British textile artist, Emily Jo Gibbs, specializes in hand-stitched portraits and still life. Over the last two decades, she has established an international reputation for her delicate textiles, with her work found in several permanent museum collections including the V&A, London and The Museum of Fine Art, Houston.
Jo Gibbs divides her twenty-year plus career into three distinct periods: Handbags, Vessels, and Flat Work. “I’m very excited to be working on a series of small portraits and feel this idea will translate well to other communities,” she added in an interview with Textile Artist. “I’m very interested in finding new audiences and telling different stories perhaps by working with distinctive groups or museum collections. I’ve found the stories I tell, although extremely personal are also universal.”
Her latest body of portrait work, The Value of Making, depicts various making disciplines through to-scale representations of tools; hand-stitched exquisite still life portraits in a collage of silk organza. Jo Gibbs made these portraits to reflect how proud she is to be a member of this creative community and to celebrate the skill, dexterity, and creative problem solving of people who make things.
When it comes to her work itself, it is essentially made from hand stitch layers of silk organza. “I use mercerized cotton rather than embroidery thread, and so far because my work is small I haven’t found the need to work on a frame,” she explained. “I work from home, I like to sit at the kitchen table in front of French windows because the light is so good,” she describes the work process. “I have a metalwork bench in the garage but I do far less metal work at the moment, my flat work has taken over.”
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