Portrait Projects

Kids Today

'Kids Today' came about because Emily was keen to stitch children other than her own. Emily lives on a small cul–der-sac in South East London and very unusually, lots of children play games together in the street. They ride bikes and roller skate and dress up and make movies. They climb lamp posts and kick balls and fall out and make up. They have picnics and water fights and they grow up together. One by one they came and sat at Emily’s kitchen table, most eager to take part in the project, some less sure but keen not to miss out.

Emily’s ‘Kids Today’ project is such a beautifully crafted way of remembering how our children were at a certain stage of their childhood. Our own children’s embroidered portraits are always noticed and commented upon in our home, as they are so unusual and capture the essence of the kids perfectly.
— Justine Dellaway
Ava 2015
Francis 2015
Violet 2015
I am one of Emily’s neighbours, and my two children took part in the Kids Today project. The pictures Emily produced were a beautiful record of a moment in time when a large group of children would play out for hours on end, laughing, falling out and back in, coming up with amazing imaginary games, and making crazy movies. We never really thought about buying the pictures, until we saw them in the exhibition, when we realised we could not bear not to have them. Our children are now two years older, and the portraits hang on our wall. I look forward to keeping them, and looking back to remind ourselves, not just of our own kids, but also the community they grew up in.
— Lucy Verity

Stitching a Love Story

Having children  made Emily reflect on her own upbringing and priorities. The portrait work examines the relationships between family members, the joys and the frustrations. Determined to make work that was personal and creatively rewarding, Emily  embarked on a series of portraits. Initially she made portraits of her children and embroidered them with her thoughts, wishes and aspirations. The message isn’t a sentimental one, but rather a list of instructions. Advice that might help them to navigate the contradictory messages that life presents us with. Emily is very interested in the mixed messages we are bombarded with and how we navigate and disseminate this information.

Why Don't You

‘turn off your screens and do something more interesting instead’ Bill and Fred skilfully manipulate their mother in their unrelenting quest to play computer games. Emily’s childhood was filled with making and she regrets that theirs is not.

2014, Linen, silk organza applique, hand embroidered - 56cm x 67cm  -  POA

Sweet Sixteen - SOLD

As a child Emily was always making things and her mum was always making things too. 
Mary Jane skillfully and patiently filled her children with confidence in their ability to make things, a great gift.

2012 Silk organza, cotton, paint, hand stitch 18cm x 27cm

Slaley - SOLD

At the bottom of Sasha’s garden beyond the long grass and the stream, there is a shed on stilts.

The perfect place for hiding out and playing pirates.

2014, Linen, silk organza applique, hand embroidered


Fred "Be inventive you have a fantastic imagination" 2010

Billy "Don't rush, it takes time to do things well" 2011


Emily thoughtfully observes her family and explores the contradictory messages parents give their children. These pieces express her hopes, fears and aspirations for her sons.

What do you want to be?

Portrait of a child leaning against the Museum of Natural History in New York. 2016, Linen, silk organza applique, hand embroidered - 60cm x 69cm - SOLD

What do you want to be? 

Portrait of a child leaning against the Museum of Natural History in New York. 2016, Linen, silk organza applique, hand embroidered - 60cm x 69cm

Inspired by the 62 Group exhibition theme Making Space.  Emily decided to make an embroidery of her friends son in his Astronaut costume, she thought the moose on the stone facade made such a great composition. 'In equal measure I have enjoyed and worried about the space and subtlety the stone wall gives this piece'. EJG