Emma Maiden is best known for her primitive carved stone and cast bronze sculptures of figures and animals. Her pared-down aesthetic, reminiscent of Romanesque carvings or Cycladic figures, gives her works a stillness and simplicity of form. Maiden draws inspiration from works she has studied in ethnographic collections, such as the Pitt-Rivers Museum, British Museum, and the Ashmolean, as well as literary sources such as Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. Recurrent themes in her work include birds, mothers and children, solitary figures, and faces.
Maiden completed an MA in Ceramics at the University of Wales, Cardiff, before turning her attention to stonemasonry. This training shows in her process, which involves first sketching her ideas for the shapes and forms she wants to achieve, and then modelling them in clay before she begins to work on the stone. Maiden prefers to work in hard, close-grained stones such as English limestones which reveal a silky surface when finished, and she uses hand-carving rather than pneumatic tools whenever possible. Unusually, Maiden designs and makes her own bases and plinths, which are unique to each sculpture.
Emma Maiden has exhibited in Bath, Bristol, Oxford, and London. Her sculptures have been exhibited in the renowned biannual sculpture show On Form in 2006, 2008, 2014, and 2016. She lives and works in Oxfordshire.