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Meet Emma Stothard

Emma Stothard in her studio © VisitBritain/Sam BarkerEmma Stothard in her studio © VisitBritain/Sam Barker

Emma Stothard’s striking wire and willow sculptures are displayed in galleries and gardens all over the world, from the Louis C Tiffany Museum and Water Gardens in Matsu, Japan, to the Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire where, on the invitation of HRH The Prince of Wales, her sculptures of British rare breeds and farming livestock delight visitors on the formal lawns.

Emma is based on the North York Moors coast near Whitby, and, as she tells us, her work is greatly inspired by the wildlife and the rugged landscape of the National Park.

Let the North York Moors inspire you…

Following Emma’s film, we're delighted to share some of our collective suggestions for exploring some of the most inspirational places in the North York Moors. You’ll find more ideas across our series of features on makers from across the National Park.

Discover Emma’s favourite places…

We asked Emma to share her favourite places to find inspiration in the North York Moors:

I love to walk on the moors around where I live for inspiration. I’m lucky because they are on my doorstep. I see grouse, deer, hares, curlew and much more. The road between Whitby and Pickering has it all, but if you veer away from the main road and down to Grosmont it is breathtaking and peaceful - you feel like you are on top of the world!

Emma at Staithes Festival © VisitBritain/Sam Barker;

Emma also told us about her favourite event in the North York Moors calendar; the annual Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage, each September:

Around 60 artists set up galleries in the cottages and garages over the weekend. The village of Staithes is a beautiful fishing village. On an evening there is an amazing light festival. You will definitely leave with a new piece of art!

Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage Credit Staithes Festival

Be inspired by the wildlife of the North York Moors coast and beyond

Exhilarate your senses by experiencing some of our suggestions to help you get close to some of the creatures that inspire Emma’s work.

Leave dry land behind and take to the sea on a wildlife watching boat trip complete with expert guides from Yorkshire Coast Nature, Whitby Whale Watching or Three Sisters Sea Trips for a chance to spot minke and humpback whales, white beaked dolphins and porpoises.

Dolphin off Staithes Credit Daniel Wildey Photograph

Feast your eyes on a magnificent array of seabirds while exploring the glorious coastline. The chalk cliffs around Flamborough are home to the largest mainland seabird colony in the UK and visitors are almost guaranteed to see gannets, puffins, kittiwakes and razorbills during the breeding season at the RSPB's Bempton Cliffs Nature Reserve and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's Flamborough Cliffs Nature Reserve. From April to August more than 400,000 birds bring the cliffs alive while the skies are filled with puffins, gannets and guillemots.

Join a gannet and puffin cruise on the Yorkshire Belle on weekends from May to July or capture the beauty and diversity of the wildlife for yourself with a wildlife photography encounter organised by Yorkshire Coast Nature.

Try willow sculpture and create an original art work to take home

While Emma creates her striking sculptures in a range of media, including bronze and galvanised wire, her first love is creating in willow and her techniques are as old as the art of willow weaving itself, using only basic tools and her hands.

Working with willow in her studio © VisitBritain/Sam Barker

Try willow weaving for yourself by joining the numerous workshops running throughout the year at our Inspired by... gallery at The Moors National Park Centre near Danby, or join a Rugged Outdoors workshop near the delightful market town of Helmsley.

Where to enjoy Emma’s work in the North York Moors

Mare, Rievaulx Terrace

Emma’s first wire sculpture of a life-size horse commissioned by the National Trust is sited at Rievaulx Terrace, overlooking the tranquil and beautiful ruins of Rievaulx Abbey. The ‘Mare’ is moved to Nunnington Hall on occasion, providing an excellent reason to visit both of these beautiful locations.

Coronation lobsters

Coronation lobster at Staithes © VisitBritain/Melody Thornton;

Originally commissioned for the 2015 Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage, Emma’s giant pair of coronation lobster sculptures, crafted from powder coated galvanised wire, can still be seen on the coast today. The blue lobster, purchased by the National Park Authority, now welcomes you to the Bank Top carpark in Staithes whilst its red counterpart enjoys the high life, on display in The Star Inn The Harbour restaurant in Whitby.

Whitby's Walk with Heritage

Emma has been commissioned to create seven sculptures to be displayed as part of a new heritage trail telling the story of Whitby’s fishing heritage. Launching in 2021, visitors will be able to follow a sculpture trail, finding out about each work and its link to the town’s history using a companion mobile app.

Find out more about Emma’s work

Emma’s website shows more of her work and details her creative process. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to receive regularly details of new commissions, open studio events and how the North York Moors continues to inspire her work.