What is it about? Who is it aimed at?
This is one of three publications which Hand and Lock have released. This issue is a special anniversary edition, thus a collectable piece to own, giving it a “one off” appeal. Because love the art of embroidery and it’s links with fashion, I decided to purchase it. It is not your typical “how to” manual and it’s not centred around one subject; the focus is on quality and beauty, set out in deluxe forms. It’s maybe of less interest to you if are not so much into the deeper side of embroidery, including history; yet it does prove to be an educational resource, thus would appeal to students in particular.
What does it feel like? It is a soft back publication, with thick printed pages, set out in square form. I love the emphasis on imagery over text; which allows for a rather attractive publication to the eyes. It reminds me of other publications, such as Selvedge.
The publication begins with a page of text, introducing us to what we will find within. We learn that this issue will cover the links between story and embroidery and how it can become an implement to tell our own. I liked the reminder of how many words and sayings there are within our vocabulary which hint at some form of stitching…i.e. “a thread in time”, “woven through history” and “embellish the truth”. Things we say without thought, yet it shows how entrenched these skills are within our history.
Looking at the contents, there are several areas we can divide this publication into and briefly comment on; I will highlight a few to give an overall feel of the book….
This selection of articles covered the areas where Hand and Lock have been involved recently, predominantly in the fashion world. Imagery of dresses worn by celebrities juxtaposed with where Hand and Lock have frequented are set out. I enjoyed the difference and variance conveyed here, for example one page discusses their collaborations with clothing brand Topshop, to bring embroidery to the masses, then the next page illustrates beautiful dresses which have been custom made for the Hollywood actresses.
One article on medieval embroidery really interested me; (seen within on pages 15-18). It can often be discarded, seen as old fashioned. However we can learn a lot from embroiderers’ back in the day, who really took the time to create beauty, unlike in todays age where “cheap and nasty” can be preferred over quality.
We tend to live in a want-it-now society. So it was rewarding to read an article which drew attention to our heritage, merging this in with modern contexts within the publication as a whole. This article brought the “old” into a new contemporary focus, making it appeal to a cross range of ages.
Hand and Lock Prize and interviews with the finalists
This part is a brilliant source for those who are studying subject areas relating to Textiles and Art as the winners are asked revealing questions about their pieces and the ideas which created a foundation for their subsequent results. Questions such as “what inspired you”…..can teach us a lot!
Another strong point in this section is the imagery. It feeds our imaginations and is so well photographed. Here are a few examples:
Hand and Lock had an exhibition this year in London which was only on for a small period of time. It specifically dealt with the theme of handbags. For those who didn’t see it, the main pieces have been given a page each to really showcase them. This allows us to feel as if we have really seen the pieces up close.
Also within this book, we find an interview with a curator and a designer, allowing us in to areas of creation where we would not normally be exposed to.
This book could have many uses. It could become a coffee table turner for those who love design, it could be a research tool for students, or simply something to glance through, when we have hit an artistic “wall” as it were. As Hand and Lock themselves tell us on the back page…..”We hope it inspires your soul and stirs your creativity”.
Although it can become a timeless resource, some areas to have a “date” to them. For example, information on entering the Hand and Lock competition next year has been printed and the section on previous winners is from this year. Thus this publication will be outdated at some point in the future, yet not devoid of use.
As a freelance artist, designer, lecturer and tutor (how do I narrow down that description?!) I have been contracted by numerous arts organizations to provide Talks, Workshops’ and Masterclasses’ in Textiles, Print Making and Fine Art subjects. These include branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild, Textile Study Groups and The Women’s Institute. Every year I teach at The Knitting and Stitching shows and exhibit with the Artist in Action stand. Currently I am building up to my exhibition at The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia, London this spring; having also written articles or had work illustrated in Stitch, Inspired, Embroidery, Selvedge, Daphne’s Diary, Prima (online), Cloth Paper Scissors and the Batsford book ‘Be Creative with Textile Art.'