The Artist’s House

Visiting the home of a friend, who’s also a working artist.

It could reasonably be said that we all love a nose around other people’s houses. To see how they live. Maybe get to get to know them better? Wonder what exactly possessed them to put THAT there? Or, like in the case of artist Emma Rushton’s house, for sheer inspiration.

Let’s have that nose then.


Emma’s lived here for around four years:

‘And in that time I’ve scraped pretty much every inch of the place. It remains a work in progress but it’s definitely a home now.’

A lived in and living home for Emma and her children.

Scraping the place back to see what she’d got and keeping everything she could Emma has carefully created the artist’s house of today. Bringing all her experience as an internationally exhibiting artist into this place of her own.

All of the design and much of the work you’ll see here are Emma’s, but there are also works by other artists she knows.

‘Obviously I was going to bring and do my own work here, but I’ve also brought in pieces by other people I know and have worked with, pieces that fit with the rooms and the place.’

‘As a working artist I like to bring art into other people’s houses too. Why should we all live in plain white boxes with what the high street happens to sell, when we could be living with something original? So I help people find what might work for them.’

‘As I’m bringing more and more  of the house back into use I’m going to be working here with other artists as well. Artists are sociable creatures, I’ve always found, so I’m consciously creating spaces where groups of us can get together and work with each other on whatever we want. Be a working community if you like?’

Emma’s a friend and I’ve heard her talking about her art and the house before, but this is my first visit to see her here in Manchester. So me and my camera are enjoying ourselves walking into room after room of unusual colour combinations and, well, interesting things.

Here and there pieces of the house as it was originally decorated well over a hundred years ago poke through.

‘I’ve peeled and scraped layer on layers of wallpaper back to get to these panels you can see here and there around the house, hand painted some of them. Pieces of of what was here in the first place, looking through at us today’.

‘It’s a family home so it has to work as a place for living our lives as well as displaying found and uncovered art.’

‘And of course it’s where I work, where I try things out, where I produce things that might not seem like obvious art at all. Like this display of wanted posters.

I was in Omaha, Nebraska and someone told me about this policeman who was retiring and wanted to sell his collection. So I went round and found they’re all actually posters of what we’d call activists. Wanted for wanting to change things.’

‘People might think of what I do, this interior design, this insider-art thing, as only for the privileged few but why should it be?

Once we’ve covered the basics, a warm secure home and enough to eat, most of us spend something making the place our own. And I think more people would spend that something on original art if they knew where to get it. Which is where I come in!’

So that’s it, a nose around the house of an interesting friend who’s up to interesting things. Good isn’t she?

As you will have gathered Emma’s a working artist and working artists like to work. So if you’d like to get in touch with her about work you can do so directly, or through a comment on the blog and I’ll pass your message on.

She won’t, of course, do your damp course or scrape down your floors and walls, she’s done enough of that in her own place. But she could and will help you turn your house into a home.

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