Encouragement From Jessa Fairbrother

I approached Jessa Fairbrother via email in order to receive feedback/advice about how best to keep the reverse of my embroidered photography tidy.

Although she didn’t give direct guidance, she did say that I was clearly doing things ‘right’ and that we all sew differently, and my development would come with time and exparience.

Part of me feels child-like by asking for direction, as though I can’t stand on my own two feet. However, the reality is that I wish to be an exhibiting photographer, and I will benefit from seeking and accepting the critique of others.

ConstellationsFig. 1. Minor Constellation 1; 2018

Jessa Fairbrother sews on top of photographs to use “the body-as-site to explore communal meanings and is concerned with making explicit the moment when performed gesture and gaze of the viewer collide.” (Fairbrother; 2019). She uses needlework as exploration and reclamation of her body.


Figure 1 Fairbrother, J; 2018; Minor Constellation I [Silver Gelatin Print and hand sewn tbread]; AT: https://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/print-sales/explore-artworks/minor-constellation-i-2018


Fairbrother, J; 2019; About/Contact; Online: AT: http://www.jessafairbrother.com/about.html

16 Replies to “Encouragement From Jessa Fairbrother”

  1. Good for you for taking that plunge Richard. Her work is amazing. I think you follow Jamie Rawlings as well? I’m sure he’s shown the backs of his images sometimes.Could be worth getting in touch with him as well.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Coincidentally, there was an Instagram post from him today (Saturday) a brief video where he was turning the card back to front so you could see the back of it – a bit fast though. Definitely worth getting in touch with him if you get chance.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the affirmation Judy. Did you get to see John Stezaker in London? I think it may have been to far away for you, but I thought of you on the night. His collages with found photos reminded me of the body of work which you are producing.


  2. I adore Fairbrother’s work. Really great for you to reach out via email… takes strength to do that, I think. I like how you’re considering the reverse… how to keep it neat/tidy. That said, I also like what the reverse would say if it turned into a messy lump. I’m not saying to purposely make it messy but, you know, go with the flow…. let it turn into what it will be. If you decide to photograph the reverse, it will say so much about those things we keep out of view. Just my thoughts. What you’re doing is working wonderfully.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My works are rather messy, I tape loose threads and knots with plumbers tape. I’m getting a bit tidier with the process. The members of the OCA London Regional Group said the same as you, and that perhaps I could hang the so the viewer could walk around both sides. The reverse then being a reflection of the inner turmoil when I’m in an anorexic phase. Which I like. Its an additional strength. However, I don’t like viewing the front unless the reverse is on a flat surface as the tape becomes visible. It interferes with how I want to present the front of the image.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What lovely work from Jessa Fairbrother, it was a good idea to make contact with her, I guess it is like any other skill you just need to practise. You appear to be making good progress Richard, I am really looking forward to the finished item.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh wow, how gorgeous! I’m so glad she wrote back. You know, I felt that way writing to you first time, like a child, very unsure. You were amazingly kind and helpful — amazing because it’s rare. I don’t know if I ever properly thanked you for that. I’m really grateful for your kindness and for our connection. Thank you, Richard. I hope someday to see your name and your show in lights — and to be there to celebrate with you! ā™„.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad that you reached out and its definitely not child like – I think it’s very brave of you, in fact, keep doing that. there’s no harm in asking especially the fact that it is so rewarding when they do answer.

    Liked by 1 person

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