Sofa so good for £10k couch sculptor

Young Wakefield artist Emily Binks, who makes sculptures from abandoned furniture found on the streets of Edinburgh has scooped a major Scottish art prize. Picture by JANE BARLOW
Young Wakefield artist Emily Binks, who makes sculptures from abandoned furniture found on the streets of Edinburgh has scooped a major Scottish art prize. Picture by JANE BARLOW

A young sculptor who has made a work of art out of old sofas is sitting pretty after winning a £10,000 residency.

Emily Binks, of Wrenthorpe, has been awarded the Glenfiddich Artist in Residence prize after transforming settees into sculptures.

Emily Binks  with her sofa culptures. Picture: JANE BARLOW

Emily Binks with her sofa culptures. Picture: JANE BARLOW

The 23-year-old former Outwood Grange pupil and art graduate made her display out of careworn furniture left on the streets of Edinburgh where she was studying.

Her work, ‘Survival Series #1, is currently being exhibited at the The RSA Gallery in Edinburgh until March 30. The inspiration for it came from examining the human relationship with the functional objects we use day in, day out

Emily said: “Old furniture is allowed to be cast out onto the streets, abandoned and forgotten, after years and years of unfaltering service. But they are now asserting themselves as a new object in a new environment, allowing me to give them a new purpose. They are surviving after being thrown out.

“An important part of my work is the process of foraging and collecting materials, all the sofas where collected on foot, by hand and pushed to my studio on a trolly, by myself, usually. Forget crazy cat lady, meet crazy trolly lady.

Emily Binks (pictured), who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2015, has been named as the winner of the Glenfiddich Residency Award, worth �10,000. The winner is selected from the artists in Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) New Contemporaries exhibition which opened to the public in Edinburgh on March 5. Picture: JANE BARLOW

Emily Binks (pictured), who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2015, has been named as the winner of the Glenfiddich Residency Award, worth �10,000. The winner is selected from the artists in Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) New Contemporaries exhibition which opened to the public in Edinburgh on March 5. Picture: JANE BARLOW

“Survival Series really came into being though once I began to reference other parts of my life. I’m a scout leader and trained in survival, so combining the two ideas and themes of survival, I directly reference some colours and materials used in modern day emergency and survival situations.”

Emily is about to move to the Scottish Highlands where the distillery, who have awarded her prize, is based.

She said: “What makes this award even more special to me is that it isn’t just a wad of cash handed to me as a prize, instead it is an unmissable opportunity for me to completely immerse myself in developing my artist practice further by providing me with a house, a studio and a budget for making new work, without the stress and added pressure of having to support myself by working along side making. As an emerging artist there really isn’t anything greater than what Glenfiddich are offering me; total creative freedom, and the space and time for it to thrive.”