Jo Harris trained as a classical pianist and composer at the Royal
Academy of Music and King’s College London prior to embarking on her path
as an artist. She worked initially in ink but gradually began to focus
entirely on adapting centuries-old goldwork techniques to her own
artistic ends. It is probably no surprise, therefore, that the
fascination with repetition of movement engendered in musical practice
rears its head here in the controlled and repetitive actions used in
Goldwork (metal thread work) is an embroidery technique believed to have
originated in the East that has been in use in Europe for many hundreds
of years with surviving examples dating back to the tenth century. It has
been used in ecclesiastical vestments as well as robes for monarchs and
The technique for working the metal threads involves varying methods of
tying/couching down the metal onto a tightly stretched fabric with padded
areas, or stitching down segments of hollow metal threads to fill shaped
areas. There are endless artistic and technical decisions to be made
which can maximize the wonderful opulent effect of the technique.
Particularly appealing to the artist are the slow characterful changes
that occur in the patina of the metal over time giving the artwork an
ongoing evolution of its own.
Jo is currently working on a collection of lavish and densely worked
pieces celebrating ‘Life before death’.