Emily Hogarth is a Scottish designer and illustrator who is known for her amazing work with papercuts. We asked Emily to be our latest Made in Scotland guest and she gave us a fantastic insight into her creative approach and inspirations.
Please can you tell us a bit about how you developed your passion for design and how you became an artist?
I have always been interested in art from an early age so it felt very natural to apply to art college when I left school. I studied Textile design at Edinburgh college of Art and then went on to study a masters in design there too.
It was during my master’s degree that my love of papercutting really developed and I honed in my skills and used papercutting as a medium to translate my designs. After leaving art college I continued to create papercuts and surface designs and have been doing it every since.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My days are a little chaotic at the moment as I am juggling work with young children. So after the nursery run and a dog walk myself and my westie, ‘mary’ head to my studio where I make myself a cuppa and sit at my computer and answer all my emails and sort out any online orders that have come through – then once all the paperwork is done I sit at my desk and usually do some cutting. I have a lot of personal papercut commissions on at the moment so that is what I spend most of my day doing.
Which of your designs are you most proud of and why?
Oh this is a hard question. I’m not sure I can answer this one – but I think i might be most proud of my master show, as it was the gateway for starting my business and has influenced all my designs since.
What makes living in Edinburgh special?
It is such a beautiful city, not too big and not too small. It is also the city that I grew up in, so I am surrounded by close family and friends too which makes it very special.
You mention on your Facebook page that you also love to get away to the Scottish Highlands. How does this inspire your work? I love getting outdoors in general, from the highlands to the beaches near Edinburgh. I always find that being in nature and enjoying the outdoors whatever the weather always influences my work, as I am so inspired by the landscape, the colours, the foliage you see and the treasures you find on the beach etc.
Please can you tell us about your motto “making the everyday magical” and why this is important to you?
The motto ‘making the everyday magical’ came out of my masters show where I was trying to show that you can always find something magical in your day. It’s a mindset I suppose, a positive way of thinking and a way of looking around us and finding the beauty in everyday objects and our everyday surroundings.
Can you tell us a bit about your method of working with papercuts, which parts of the creative process you enjoy the most and which (if any) you dislike?
Creating papercuts is fairly straightforward I guess. You have a cutting mat with a piece of paper on top and then you have your cutting tool (in my case I use a scapel) then you start cutting away the paper creating the design as you go. When I’m creating personal commissions, I really enjoy speaking to the clients and finding out all the stories they want to include in the artwork.
Then it’s my job to weave all these stories into a design that they can enjoy on their walls for years to come. Sometimes fitting everything in can be tricky but that is often the fun part too. I never know what the finished design is going to look like until it is all finished as its quite an organic process and I design as I go (checking my list of things to include as I go to make sure I don’t miss anything).
Please can you tell us about some of the creative people in Scotland you admire and why?
I am lucky enough to work from Coburg House Art studios in leith so am surrounded by other creative which is always inspiring.
What are the biggest challenges that you face?
As I mentioned above the biggest challenges I face just now are juggling work with a young family. I have to squeeze in as much work as I can into 2 studio days a week and then I work in the evenings too. It’s a juggling act and is often hard but we make it work for us.
Off topic question: what is your favourite Scottish dish and why?!
Hmm – favourite Scottish dish would have to be Cullen skink – its delicious!
What advice would you give to somebody wanted to follow a creative path as a career?
Just start – it takes time to develop a creative career and people often feel they need to have everything sorted out before they start. I believe you just have to start. Create yourself a small website so people can find you and contact you and have a few images of your work on their too – I found this a great tool in developing my business. And work hard – it won’t happen overnight but it is so worth it.
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