Emily Jo Gibbs has established an international reputation for her hand-stitched portraits and still lifes, observing the quiet beauty of the overlooked. Gently advocating The Value of Making by creating work that celebrates the skill, dexterity and creative problem-solving of people who make things. Emily says “I’m interested in the idea that by taking the time to slowly describe someone in stitch, you convey your admiration. Celebrating people who make things by the investment of time in making the work, a quiet, thoughtful act of care and value”.
Portrait of an Engineer comprises three works: Chuck Key on Lathe, Bridgeport Milling Machine and Swarf Brush on Mill, inspired by a visit to the engineering department of the Natural History Museum. Emily spoke at length to Steve Suttle, engineering manager, a fascinating and knowledgeable person with a lifetime’s experience of making. The machine tools were the stars of the show, oily giants covered in sparkling swarf.
The Boat Builders documents two marine engineer apprentices, two shipwright apprentices and their foreman working at Berthon boatyard, Lymington. Emily shines a light on young people who prefer a hands-on approach, whose knowledge and skill is gained through doing, learnt through making, and highlights the importance of skilled labour. This project was supported by Arts Council England.
Emily’s work is in museum collections including V&A and Crafts Council. She is a member of Contemporary Applied Arts, The 62 Group of Textile Artists and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Emily is part of Design-Nation, presenting at The Future of Craft, Oxo Tower Wharf for London Craft Week.