Approved: 12.11.2021

Emma Saffy Wilson

Artist, Community worker, Gallery educator

Approved: 12.11.2021

Soil and mould are the raw materials of my practice. These organic matters, essential to our fragile earthly existence, are often disregarded as repulsive, something to be scrubbed away in the relentless battle for sanitisation. Alluding to the futile endeavour to apply order to disorder I cultivate mould, sculpt mud and frame soil.

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Artist Statement

Soil and mould are the raw materials of my practice. These organic matters, essential to our fragile earthly existence, are often disregarded as repulsive, something to be scrubbed away in the relentless battle for sanitisation. Alluding to the futile endeavour to apply order to disorder I cultivate mould, sculpt mud and frame soil.

The cultural significance of dirt and mould is multi-layered. The universal subjects of growth and decay, fertility and death are inevitably interrogated when working with such elemental substances. 

However other light hearted subjects are equally significant to my practice. I have made references to the playful childhood attraction to dirt in previous works and take an alternative, often humourous, view of the negative connotations of the word in western language; dirty war, filthy swine, mucky cow. 

The dirt I collect from various sites can often feel charged and I am drawn to create works being lead by this. Recently I have made a series of ‘poppets’ using graveyard dirt and a regular meditative practice of mine is making Hikaru Dorodangos (shiny mud balls) out of different earth I’ve gathered.

Process and play is key – sometimes I am lead purely by the materials.



CV & Education

Education & Qualifications

1997 – 2000                Falmouth College of Art & Design                       BA(Hons) Studio Ceramics 

1992 - 1994                 Plymouth College of Art & Design                       HND Multi Media Production


2021   NSA125                                                   Tremenheere Art Gallery              Penzance

2017      Critics Choice                                        Tremenheere Art Gallery              Penzance

2017      Borders                                                     Tremenheere Art Gallery              Penzance

2016      Casting Seeds                                         Thelma Hulbert Gallery                 Honiton

2015      Soil Culture                                             Peninsula Arts                               Plymouth

2014      Soil Culture Forum                                   Falmouth University Gallery      Falmouth

2014      Critics Choice                                           Pz Gallery                                  Penzance

2013      Suspended Sentences                       Brewers Warehouse                        Newlyn

2013      Limbo                                                  Old Coffin Store                                    Truro

2013      The DarkRooms                                  Passmore Edwards Building            Helston

2013      3 Points of Contact                             Exchange Gallery                                 Penzance

2012      New Light on Newlyn                       Plymouth Museum & Gallery              Plymouth

2012      Site Non Site                                        Kestle Barton                                        Manaccan

2011      Panel Select                                         Exchange Gallery                                 Penzance

2010      Art75                                                          Jubilee Pool                                   Penzance

2009      Reality Check                                         Newlyn Art Gallery                           Newlyn

2006      Children’s Service Launch                   Eden Project                                     St Austell

2003     Ashes to Art                                            Fort Mason Centre                         San Francisco

2001    East of Eden                                             Spacex Gallery                            Exeter

2001    Art, Design & Ecology                        SW Regional Dev Agency                Exeter

2000    Alternative Ceremonies                   Green Fuse Gallery                            Totnes

2000    Rituals and Ceremonies                    St Gluvius Church                               Penryn

2000    Geography                                                 Stroud House Gallery                     Stroud

2000    The Art of Ritual                                    Bakehouse Gallery                             Penzance               

2000    New Designers                                      Business Design Centre                  London

1998    A Sense of Place                                      Falmouth College of Art                  Falmouth              

1995   The Bigger Picture                                Royal College of Art                           London

1995   Picture This                                               Association of Multi-Media          Dallas

Awards, Residencies & Publications

2019   Youth Work, Galleries and the Politics of Partnership book by Nicola Sim

2015      Studio 9  - 3 month residency Porthmeor Studios                               St Ives

2013      3 Points of Contact Residency Exchange Gallery                              Penzance

2008   Engage Publication Inspiring Learning in Galleries

1995      Picture This, Association of Multi-Media                                              Dallas

Obtained Bronze Award, Production Award for Script & Production Award for Script for “Vita Futurista” multi-screen outdoor projection piece          

1994      Arte Multi-Visione                                                                                                     Rieti, Italy

2nd ‘Best of Festival for “Vita Futurista” multi-screen outdoor projection piece

Examples of Employment

2014 – 2021 Visiting Lecturer                    Falmouth University

2017 - 2020    Lead Arts Worker                Cornwall Museums Partnership, Penlee House 

                                                                        Museum with Carefree

2019 – 2020 Peer Trainer                          Tate St Ives  (find correct name)
2002 - 2019    Creative Workshops                       Newlyn & Exchange Gallery Penzance
2017 - 2018    Art Engagement                  Tate St Ives  with Hayle Youth Project
2016                 Arts Engagement                Radiant Space, Effervescent, Plymouth
2016               Arts Engagement                  Switch Festival, Tate St Ives
2016                  Arts Engagement               Calling The Shots, Bristol  

2015               Arts Engagement                  Tate St Ives Pop Up Studio  

2006 – 2007   Community Consultation                Arts for Health
2006               Community Consultation     Cornwall Arts Marketing

2004               Project Manager                    Creative Launch for Cornwall County Council

2003 – 2016 Lead Arts Worker                    Trelya

2003 – 2004 Artist in Residence                Newlyn Art Gallery with St Buryan School 

Training & Professional Development

Member of Newlyn Society of Artists

Arts Development Training run through ENYAN/Artswork
Arts Award Advisor Gold, Silver, Bronze, Discover & Explore                           
Child and young people Safeguarding and Protection
NLP Foundation – Working with Challenging Behaviour