Emily Stapleton-Jefferis

Emily Stapleton-Jefferis, ‘Littoral’, 2023. Photos by Ollie Harrop
Emily Stapleton-Jefferis, ‘Littoral’, 2023. Photos by Ollie Harrop
Emily Stapleton-Jefferis, ‘Littoral’, 2023. Photos by Ollie Harrop

Littoral (2023)

Ceramic, video

Taking Margate’s rock pools as a starting point, Emily Stapleton-Jefferis has been diving into these fractal worlds; discovering the intricate relationships that lie within, looping and folding back on themselves. The life cycles, metamorphoses and the symbioses serve as a lesson on the limitations of individualism, and as the inspiration for the work displayed here.

Through this research, Stapleton-Jefferis descends back to our watery beginnings and uncovers the materiality we share with marine species. Sponge like creatures living 750 million years ago are the organism from which humans and all other animals evolved. Human bones contain calcium carbonate (chalk), the same material many marine species use to build their skeletons. 

This work also gives us pause to reflect on our current impact on many marine species, such as the dissolution and mutation of their skeletons through C02 induced acidification of the ocean. 

Littoral implores us to see beyond individual specimens, to let one’s eyes relax upon the rock pool and witness time slowing, making deep time visible. We are all the same chalk. We are not alone, we are a colony animal. 


Video co-produced with Jack Alexandroff

Emily Stapleton-Jefferis looks to inspiration from the biological, botanical and geological, zooming in on the overlooked or unseen, extracting the wonder, beauty and strangeness that exists just out of sight. By re-contextualising the macro and micro of the natural world she aims to provide an escape from the anthropocentric perspective humans are locked within. She hope this transformation of the viewer carries an ecological message of kinship with even the strangest incarnations of life.

She has exhibited her work alongside fellow artists in a range of venues in the Uk and abroad including at the British Ceramics Biennale in Stoke-on-Trent. She has previously undertaken artist residencies on the Packington Housing Estate in London, at The Leonora Carrington Museum in Mexico, at Hogchester Arts in Dorset, and at The Kunstlerhaus in Germany.