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Letter from Isabel: Craft
Letter from Isabel: Craft
Letter from Isabel: Craft
Each year at Connolly during London Craft Week, we welcome the chance to celebrate craft, from silver smiths to chair designers. In May from 13th to18th, we welcome Emily Campbell, a truly creative hand quilter of great skill and knowledge. This Craft week we are showing a selection of extraordinary, quilted works from her practice. There is also a physical demonstration of hand quilting by Emily, in the gallery upstairs during London Craft Week (dates and times below).
Somehow quilting represents so much about what I personally love; its hand and eye coordination at an extreme level and it’s also tidy (using up old fabrics) and useful (it keeps you warm) and highly decorative. But at heart, the quilt is a work of art and love that can be passed down from generation to generation… everything we cherish at Connolly. To celebrate Craft Week we have commissioned Emily to create two beautiful, exclusive designs for Connolly, using off-cut fabrics from our summer collection and hand dyed linens from Polly Lister at Dyeworks; the single bed sized quilts are sold individually or as pairs and are available to buy from the shop.
More about Emily and her studio Pemberton Qwilts…Emily Campbell progressed from an English degree at Cambridge to a diploma in clothing technology and became a pattern maker for the fashion designer Jean Muir. After completing her MFA at Yale School of Art she practised as a graphic designer at Pentagram in New York before a series of national and international programme director roles in the arts, design and education. Her knowledge of sewing now combines with formal and visual principles to drive a return to two-dimensional design via the patchwork quilt. Sheila Frances Hayes, née Pemberton, taught Emily to sew.

Emily looks at traditional patchwork and marvels at the geometric phenomena that women (for the most part) down the centuries discovered on their laps and at their fingertips – by cutting and combining and rotating shapes; or simply by stitching pieces of cloth right sides together and opening them to create a new shape that straddles a seam. In 2012 a quilt made from old denim and canvas work clothes in an exhibition about Gees Bend (the famed quilting community in Alabama) prompted her to up-cycle the family’s old jeans into her first patchwork quilt. She studied rhythm, rule and variation in Anni Albers’s pattern drawings. She looked at Gustav Klimt, Victor Pasmore and Ellsworth Kelly for inspiration, and many more artists besides. She interpreted traditional patchwork geometry but dispensed with the floral prints in favour of bold combinations of solid colour.

In 2019 Emily designed a modular patchwork alphabet. Her ‘pandemic project’, Evensong, is the seed of an evolving collection of typographic hand quilts bearing messages of comfort and protection. Emily Campbell is author of A Few Minutes of Design: 52 Activities to Spark Your Creativity, published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2018 and described by Pentagram Partner Michael Bierut as “a marvellous invitation to anyone with an interest in creativity, invention and design".
- Isabel
We are celebrating Emily's craft and the opening of London Craft Week on the 13th May with drinks at Connolly, 4 Clifford Street, between 3pm and 6pm. Please let us know if you can join us; click here to RSVP.
Emily and all of us at Connolly look forward to seeing you!

Craft Week Demonstration Times

13, 14, 15 & 17 May 3pm - 5pm 
16 May 12pm - 2pm
18 May 10am - 12pm


Contact: for enquiries