An accomplished undergraduate dress and costume maker, Emily progressed from an English degree to a diploma in Clothing Technology and became a pattern maker for the fashion designer Jean Muir. After completing her Master of Fine Arts at Yale School of Art she practised as a graphic designer at Pentagram in New York before embarking on a series of national and international programme director roles in the arts, design and education.
In 2012, a quilt made from old denim and canvas work clothes featured in an exhibition about Gee’s Bend (the famed quilting community in Alabama). This prompted Emily to up-cycle the family’s old jeans into her first patchwork quilt. She studied rhythm, rule and variation in Anni Albers’ pattern drawings. She took inspiration from Gustav Klimt, Victor Pasmore and Ellsworth Kelly, and many more artists besides. Emily is the founder of Pemberton Qwilts. This takes its name from Sheila Frances Hayes, née Pemberton, who first taught Emily to sew.
Three of Emily’s ‘TV Quilts’ were commissioned by Anya Hindmarch for her concept store at London Fashion Week 2023. These bear a single word of personal significance. Pemberton Qwilts were featured by PINCH in London Craft Week, 2023, and Emily was also among the textile artists selected for a group show at David Parr House, Cambridge that year.
Portrait by James Merrell for PINCH.