwhelms me. So much beauty in contrast to so much horror. Assimilating the world  drives me to  express it in my own way. Needing to release some of the tension caused by thought and the hugeness of it all.


I do not limit myself by medium. The product of my thought is often sculptural, but viewed as installation, performance, drawing, film or photography. I tend to describe myself as a sculptor, but the reality is I am a painter. I still require a composition. Something which belongs and pleases my own eye. To others my work often carries it’s own message. What is important to me is that an element of humanity is always visible within it.

Emily Hesse 2013


New thoughts below.

My work is about the containment of memory. Finding storage places for emotion, thought or experience. I do not consider these to be selfish acts, but rather acts, which are part of the shared human experience.

Each work holds the experience.

Story telling. Through work, through object.

Material is important. It has to be able to communicate. There are materials I am now most happy with working with as I know they will be able to deliver and hold what I want them to while also causing the viewers to discuss and question. (These materials are described later on).

Ritualistic elements. Defining and marking one’s own path.

Often coming from a place of vulnerability. Inability to cope with the hugeness of the world.  Developing my own coping mechanisms.

Keeping memory alive. Keeping people alive. If I can do this then they will never be gone. I will never be alone.

Creating experience to document. Creating fear, joy etc. Forcing myself to feel, to experience.

Elements of construction. The need to touch and connect with material. Sometimes only mentally, sometimes physically. The need to build and add to.

Drawings/Paintings? –

A way of emptying the mind, letting go, contemplative process. Meditative? Letting go, putting the day into them. Possibly why I have referred to them as pieces of me in the past. They are each a piece of me. A process of leaving a mark on something to take it away from myself. Saving me from myself?  But they are happiness. This sounds so depressing but it really isn’t. It’s a coping mechanism, but a joyful one.

It is also something where control and a lack of meet. The use of centrifugal force means I will always get a circle You can’t throw square pots on a wheel. You will always get a circle.  I can see the line in the paper, the object. I can choose it, I can draw it out. The lack of control is the finished product. It’s surface unpredictable. This is the joy.

There is no meaning to the circle. It’s a process of which there are elements I can control, but still with that childish surprise.

If I am to throw pots then they will fit into this category. They wont tell long winded, complex stories. They will be, ‘today I ate chips at the seaside and the sun shone on me and a seagull crapped on my shoe.’ Or, ‘my darling James and I stare at this cliff every day , watch the sea rise and fall against it, listen to the seagulls every morning, it is our home and we want to leave part of ourselves here.’ Or, ‘I dreamt Edmund de Waal was telling me how nice it would be to put Christmas Lights on a pot.’

They are records of experience. They make me happy. I’m allowed to make them now, they are no longer punishment for naughty girls.

Clay –

A need to feel grounded and connected to the earth. A need to hold something. Everything that lives returns here, to this ground, to this earth. Things I have loved have gone here, are in here. In this clay. It holds within it time. Years. Millions of them.

I love dirt as well. Making dirt pretty. We accept clay for the use of ceramics. Humans aren’t very accepting of it on their kitchen table though with a naked woman in it. Why?

Found Objects-

They already hold their own stories. They already hold their own memories. I can give them mine to hold too. Sort of abusive really.  They instill memories within people. That thing reminds me of…. The dirt on that reminds me I need to hoover under my bed…. I had that as a child.. Did you have that as a child? Questions, they cause the asking of questions.


 Diary entries. The obvious record.  My words really as I feel I’m shit at writing. I actually feel I’m shit at most things but particularly writing. There is a connection to something though that tells me to know I am not really shit. But writing I am shit at.

E. Hesse January 2014