Emma Clear is an Irish artist based in Helsinki (b. 1981). Her work explores textile and yarn as installations and concepts for storytelling. She has a background in drawing and installation and has utilised varying materials to think through her concepts. She is currently completing her master’s degree in Visual Culture, Curating and Contemporary Art at Aalto University. Formerly completing her BA at Falmouth University, UK and at LSAD in Ireland. Emma was a founding member of Diversis Artibus artist co-operative based in the UK (2014-2017). The co-operative established Corridor Gallery, an artist led gallery in central Brighton, where she held the position of co-director and curator of exhibitions. Emma’s work has been exhibited in Finland, Ireland and the UK.
To ‘Spin a Yarn’ means to tell a story. I spin yarns with my work. When I tell stories I think through the lineage and patterns that tangle craft stories together. Lines come together to create drawings and text. Yarn knots and ties complex narratives together through crochet, lace and knit. Blood-lines tell stories of behaviour patterns, knotting family tales with wider social and cultural structures. The patterns created reveals holes and gaps in the stories and invisible histories within the spaces between.
Craft and storytelling interlock while I write about the craft movement of Irish community. Silent stories of invisible peoples, the ‘feisty’, ‘fair’ and ‘fallen’, emerge in my research of the development of the craft industries there. Land and body politics weave with feminist epistemology and map the complex interconnectivity. The complex tangle of knotting family stories, textile crafts, and the stories of the reproductive rights throughout the establishment and development of a deeply religious republic. Through speculative fiction writing I follow the threads of these entanglements. I pattern with them as I write and draw and knit these stories together.
I came to this research while drawing lines and crafting yarns. Working ‘freeform-crochet’ to my grandmother’s crochet from the 1930’s, led to the creation of “new family heirlooms” and a deepening of my interest in lineage and patterns. Patterns in craft and patterns of behaviour led me to inquiries into how brain neurology patterns; how thought and behaviour patterns persist through generations and through cultures. I webbed and crocheted brain connectivity and hormone molecules, exploring the combination of molecules that allow for empathy and solidarity. I crocheted myself to my work as I told the stories of my personal connection to family ties and knots. Family connections revealed cultural stories that I unpick, reform and pattern with to weave my Lace and Knit and Crochet stories.