Emily Jo Gibbs



Emily Jo Gibbs creates hand-stitched textiles with a delicate graphic quality. Her portraits and still lifes are constructed from a collage of silk organza pieces and she delights in observing the quiet beauty of things: a knobbly stick, the worn handle of a well-used tool, a still moment.

Emily’s body of work The Value of Making comprises portraits of makers as expressed mainly through their tools, and underlining her pride in being a member of a creative community; celebrating the skill, dexterity and creative problem-solving of people who make things. The Value of Making also reflects concerns about the position of making in the hierarchy of skills valued by society and how this is exacerbated by the decline of making in schools. Emily realised some years back that making things is totally linked with sense of self, and intensely values how this makes her happy.

Emily is now returning to making family portraits, working more freely from her drawings. She says she is slightly obsessed with light illuminated ears and making them glow. In her 2021 portrait of her son Fred who has just turned 17, she plays with the idea of using a very muted colour pallet combined with an unexpected pop of neon orange. She sees great craft as, “Skill gained through repetition of process combined with material understanding, style and imagination.”

Emily lives and works in London and joined the Design-Nation portfolio in 2020.