Emma Cocker makes and designs quintessentially English characters and nostalgic fabric illustrations in knit and stitch.
At what age did you know you wanted to become an artist / maker?
I’ve always enjoyed creating - from a young age I either had a pencil or needle in my hand. As a student I loved dedicating all my time to making and experimenting, but it was nearly ten years after graduating that I started to make artwork in a professional sense.
Is being an artist / designer your only job?
No, I’m also a picture researcher and assistant editor for a magazine. I’m lucky that my job is creative and employs my passion for the arts and allows me to give other artists and makers a chance to show their work to a wider audience.
If you could be anything else what would you be?
A professional wild swimmer – does this job exist? If not I’d like to own a café filled with delicious home baked goods.
One favourite living artist / designer? At the moment I’m really inspired by the illustrator Michelle Morin, she paints delicate and unusual observations of birds and nature.
One favourite historical artist / designer?
Louise Bourgeois - I think of her as one of the pioneering textile artists, who created work well into her 90s. I’d love to think I was still making work at that age.
Who / what has had most influence on your work?Living in Devon I spend a lot of time exploring the coast and nearby moors; it’s definitely this environment and the people that live here that have influenced my work. I also like trawling charity shops and recycling centres for old books, toys and posters that might inspire an illustration or a new character.
What is the most interesting / fun job you have had?I don’t know if you could really class it as a job but when I travelled to New Zealand I did a bit of ‘woofin’ at an idyllic backpackers called Le Bons Bay. My job was to change the beds, wash the linen and make dinner in the evening from delicious locally sourced food and veg from the garden … I was surrounded by the most breathtaking scenery, with plenty of time to explore the area and just ‘be’.
What is your most prized item of art / design / craft?
My vintage Jaeger wool tweed jacket, I discovered it in a charity shop a few years ago, it has barely been worn and fits me perfectly. The design is classic, it has these fantastic little pockets set at just the right angle and a lovely yolk around the neck.
What item of design / craft do you covet most?One day I would love to give a home to one of Samantha Bryan’s Brains Fairies
Last book / film that blew your mind?Mic Macs, by the director of Amelie…it’s so eccentric and funny
6 Music when I’m at home and some good old soul funk classics when I feel like a dance.
How many hours do you waste on the internet each day?Too many
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?In a wooden house, with an apple tree in the garden, overlooking a rocky cove, where I could jump in the sea every day.
Where and what is your studio?
Everywhere, the kitchen table, sofa, bedroom window and wherever I go…
Three words that describe your feeling of doing your work?Playful, mindful and ‘brainful’
Chips or mash?Depends on whether I’m having them with peas or beans!