22 March 2002

WILLOWSCULPTURE INFINESTSHAPE…

EMMA Stothard can often be seen in the North Yorks countryside because animals are a favourite subject of the sculptor.

Sheep, bulls, dogs, geese and cockerels have all featured in her work – and having first-hand experience of such animals is vital.

"Youve got to look at them, youve got to draw them and youve got to photograph them," she says.

Emma, whos been working with willow for six years, cites strength, versatility and natural appeal as the materials chief attributes. "Its so malleable. You can make any shape with it.

"You can make shapes quickly and, if you go wrong, you can pull it out."

She can clearly remember the first animal she made with willow – a goose. "Simple but effective," she recalls. "I showed it off everywhere."

Nowadays, though, shes often got bigger creatures in her sights, though large pieces can take up to six weeks to complete. "It can be tough physically," she says. "But I always wanted to be a sculptor."