The Skill of Narrative & Stitched Textiles

Fashion and Textile Museum



Fashion and Textile Museum
83 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3XF

Emily Jo Gibbs
Richard McVetis

Fashion & Textile Museum

Thursday 14 January 2021 


Tickets £5 (+ £0.50 Booking Fee)

! This talk will take place on the streaming platform Microsoft Teams Live. Details of how to access the talk will be included in your booking confirmation.

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Please ensure you are using the most recent operating system on your device and you can access Microsoft Teams to ensure you have the best experience. The talk starts at 6pm and lasts for approximately one hour, followed by a Q&A session at the end. If you have any questions regarding this talk, please get in touch via this contact form.

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The Skill of Narrative & Stitched Textiles

Innovative & Conceptual Textiles

The 62 Group of Textile Artists presents The Skill of Narrative & Stitched Textiles, the third talk in their popular annual lecture series at the Fashion and Textile Museum. This lecture will introduce 62 Group members Emily Jo Gibbs and Richard McVetis and their respective projects The Value of Making and The Potential of Stitch.

The Value of Making (a series of hand stitched portraits of makers) by Emily Jo Gibbs
Emily investigates how 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 their portraits, a quiet, thoughtful act of care and value.

Emily will describe how this project grew out of a collaboration with Bridget Bailey exploring how one might make a portrait of an Artist, and evolved into the championing of people who make things for a living, depicting them through the tools that they use. Initially Emily chose seven contemporary Makers whose work she admired because of their design aesthetic, making skills and materiality, across a broad range of disciplines.

Katie Treggiden wrote, ‘there are things Emily is able to articulate through the physically invested work of stitching…. that might elude both writers and photographers’.

Gibbs will conclude by talking about her latest project that continues the conversation

The Potential of Stitch by Richard McVetis
This paper explores a 15-year fascination and obsession with a single stitch technique and how the expressive properties of this process have enabled Richard to visualise abstract concepts such as Time and Space.

It is through stitch and making that Richard investigate time and place. Using hand embroidery, he records his time through multiples of dots, lines, and crosses meticulously stitched. Each drawn mark or stitch is a mantra; the stitches become markers of lived time. This seemingly humble, inconsequential repetitive action often overlooked and dismissed as part of the mundane. Connotations of the domestic reduce these actions to the field of the home, of the amateur, for Richard, however, it restores a sense of order. It informs a more profound comprehension and connection to the world. There is intimacy in this labour-intensive way of making; the ritual and repetition create an in-depth focus and an internal Space-Time specific to the artist. This thinking will be explored through a series of McVetis’s recent artworks, whilst also referring to the practice of Agnes Martin and Vija Celmins, whose deep focus and skill helped translate feelings and the world around them.


Emily Jo Gibbs creates Portraits and Still life’s constructed from pieces of coloured silk organza, which is hand sewn together with tiny meticulous stitches placed one at a time to capture a likeness. Still expressions add to the quiet gentleness of the work for which Emily is known.

Emily’s body of work The Value of Making depicts Contemporary Makers through to scale representations of their tools; hand-stitched in her signature style. Emily made these portraits to reflect how proud she is to be a member of this creative community and to celebrate the skill, dexterity and the creative problem solving of people who make things. Concerned about the position of making in the hierarchy of skills we value as a society and how this is exacerbated by the decline of making in schools Emily started celebrating makers as a constructive retort.

Emily is a member of Contemporary Applied Arts, The 62 Group of Textile Artists, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She exhibits regularly in the UK.

Alongside her Art practice Emily teaches workshops and master classes and welcomes commissions.
Between 1993 and 2006 Emily was the Creative Director of Emily Jo Gibbs, luxury handbags.

Richard McVetis uses a range of media, including drawing, installation, and textiles, to explore our perception of space and time. His minimalist work is an endless exploration, not just of form but of the reclamation and potential of process and repetition — a step-by-step examination of perspective and scale which unearths the human condition.

Finalist of the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize, Richard’s artwork has been celebrated in galleries, art fairs, and museums across the world including Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, South Korea, UAE, and the USA. Richard has been a finalist for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2011 and 2017, a finalist for the Cheongju International Craft Prize in 2015 and was selected to be part of the British Pavilion, Form + Motion at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in 2017.

McVetis, is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in 2008, he lives and works in London.


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