My full name is Emily Stanley Macaulay. I guess my dad’s side of the family is from Scotland which is where I get Macaulay from, and I don't know that much about my family history, but it feels quite nice having it there to ponder sometimes. The most useful part of my name is my middle name, a name I hated all the way through school but it has been useful these last few years as a way of naming my company, Stanley James Press. It comes from a film; my sister is Maggie Roy.
I'm trying to think of my first memory of design. I find it really hard to pinpoint memories from my past, I remember a day at junior school when we were spending the day colouring something in, a complicated pattern, everyone was using every coloured pencil on offer besides this one kid who had decided to use just two colours. There was something about that moment that made me think that kid had a really good eye for detail and that he'd restricted himself but created something that, at the time, I thought looked amazing.
I think overall I liked school; I was reasonably academic and very well behaved. Actually, I liked it until about halfway through high school where some lessons just suddenly felt incredibly boring, the kind of boring that terrifies me as an adult, what a waste of time. I loved art, volunteered to run the stage lighting in the drama studio, I loved technology, I was lucky enough to have incredible teachers in lots of subjects.
I guess there must have been a part of me that could see a direction I was heading and one that I wasn't. Recently I've thought lots about kids who hate school, who know they have 14 years or so that they are going to have to deal with that stress. As an adult, I can't imagine feeling that trapped, but as a kid, you just have to go along with it.
After high school I went to Bradford College, most of the people I knew at the high school went to the local sixth form college but by that time I think I'd outgrown the small town I was from. Bradford College was brilliant; it was good to be thrown into a different environment, with different people of different ages. It was complete creative freedom for two years. I also moved out of my parent's house around this time, so it feels like a massive turning point in my life.
I then went on to Brighton University, again a scary decision but a brilliant one, knowing you can move so far away from home and surround yourself with a new community is a brilliant lesson to learn.
I have fairly mixed feelings about university; I wouldn't change my decision for the world, but I think universities are at a point where eventually what we know as university will not exist, and a better system will exist. I feel as if we will eventually look back at the last few decades of university degrees as a point where people were ripped off, a low point in education.
I really can't remember what I wanted to do when I was 15; I'm not sure I had the foresight to think that far ahead. Maybe I did, but it would have been severely restricted to your typical jobs. It always amazes me how many jobs are out there; that sounds dumb, but I think as a kid you have really limited views of what a job is.
I hate mornings, so when my alarm goes off I often just want five more minutes in bed. But after that I am a creature of habit, I work between 9-6, Monday to Friday. Most of the time I look forward to work, I run my own business so I should be enjoying it, if not I severely need to re-think things. My studio is in my house, so once I'm up I don't have to go far. I'm pretty disciplined. I've prided myself on that for years, but it's only been recently that I see it as a hang up from working in a shop for so many years. I run my own business so I shouldn't be so restricted. If it's sunny out I should be able to switch stuff around to be able to enjoy that, there is nothing stopping me. That is something to work on.
Because I love my work, it is easy for me to become consumed by it. I find it easier to work longer hours than to give myself the afternoon off. I don't mind working longer hours sometimes, some projects need it, some projects are super exciting but have tight deadlines. I really start to feel the effects of it if it goes on for too long, and I resent it if it gets in the way of the other things I love doing.
I don't really have a job description, it doesn't really exist, it can be whatever I want it to be. The day to day stuff that I do often involves either sitting at my computer designing stuff, mainly paper based things, books, mail, posters, things that will eventually be printed. Or I will be researching things I will be designing in the near future. Or alternatively I will be making things, so creasing, sticking, printing, sewing paper. On the boring days, I'll be doing my accounts or filling in a mammoth spreadsheet.
I often have side projects on, I enjoy making clothes, hiking, making puppets, pop up books. But quite often side projects feed into work. For example, I spent many years making fun pop-up cards and personal books which eventually led me to a project with Alma Haser producing a pop-up book. My love of hiking has resulted in a map project. The line between work and side projects is a blurred process. I'd also be tempted to describe a personal project as one I do for no money, but that doesn't really fit either as some personal projects feel as if I should be earning money from them, and some jobs feel as if they should be for free.
I'm a massively nervous person, so I always panic about meeting up with new clients. My brain likes to ponder a problem, and I often find that when I meet clients my brain thinks it needs to have all the answers straight away. It takes quite a lot of persuasion to tell it to stop worrying and slow down. I'm lucky enough to find myself in a position that most of my clients end up becoming friends, which is exactly how I like it. It means you can meet up with someone you know you work well with no pressure to perform.
I think my family would describe work as something you do to earn money, to keep a roof over your head, to be able to afford a family, a holiday. Work takes up so much of your life, for some people it will be about money, and hopefully security. If you are lucky enough to do something you love then hopefully work becomes about deciding how to spend your limited time on this planet, deciding what you want your brain to focus on each day. I think there's probably a society requirement too; you'd like to hope that jobs add something to the society we live in, although in the complex societies we have developed maybe that is just a dream for the future.
On a day off I like being outdoors, hiking, riding my bike, looking for deer, planning adventures, getting to the top of mountains, seeing friends, cooking nice food, and doing anything that doesn't feel like work yet.
The most exciting thing I've ever seen? This probably changes fairly frequently, but the one that sprung to mind was from the other day. I was sitting in a new piece of woodland I'd discovered, alone, there was no one else walking around in that area. It was cold, but I'd sat down for some lunch. I'd already seen a deer gallop off a little bit further down the path, so I knew they were around. After a 20 minute break, just before getting up to continue walking, a group of deer, unaware that I was even there, walked just behind where I was resting. I like being that close to wild things. Either that or bears in Canada or the tops of mountains in the Lake District.
I think the qualities of a life fully lived are just to enjoy it, life is short, we will be forgotten quickly, but if you can try to squeeze in all the things you'd like to achieve without putting stuff off till tomorrow, then that doesn't sound too bad. I'd hate to regret things, decisions not made. And be nice, do good things.