Art textiles

Textile pictures with silk organza appliqué and hand stitching with Emily Jo Gibbs

Ref: SSS09887

Suitable for all

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Places available

About this course

Working with silk organza and hand stitch create a delicate appliqué portrait or still-life. With an emphasis on really looking at the subject you choose, studying shape, colour and tone.

Course Description

You will work at your own pace on an individual hand stitched picture as you learn key embroidery and textiles techniques. Whether you are a complete beginner or are looking to develop your practice, Emily has a relaxed informal teaching style and will encourage everyone to get the most out of their week.

You will begin by making test pieces looking at layering the organza, mixing colours, blending, fraying and shadows. Then you will explore making stitches, long and short stitches, gaps, trapping edges and raw edges, and how positioning the needle has different effects, stab stitch verses running stitch. Test pieces are used throughout the week to try things out. Emily will discuss ideas for your portrait or still life project with you on a one-to-one basis.

Having discussed your ideas you will make a paper collage to work from, this may simply be a photocopy of a favourite photograph or you may prefer to set up a still life in the studio and make a drawing. You will be engouraged to think about composition and to work at your own pace. You will then look at how to transfer images to the cloth. using pencil, silk paint and watercolour. There will also be consideration and advice on including text and cutting organza pieces accurately and according to tone.

Working from the picture you have made, you will create an organza collage that will be the backdrop for your hand stitching. The collage will be well tacked together in readiness for hand stitching.

With this accomplished the focus shifts to observational stitching. Really looking at the subject whether it be a photograph or a still life set up in front of you. You will be encouraged to observe and represent in stitch the colour and tone and line of what you are looking at. This includes: using a broken line, looking at light and dark areas, long and short stitches and direction of stitches as well as; eyes, lips, noses, text, sticks and stems. Also what to leave out and let your minds eye get to work.

If you complete your piece you can start a new piece or, for example have a go at a portrait if you started with a still life or visa versa. Additional ways to represent other aspects as you translate your image with observational stitching are introduced as required, e.g. for teeth, eye lashes and beards. In addition Emily will show you how she mounts her own work.

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. Dinner is included for non-resident students throughout the week to enable participation in these events.

Special Summer School features:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short swap-over session to another course of your choice

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)

• A celebration dinner on the last evening

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • Linen and silk organza for 2 x A5 test pieces and 2 x A4 finished piece.

What students need to bring

  • A selection of threads (Emily uses cotton or polycotton i.e. Coats or Gutterman but stranded threads or fine silk threads are also fine) needles, pins, fabric scissors and paper scissors, an HB pencil.
  • To make a portrait – bring a photograph to work from, printed out or photocopied max size A4, several copies including a black and white version would be helpful.
  • To make a still life – bring an A4 photograph or drawing of your subject and the subject i.e. if you have drawn a stick in a jam jar, if possible bring the stick and the jam jar too.
  • If you prefer you can make a drawing (whilst on the course there is time to do this)
  • If you would like to mount your work an A4 piece of foam board.
  • If you have them a few watercolours or fabric paint and brushes (not essential)
  • Remember your sewing glasses / magnifier if required.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Some sewing machine threads and limited stranded threads, needles, pins and other sewing requisites
  • Sketchbooks, pencils and drawing tools


Emily Jo Gibbs

Emily Jo Gibbs is a British artist who over the last two decades has established an international reputation for her exquisite work. Emily also has experience delivering workshops, practical demonstrations and artists talks for a variety of clients including the V&A, Embroiderers guilds and the Crafts Council. Emily is a member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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