FAN Feature: Emma Giacalone

For the past year, Aurifil has been working collaboratively with Fiber Art Now. It is a unique partnership that allows us to support a remarkable publication, one designed to celebrate the work of textile artists worldwide. If you’re a subscriber, you’ve likely seen the beautiful shift that the magazine has undergone in recent years– more focus on textile art and content, less focus on advertising. It’s truly like holding a subscription to a quarterly coffee table book. We often find ourselves thumbing through, getting lost in the genius of it all.

You’ll see Aurifil as one of the few ads in each publication, but rather than working a sales angle, we see it as an opportunity to showcase the work of our wildly talented Designers & Artisans. Each page puts one work of art front and center, beautifully illustrating the possibilities that exist when partnering intense creativity with a little Aurifil thread. These highlighted artists will occasionally have the opportunity to take over the FAN Instagram account, sharing their workspaces, works of art, ideas in progress, and more.

While we recognize that Aurifil and Fiber Art Now do have a cross-over audience, we also realize that many of you may not have had the opportunity to experience each feature from start to finish. We’re delighted to bring those takeovers here to Auribuzz — sharing imagery and words from Artisans & Designers doing remarkable things with Aurifil thread. We’ll kick the series off with Aurifil Artisan Emma Giacalone. A masterful textile illustrator, Emma’s artwork is uniquely captivating and we could spend hours watching videos of her stitching process. We’re excessively grateful for her willingness to share her words here and we hope that it leaves you feeling inspired and activated to try something new! 


I thought I would start by telling you a little bit about myself and what I do. I live in the Cotswolds in the UK, and have spent the last 10 years working as an embroidery artist, specialising in Freehand Machine embroidery. Just like handwriting, I think everyone’s style of free motion embroidery is a little bit different, and I think mine would be best described as being very detailed and intricate. I work without a hoop and without a foot on my sewing machine.

I am self taught, and when I first started out, I used a lot of raw-edge appliqué – particularly using Liberty fabrics – to bring colour to my work. But more recently, I’ve been enjoying doing a lot more thread painting. I’m lucky enough to be an Aurifil Artisan, and really enjoy using their threads in all of my projects.

In terms of the subject of my work and my influences, I like to draw on ordinary every day objects, often using them in reimagined ways, to celebrate how extraordinary we all are.


I really enjoy exploring subjects and themes through unexpected everyday objects. For this project, I made a series of A to Z Map covers, to help explore the theme of creativity and inspiration. As an artist, it’s not uncommon to feel a little bit lost in your work, so I loved to play on the idea of your creativity being lost… and then found with the assistance of a map.

The road maps I used in each picture are based on real street maps for areas that I have lived in, albeit with slightly less interesting road names! I’ve also included a clip of some of the writing in progress.

Which street would you pick to live on?


Another subject matter that comes up a lot in my work is food. I love exploring the idea of things being hidden in plain sight, and to me, the packaging design is the kind of thing that we regularly look at, but often don’t see.

Sometimes I like to make the packaging of products just as they are, but other times I like to make tweaks to the product wording and design. I particularly like using every day objects to discuss everyday feelings, emotions, and experiences, which I will talk more about in my next post.


Wash your hands of it– to intentionally stop being involved with, connected to, or responsible for something.

Carrying on with the theme of product packaging, this collection of imagined cleaning products was developed to explore the domestic and mental load. I chose each product to tackle a different feeling around the subject.


I thought that I would take the opportunity to show you a couple of really fun projects I have worked on in the past few years. While making regular packets of crisps, I had the idea for creating a packet of Smiths crisps using  the iconic Paul Smith signature stripe. I embroidered the swirls and put together this very special packet.

I decided there could only be one home for them, so sent them off to Sir Paul, who very kindly invited me to his studio for a chat and a cup of tea!


Holly Tucker is a real inspiration to many makers and small business owners here in the UK, myself included. When she launched her book, Do What You Love, Love What You Do in 2021, I was lucky enough to have a photograph of my work featured inside it. As a small way of saying thank you, and to commemorate the book launch, I made this keepsake box – an embroidered version of the book cover.


I feel so lucky to be part of the Aurifil Artisan team, that I thought I would dedicate my final post to some of the projects I have worked on for their Artisan Challenges in the past year.

I enjoy using all of their products, but 40wt and 50wt threads are my go-tos for my machine embroidery projects. I also really like using 80wt thread in my machine for very small work – I use it with a regular weight bobbin, and it goes through the machine without a problem!

HUGE thanks, again, to Emma for allowing us to recreate this takeover here. Have you ever tried thread illustration? Be sure to follow her on Instagram for more!

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