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Hello, and welcome to the spring 2020 issue of sculptor Emma Stothard’s newsletter. 

Emma gets her claws out

You can catch this fabulous crab on the seafront at the seaside town of Withernsea in East Yorkshire, where it’s a highlight of a new Fish Trail. 

The 3m x 3m powder-coated steel wire crab waves his impressive claws at visitors to the town’s promenade to mark the start of the trail.

Visitors will then be guided around the Fish Trail by 12 illustrated plaques carved by Bridlington-based sculptor Stephen Carvill, each one depicting a species of fish caught off the Holderness coast by local fishermen. 

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust worked with pupils from Withernsea Primary School to produce an information board and leaflet for the trail.

It’s a project that’s proved particularly special for Emma, who was born in Hull, but brought up in Kilnsea, a tiny village at the northern end of Spurn Point, just 10 miles down the coast from Withernsea.

“That whole area, especially its wildlife, and its fishing traditions, shaped me,” she says. “As a child, I used to love sketching those extraordinary landscapes and connecting with nature. I loved researching and creating this crab; it brought back so many happy memories.”

The Fish Trail was produced by Withernsea Town Council with funding from The Holderness Coast Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) and East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

 

One giant leap…

To celebrate the 366 days of 2020, a leap year, Emma has created a special exhibition for Nunnington Hall, a glorious Elizabethan manor house near Helmsley in North Yorkshire.

Of course, like most places, the hall isn’t currently open to the public but the exhibition is due to run until 1 November, so we’re hoping you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to see it!

Visitors will discover 366 individual mixed media hares including sculptures, illustrations, paintings and textiles, all exhibited against the stunning dark-kingfisher blue walls of the hall’s Smoking room.

Emma says “I wanted to explore the array of materials that embody the ever-changing architecture and fabric of a historic building.

“Nunnington Hall such a rich sense of history – generations have lived here and you can feel their presence in the furniture, the wallpaper and the textiles.”

Every handmade hare has been assigned a date so that it represents a specific day of the year.

“Each of those days is going to be special for someone,” says Emma. “It might a birthday, an anniversary, or maybe even a proposal of marriage on the Leap Day itself, which is represented by a special golden hare!”

For more information, including on when the hall is likely to re-open to the public: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nunnington-hall

Whitby sculpture trail

Once those 366 hares were complete – a mammoth task! – Emma moved straight on to her next major project: the Whitby Sculpture Trail.

She’s currently hard at work creating a series of seven sculptures, made from hot-dipped galvanised wire, including a fisherwife, a herring lass, a fishermen mending a net, a knitter at work on a gansey and a crow’s nest.

The finished artworks will eventually be sited around the popular North Yorkshire resort to celebrate the rich history of the town’s fishing industry.

The trail will also include sculpted portraits of two famous residents. The first is photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, complete with his vintage plate camera on a tripod. Sutcliffe’s intimate and revealing photographs of Whitby and its residents from the late Victorian era and early 20th century, made him internationally famous

Less well known is the extraordinary Dora Walker. Born in West Yorkshire and educated at Roedean, Dora suffered with serious bronchial problems and moved to Whitby on medical advice during World War II. But she was not a woman to let anything stand in her way: she bought her own boat, took up fishing and qualified and acted as a pilot for boats through the minefields. She was the only woman skipper to hold her licence in the North Sea throughout the Second World War. 

The trail is being created in partnership with Scarborough Borough Council and will include an app which will allow visitors to find out more about the subjects of each artwork.

Obviously, current circumstances mean we can’t yet give you an exact date when the trail will be in place – but watch this space, and keep an eye on Scarborough Borough Council’s Facebook, where they’ll posting more information soon.

She’ll be back…

Sadly, Emma won’t be able to take part this year in what are usually two of the biggest dates in her calendar.

For the past few years, she’s created sculptures for various areas of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but this year’s show, from 18 to 23 May, will be virtual only, with no real gardens created for the Royal Hospital, London, site – that’s still in the planning stages, but you can find out more on the RHS website as plans evolve: www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show

Meanwhile, the Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage in September, of which Emma is usually a star turn, is cancelled this year – although, with typical Yorkshire ebullience, the organisers are promising that 2021 will be ‘a celebration to remember’! More on that here: www.staithesfestival.com

While you’re at home…

As ever, we thought we’d end this newsletter with a recipe from Emma’s husband, chef Rob Green – and given that we’ll probably all still be in lockdown when this reaches you, we asked him to keep it simple and use readily available ingredients – you might even be able to source some of them from your garden!

Simple sea bass with sauce vierge

Serves 2 as a light lunch/supper

Ingredients

2x sea bass fillets

50ml olive oil plus a little extra

zest and juice of half a lemon

2 tsps capers

1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

Handful of basil leaves, torn

1 tbsp chopped chives

6 cherry tomatoes, quartered

salt and pepper

Add all the sauce ingredients together in a small pan over a low heat for 15 minutess to infuse. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Heat a little olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-to-high heat. Season the sea bass fillets on both sides. When the pan and oil are hot, carefully place the sea bass fillets in the pan, skin side down.

Cook for 2 minutes, then carefully flip over. Remove the pan from the heat. The residual heat of the pan will finish cooking the fish within three to four minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.

Place one fillet of sea bass on the centre of a warmed plate. Drizzle some of the sauce over and around the fish. Serve with new potatoes and salad.

You can see Rob cooking this delicious recipe on his YouTube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_p1oODnUJM

While you’re at home…

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Emma Stothard Sculpture · Unit 5a Enterprise Way · Whitby, North Yorkshire YO22 4NH · United Kingdom

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