Meet Emilie Mulcahey, Current Artist-In-Residence at Craft Alliance

By Mackenzie Taylor
In Culture

Craft Alliance Artist-in-Residence program offers artists from around the United States to work exclusively on their craft while teaching classes at Craft Alliance. Emilie Mulcahey is one such artist who is currently showcasing her talent at Craft Alliance’s “Artists-in-Residence Exhibition,” running now until July 3.

Nail Down Your Feelings

Photo courtesy of Emilie Mulcahey

How would you describe your art to someone who isn’t familiar with your work?
My work has always had a strong focus in story telling. My current body of work uses the imagery of anatomy to discuss the complexities of emotion. I craft human hearts from a variety of materials (including but not limited to glitter, pig gut, and magnets) and then pair them with different tools to visually hypothesize how to build and repair interpersonal relationships.

What pieces from the Artists-in-Residence Exhibition are you most excited to share with the world?
I’m most excited to share my pieces ‘Nail Down Your Feelings’ and ‘Communication’. ‘Nail Down Your Feelings’ is the first site-specific installation I have made for this residency. As a classically trained jeweler, working on a larger scale has definitely pushed my boundaries as an artist. ‘Nail Down Your Feelings’ was an exploration of how to discuss the body without making wearable art. ‘Communication’ is a very tender piece for me. Using the imagery of the classic ‘tin can phone’, this piece pairs the simple desires of childhood (to play and interact with friends) along with the more complex desires of adulthood (to be heard by others, to effectively communicate your needs, to be a good listener).

What is something you’ve been working on that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity without Craft Alliance’s program?
I’ve been working on a lot of larger scale installation work while at Craft Alliance. In my normal studio practice most of my time is devoted to creating production line jewelry. At Craft Alliance I have had the time and the studio space to scale my work up and push my creative boundaries. At Craft Alliance I don’t constantly have to work within the constraints of ‘Is this wearable?’ or ‘Is this sellable?’. I’m currently working on two installations that tackle the idea of devotion and are each approximately 6 feet in length.

What’s a medium you’ve never worked with before that you’d be interested in trying?
I would love to work with wood. I’ve done a little carving before, but I’m just not exacting enough of a person to build furniture or anything ultra functional. In metal, in you over-sand a piece of material you can heat it up and add more back in. With wood, if you over-sand it’s time to start a new piece. I’d like to push my brain to work more slowly and with greater consideration to accommodate such a material.

How has Craft Alliance helped you grow as an artist?
Craft Alliance has really helped me push my established boundaries in my studio practice. Before this residency I firmly considered myself a jeweler. These days I think of myself more as just an artist (or when I’m feeling especially daring, a sculptor!)

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