The Christmas season is well and truly here! A time for thick jumpers, mulled wine, Bing Crosby and East 17 on repeat and gold, lots and lots of gold.
Last month I was very happy to accept an invitation to the Hand & Lock embroidery Prizegiving event at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. If you haven’t heard of Hand & Lock, they are among the main players of the embroidery industry in Britain, and have a long history dating back to to 1767 – making them the oldest embroidery house in London. They provide services to the Royal Family, the Military, Saville Row as well as European fashion houses.
The Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery was started in 2000 to encourage and reward the next generation of embroiderers. It’s a great opportunity for students and new designers to share their expertise and gain useful industry contacts and experience. The prize receives submissions from all over the world and once the entries are chosen the work is exhibited in London every November. This year , on 15th November, the exhibition was open for the day and followed by the prize giving in the evening. Visitors also had the opportunity to vote for their favourite, helping to decide the winners. There were two Hand embroidery categories split into two sub-categories, Fashion and Textile Art (with two winners for each – Student and Open Category). There was also a prize for Digital Embroidery, again with a student and open category prize. The brief this year was Material Alchemy meets Modern Morality, encouraging entrants to celebrate culture, gender, and individual heritage, whilst exploring materials and processes. Seventeen awards were given in total (with nine first place awards) – the winners recieving an impressive hand embroidered plaque. Sadly, I do not have enough space to run through every finalist or winner, but you can see the full list of winners here.
Instead, I have picked out a few of my favourite pieces from the exhibition. First Prize winner in the Hand Embroidery, Fashion, Student category was won by Emma Wilkinson. I’ve been lucky enough so see Emma’s work in the flesh several times, and am always in awe of this her incredible talent. She combines traditional hand embroidery techniques such as beading and goldwork with modern thinking and technology. Her piece involved thermochromatic interactivity, aiming to highlight how we cling to tradition whilst striving for change.
Maud Thomas came away with First Prize in the Hand Embroidery, Fashion, Open Category. Using a mix of traditional embroidery techniques to create a contemporary concept, Maud’s vintage trench coat, with satirical embroidery, told the story of issues facing our current society that was both thought-provoking and beautiful.
Maud Thomas can be found on instagram here.
Not a winner on the night sadly, but I LOVED Laura Marsden’s delicate head pieces that conveyed the issue of waste materials in the world. Using plastic bags and turning them into lace, transforming waste into treasure. She also uses her work to highlight the physical manifestations of anxiety and depression and how they are exacerbated by modern life.
Silvia Perramon Rubio was awarded First Place in the category for Hand Embroidery, Textile Art, Open Category. When you see this piece you can probably understand why I love it – it’s so gold and shiny! Her sequined and embellished depiction of Andy Warhol in Luneville embroidery represents her passion for hand embroidery.
Silvia can be found on instagram here.
I also loved Lisa Carroll’s work and also the winner of the Wilcom Digital Embroidery Award for Fashion, Amelia Taylor. Alex Standring who was my featured artist last month, came away with first prize in the Student Textile Art category (read last months post all about Alex’s work here). To be honest – I loved all of the finalists work, it’s been so hard to pick a few.
If you are interested in entering for next years prize, registration is now open and you can enter through Hand & Lock’s website, where you will find the brief and all the information you need.
That’s it for this month, and the last post of 2018! See you in January for more Goldworx. Merry Christmas!
Hattie McGill is a hand embroidery artist based in Buckinghamshire. She creates three dimensional interior pieces and fashion accessories and specialises in the embroidery techniques of stumpwork and goldwork. She also is a freelance embroiderer for film, costume and fashion.