Jo Mabbutt

Decorative Art


I am a decorative artist specialising in experimental surface decoration, combining gilding with print and hand painting. I work on a variety of surfaces, from paper to textiles to glass, and am currently developing ranges of gilded jewellery, fashion and interior accessories.

Necklace and earings

Some of my work has been accepted by Coles Wallpapers as inspiration for future collections. I also collaborate with other designers who use my materials to incorporate into fashion pieces and accessories. Norma Starszakowna’s textiles, Linda Florence’s wallpapers, and Syann van Niftrik’s jewellery inspire me.

Lace is my inspiration and main material; using antique and vintage lace to refashion into precious pieces appeals to me. Intuitive exploration with materials has resulted in contemporary surface treatments, which give my pieces a new fragility with jewel-like qualities.

I am intrigued by the transitory nature of oxidising metals and textured, distressed and distorted surfaces. Together with negative printed imagery these have revealed unexpected relationships - figurative and abstract, pierced yet strong, practical yet fragile, discarded yet precious.

I continue to explore other treatments and the use of a range of substrates, such as plastics, leathers and wood veneer that can be manipulated and distorted as surface decoration in interiors.

My initial training was in wood graining, marbling, gilding, specialist paint finishes and interior design. After gaining my Cert Ed. I taught art and design full time for six years at a College of Further Education to both adult and 16-19 year old students.

Metal Design on lace

Having recently left full-time teaching to develop new work at Central St Martin’s College of Art, I now divide my time as a designer/maker, teaching and lecturing.