Story-telling is rarely a physical act these days. We so often receive all of our information through screens, be it a news story on your phone or the next blockbuster film. Think back to your childhood and upon reflection you might realise just how much story-telling played a role in it, as stories told first-hand so often used the elements to help guide the imagination. It could be the feel of the garden grass or the sea’s salt water on your face, a stairway-turned-castle or a windowsill-cum-cliff, but one thing’s for sure — the best stories are told physically.
One person who hasn’t lost sight of this is Emma Cocker. Creating a cast of hand-knitted characters full of whimsy and imagination, her textile companions are so full of life that they look as if they just walked right out of a book. Since starting her company Wild Folk back in 2010, Emma has continued to make characters such as hares, foxes, bears and badgers carefully designing each of them right down to the littlest detail.
Emma originally studied Textile Art at Norwich School of Art and Design before embarking upon a career in theatre design, and after four years of working for a stage, cloth and drapery company in London she decided to give it all up, move to a little fishing village in Devon and reclaim her love of storytelling through textiles. For Emma, every character’s outfit is just as important as its body, giving away hints of their personalities through the cloth.
From Guernsey jumpers to miniature denim jeans and vintage print dresses, Emma’s Wild Folk are brimming with fantasy and adventure, putting the physical back into storytelling at a time when our stories are told so often in virtual form. With an upcoming exhibition at Mostyn in Wales too, there looks to be no stopping Emma’s ever-evolving cast of story-book characters.