My Bucket of String by Emily Motto

Each week we ask one artist to describe a tool that their work couldn't do without. Here, sculptor Emily Motto tells us about her fail-safe bucket of string.

Emily Motto’s practice combines a tangle of threads, mesh, photographic prints and temporal materials such as dough to create playful sculptural installations. Often created in situ in the gallery, the installations are brimming with colour and energy, as if frozen in movement, slumped in exasperation or just on the brink of collapse.

At the end of last year Motto made work at the British School at Rome, and she is currently an artist in residence at the University of Bolton.“This bucket holds a big tangled mass of strings I’ve accumulated over years, and I find it’s one of my most essential tools when I am making things. It’s full of bits and pieces that I’ve collected and lots of different types of rope and wool that I’ve kept from various projects, and works I’ve made before. I go to it all the time when I quickly need to tie something together, or hold something in place, or suspend something for a moment—often grabbing whatever’s nearest the top at the time, or the longest piece I can tease out, to fix or catch whatever I’m trying to hold somehow.

With pieces I’ve been working on recently, many aspects emerge when coping with unanticipated elements whilst I’m making, and I like how necessary these strings can become to the final forms. I’m still working my way through a giant sack of wool I kept from a maze I worked on a couple of years ago, and I like that strands from that are holding together lots of my other work now.”