I was miles away from the nearest coastline or national park when I met with Emily on Zoom during lockdown. Emily smiles back at me through the computer. She is serene with her newborn son, Albert, asleep on her chest. It is difficult to resist falling into the dreamy world that Emily Botelho’s works create. Emily’s pieces are characterised by their textures, colours, and forms. Each piece is unique. Precious stones, shell fragments, tufts of thread, and beads adorn abstract panes of embroidery. The effect is captivating and sweeps us into the imagined landscapes she recreates.
Emily practices as a full-time fibre artist and sells her works online. She has over 115,000 followers on her Instagram account @salt_stitches, and streams of traffic on her Etsy store. Before becoming an online fiber artist sensation, Emily had a 10-year career in fashion and beauty, which is where she honed her eye for aesthetics. “The joke that I make is that I couldn’t sew a button before this. It’s not something that I grew up doing; there’s no brilliant story of being taught to sew by my grandmother. It very much came out of the ether.”