Embroider a decorative silk purse with metal frame with Emily Jo Gibbs

Ref: SLW32739

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About this course

Inspired by purses in Emily's handbag archive, create a spherical purse with metal frame. Guidance will be given on design and different ways to decorate your purse, including silk-paint, embroidery and beading.

Course Description

Cover and decorate two buckram mesh domes, which are the basis of your purse. You can decorate with one of Emily’s designs, for example, a ‘needle painted bird’ as illustrated or with your own design that may incorporate silk painting, embroidery, beading or embellishments that you bring with you.

Emily will offer different designs and demonstrate different decorative techniques, including using silk paint, layering and embroidery. Direction for designing and planning decoration for a round object will be given, plus guidance for what is achievable, depending on your skill level.

Once both halves are covered and decorated, you will:

Attach the metal frames

Prepare and sew in the linings

Sew a hinge and finish off by making cords and tassels that create the closing/handle

By the end of the course, you will have a finished purse and lots of transferable skills to use on future projects.

Emily Jo Gibbs has been designing and making beautifully crafted sculptural evening bags since the early 1990s. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Crafts Council in London, and The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. During her career, Emily has had many illustrious customers, including Neiman Marcus, Barneys and Takashimaya in the U.S., Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Libertys in London, HP France in Japan and Emmanuel Ungaro in Paris.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. 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 for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, 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 are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply most of the materials, including:
  • 2 x mesh domes
  • 2 x metal frames (brass, gold coloured)
  • 4 x fabric for outers (2 x crepe-backed satin, 2 x silk organza)
  • 2 x fabric for linings (2 x crepe-backed satin)
  • Thread for cords and tassels

What students need to bring

  • The kit does not include sewing threads or embroidery threads, so please bring a selection.
  • Pins and needles for hand embroidery
  • Small scissors
  • You might want a thimble.
  • Optional: if you have a specific idea/theme you would like to decorate your purse with, bring please sketches, photos etc.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A small selection of embroidery threads, needles, pins and thimbles are usually in stock
  • Available from tutor:
  • Extra packs

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


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.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.