Emily M. Chase - Artist

I make art because I have to. It allows me to process emotion and experience, both positive and negative, into something beautiful and useful as a method of communication. Art is the driving force behind everything I do. It shapes the way that I experience and perceive the world. I change and grow with each new place I visit and new person I meet. Art allows me to use the stories that I have stored up in my gut to talk to people about the ways in which we relate.
I use clothing as a subject because it is a personal and expressive thing. How we dress reveals what we believe is important, culturally and personally. Clothing is able to indicate a history without a person being present. We keep clothing from important events and clothing that has grown too small because these items become artifacts with strong attached memories.
Paper is workable in many of the same ways that cloth is—you can sew it, embroider it, dye it, and tear it—but, at the same time it denies the clothing I make its ability to be worn or used. It allows the garments to be seen from a different perspective, to examine the fragility and impermanence of the things we keep closest to our skin.
I am influenced by travel and storytelling and the tradition of makers in my family. My Grandmother was a ceramicist and is now a prolific quilter, and both my parents fostered my passion for art in different ways. I want to tell stories, some of them my own, some of them invented from my experiences, and some of them belonging to the people I love. I think the experiences in life that impact us the most are the moments that are beautiful but also a little terrifying. I want to talk about the ways that the weaknesses of a thing can also be its strengths, how things grow together and grow apart, and the ways that our experiences contain contrary natures in the one moment. I want my work to create an experience of empathy, because even though no two people have the same experience of or perspective on any situation, our commonalities of experience help us to understand each other better.
When I began making paper garments, I was exploring the ways in which fairytales can be used as a lens through which emotional processes like anxiety and guilt can be examined. My current work is focused on the growth, disintegration, and regrowth of relationships.