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Unravelling Anorexia with Emma Codrington

Posted Nov 11 2009 10:03pm
I'm delighted to present my first of a series of interviews on inspirational people.  My first is with artist Emma Codrington who has recovered from an eating disorder and has an exhibition showing in Adelaide this coming weekend.  I am sure you will agree Emma's work, some of which she has kindly permitted me to show you here, is divine.  Thanks for being 'Beautiful You' Emma!

Julie: Hi Emma - Can you please provide me with a little information on yourself?
Emma: I am nearly 21 years old and live in Adelaide. I am only a couple of days away from completing a Bachelor of Graphic Design.  I am passionate, creative and live from the heart. I explore the world with an unbridled curiosity, with photography, writing and design being my mediums for expression.

Julie: You experienced an eating disorder as a teenager.  Can you tell me how this has shaped you to be the person you are today and how it influences your work?
Emma: I struggled with anorexia for about six years.  I experienced an intense struggle with my own self at a young age, where I wrestled with the very essence of my self esteem.  Coming through and out the other side has given me a resilience and sense of trust within myself.  This sense of self is always with me and positively affects every interaction I have in life. I believe this struggle has given me an unstoppable desire to create something powerful and beautiful with my life, now that I have the health and energy to equip me for it.

Julie:  What was the most helpful part or thing in your recovery?
Emma:  Creativity was the most helpful and influential tool in my recovery. When I was sick, I found creativity to be my only constant in a chronically unpredictable reality. Art and writing were healing, and somehow had the power to carry me as far away from the torment into a place of calm and possibility.  It kept me going; even at my lowest point.  I felt a desperate need to work on something productive, just to keep a sense of momentum. As I integrated myself back into life, creativity was just as valuable, as it become a means of self expression and helped me in creating a strong sense of identity.

Julie: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Emma: Ever since reintroducing myself into life, I have had a strong drive to embrace life and never take anything for granted.  I think my inspiration comes from experiencing the darkest point of my struggle; a point in time when I was balancing a fine line between life and death. I never want to go back there and so I am incredibly inspired to strive for challenge, connection and experience.  My art and creativity comes straight from the heart. Acting from my heart is the only way I can live. I wouldn’t feel right or true to myself if I didn’t approach everything in my life authentically this way. 

Julie:  You have an exhibition coming up which is really exciting. Tell 'Beautiful You' readers all about it and how they can attend.
Emma: Yes I do! 'Chrysalis...unravelling anorexia' offers an intimate journey through the depths of an eating disorder. 60 artworks document a raw and confronting portrayal of my own journey using a combination of whimsical photography and journal excerpts. Each of these stages involve the different emotions I experienced throughout my illness.  I decided to create an exhibition that could use my own experience and my art to generate awareness, compassion and a voice within the local Adelaide community and beyond.

Chrysalis is hosted by Intrinsic, a design studio in Adelaide (19 Chesser Street) and will opened this Friday 13th November by independent senator Nick Xenophon. It will be open to the public over next weekend, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th November, 11am - 4pm.  Limited edition, hand signed prints of artworks will be available at the exhibition, with all profits being donated to ACEDA.  To download your own invitation and for further information, go to my website:

Julie:  What role do you think art and creative therapies can play in helping someone recover from an eating disorder?
Emma:  I believe that art and creative therapies can play a powerful role in self expression, articulation of emotions and indescribable feelings, as well functioning as as a calming, mindful and healing activity to bring
some peace to sufferers. 

Julie:  Do you have any messages of support or inspiration to anyone reading who may be struggling with an eating disorder or negative body image?
Emma:  For everyone tightly bound in their own chrysalis, or for those slowly unravelling it, I send you all of my love and care.  Since struggling with an eating disorder, I see the illness with a sufferer's eyes. I believe there is a degree of clarity to my perception which extends far beyond an empathy - I understand the debilitating heartache, the alluring intoxication – a kind of paradox where logic and illogic completely switch. When I was sick, I remember being so very entrenched in my way of life and my feelings - my eating disorder completely became my identity. Nowadays, I do feel so very far removed from that person I was. I am saying this because it's how I know that it is absolutely possible to beat this, no matter how impossible it seems to you now.  If you wish to connect, I am always up for a chat or an email

Life is worth the fight, and you are absolutely worth the fight... xxx
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