Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery.

The Hand and Lock Prize for Embroidery is a prestigious annual event celebrating the best in the intricate craft of embroidery. It is held at the Bishopsgate Institute in London and attended by both the public and industry professionals who wish to see the latest embroidery art.

In 2019 I applied. The brief was:

“Fool the Senses. Consider the texture and feel of your embroidery, to create embellishments with a sumptuous surface that intrigues and surprises”.

Along with many others from the UK and the rest of the world, I submitted images of my latest project, an artist statement and my concept. To my absolute shock and delight, I became a finalist and was asked to submit 2-3 mood boards and the final piece ready for the awards evening on Thursday 21st November. All finalists were also informed of their mentor who would support and guide the final submission pieces. My mentor was Diana Springall.

(I submitted images of my latest project, an artist statement, my concept and why I entered. To my absolute shock and delight, I was chosen as a finalist. All finalists were asked to submit two or three mood boards and their final piece, with the support and guidance of a specially allocated mentor. My mentor was Diana Springall.)

Diana Springall knew my work having previously purchased ‘A Bar of Drinking Chocolate, 2016’ for her large collection of textile art. We used our time to discuss the importance of embroidery being recognised as art and what I should put on my mood boards to support my entry. I had never made one before because I work according to a concept as opposed to a design. Diana said that she wanted to know how I made my work and that this should be shown to the judges.


Bish Ins
Bishopsgate Institute, London.

The finals were a two day event. On Wednesday 20 November, for the first time, we were able to see how our work was being displayed and meet the other finalists. We had the chance to get to know each other, discuss our projects and discover the ideas and processes behind each beautiful piece. The public visited, and were able to meet the makers and cast a vote for their favourite piece (this was combined with the judges’ vote).

Thursday 21 November was the awards evening. The event was incredibly busy with lots of conversations between makers and industry professionals and the live judging for the four categories:  Fashion: Open Category, Fashion: Student Category, Textile: Open Category, and Textile Art: Student Open. There were also four winners for the associate awards: Wilcom Award for Digital Embroidery: Textile Art and Fashion, The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers Award and The Worshipful Company of Broderers Award.

Here are some images from the evening courtesy of each artist:

Sheila Ramsey: Winner of Fashion: Open Category.

Sheila flew over from Canada for the prize and presented a beautiful garment made from common milkweed fluffs, candy wrappers, up cycled piping and washers, creating a wedding jacket that was luxurious, innovative and sustainable.

Sophie Reynolds: second Place, Fashion: Student Category.

Sophie created a sensual garment that suggests a connection with nature by emulating repetition in design and behaviours to improve wellbeing. Sophie explored fringing, beading, and hand embroidery using recycled plastic sequins, wood, leather and acrylics.

Hannah Mansfield: Winner of the Textile Open Category.

Hannah created four seasonly inspired, stunning gold work flower structures in gold and silver. The beautiful floral arrangements were made with metal threads and imitation pearls with an underside of self made fabric formed from metal leaf and organza.

Samantha Trevis: 2nd Place, Open Category: Textile Art.

Sam Bis Inst copy
Samantha Trevis

Samantha’s radiant work reflects the beautiful personality of her mother who has Alzheimers. Sam say

(Samantha’s radiant work reflects the beautiful personality of her mother who has Alzheimer’s. It is made with unwanted, unfashionable and broken items. Samantha says:)

“Through the darkness we find our light. I share hers, it’s too bright to be contained.”

Sam’s amazing work is made with unwanted, unfashionable and broken items.

Finally, my piece won: Third Place, Open Category: Textile Art.

The process of making my art challenges me every time I stitch. This drawing proved challenging throughout with the complex manipulation of thread in an endeavour to create textures including glass, metal, transparent plastic, ceramic tiles, corduroy, knit, crumpled fabric and leather. I never knew if I would actually be able to finish it alone entering and succeeding in one of the worlds most prestigious competitions for embroidery.

I have made some lovely new friends, seen some wonderful work and enjoyed celebrating the beautiful art of stitch. Thank you to Hand and Lock for this amazing opportunity.

For a complete view of all the finalists work, please visit Hand & Lock.




A wonderful summer

What a lovely summer my boys and I have had. Whilst it was initially hard to get very excited about all the new happenings due to a very hectic workload and a lack of good sleep, there is now time to reflect and enjoy what has happened.

Last Sunday my sons, my niece and myself spent the day in London – the visit was arranged so that I could hand deliver my piece of work ‘A bar of drinking chocolate’ to Diana Springall. At the beginning of the summer at Art in Action, Diana Springall, a  very well known  British textile artist and collector of work made by needle and thread since 1970, had purchased my piece of work to add to her collection.

At first I had had my usual rush of nerves and worried that my work just wasn’t good enough for such a collection – but this is nothing unusual for me when I am tired and running at full steam. However, after an amazing trip to New York and some time to relax with my boys, I was able to enjoy the success and appreciate the accolade. I could also realise that my anxiety over the making and selling of my work aptly fits my process of working – obsessive attention to detail with changes of threads for just a few stitches in the attempt to achieve perfection which is then lost in the final stage when the backing fabric is removed and the threads find there own space. My mistakes become part of the work and how this is interpreted is much the same how I handle issues in life itself.

With Diana Springall, Mall Galleries, London

And now there is time to realise the most important accolade – my sons’ approval and delight that I had finally let go of a piece of work and it would have a place in Diana Springall’s collection. Without Josh and Mikey’s support, my work just could’t happen and for that I will always be grateful.

Please see this link for more information on Diana Springall Textile Collection

New York, 2016

To continue the very good summer, Josh has had his own success by gaining an A* in his ‘A’ level Maths exam. Next year will be the second  year of sixth form for Josh and the start of GCSE courses for Mikey.  For myself, my first project with ‘Seam Collective’ – a shift dress that will be drawn with stitch and discuss a chronic lung condition called ‘Bronchiectasis’.