Holly takes ‘Emerging Artist’ title

Holly Clifford

SHEFFIELD-BASED artist Holly Clifford has been announced as the winner of the prestigious Peak District Artisans’ Emerging Artist Award.

The award, which is presented every two years, is a way of supporting creative individuals at the start of their career by opening doors to opportunities for showing and promoting their work.

Members of Peak District Artisans, many of whom are of international renown, are hand-picked for the quality of their work, so the PDA Emerging Artist Award is an incredible accolade.

Holly, 29, won over the judges with her stunningly crafted topographic wall pieces and jewellery. 

A graduate of the Birmingham School of Jewellery, Holly started her first jewellery brand from her garden shed before moving to Sheffield and a bigger workshop at The Persistence Works, where the topography of the nearby Peak District became an inspiration for some of her work.

She said: “I am very excited to have been chosen for the award! I’ve put a huge amount of time and energy into developing my level of craftsmanship over the last couple of years. I’m hugely looking forward to getting to know the PDA members and getting stuck in with their calendar of events.”

As the overall winner, Holly receives a cash prize; membership of PDA for three years with subscriptions subsidised on a diminishing scale; support and advice from experienced artists and makers; guaranteed exhibition and retail opportunities in key Peak District venues; inclusion on the PDA website and the annual brochure; and access to advice on exhibiting/pricing/online marketing/photography.

Her work will also be showcased in the New Year at the PDA’s exhibition at Chatsworth House.

The PDA’s joint vice chair, Karin Sheldon and Alison Wake, reported: “Holly creates three-dimensional topographic wall pieces and jewellery, mapping iconic and personal locations across the globe. Contour lines are cut into a single sheet of metal which she then shapes by hand into the relief of the landscape it represents. Her maps are further enhanced using blackening solution, rubbing back areas of elevation  to add contrast, and buffing.”

They added: “We were so impressed by all our finalists that this year we are also awarding runners-up prizes of subsidised PDA membership to Becca Brown, Bel Holland and Matt Whiting, who are all ceramicists.”

Holly is the third winner of the Emerging Artist title. The first award winner in 2019 was Rebecca Perry, a ceramicist from Chesterfield who now has a studio in Sheffield; and the other winner, in 2021, was Bethan Nadin, an artist raised in the Highlands who now lives in the Peak District.

Editor’s Note:  Holly Clifford’s website is https://www.contourmapcollection.com