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 Couple on the Tube

It’s long overdue, but here is the finished image of my free machine embroidered drawing ‘A Couple on the Tube’. Safely back from Chelsea College of Art, it is now hanging on my wall in the workroom. The image was taken by Gould Photography.

A Couple on the Tube‘, 2018

The drawing was very exciting to make, but also extremely challenging. I started it because I needed to know if I could draw people with thread. At uni, I had tried to paint and draw people but had failed abysmally. However, I have a fascination with the human form, especially faces and couldn’t get the image of this couple out of my head.  The project started tentatively as I gathered books on portraiture and visited exhibitions on drawing. I wasn’t a trained painter, but I knew that I had to find a way to use the embroidery threads in a painterly way that would allow me to create the complex tones of flesh, textured fabrics, leather, manmade steel and rubber, transparent plastic bags and reflections in glass. Whilst this was all very frightening, I am sure that this naivety helped me to push the challenge forward to completion.


I am not sure what the next embroidered drawing will be, but I do have another photograph that is fixing itself in my head. However, it is a sensitive and emotive one that may just need a little more time to consider before I can start the process of enlarging and transferring onto dissolvable fabric.

For now, there is a lot to do with the drawing of ‘A Couple on the Tube’. From 30th November 2018, I will be exhibiting with a fabulous group of artists in a show called ‘Extremely Textiles’. This will run throughout December at the Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome, showcasing our diverse approach to textile art. I also need to try to solve the issue of the ‘Roundel’ so that I can consider the option of producing a limited number of giclée prints. I will look for further opportunities to exhibit the work, but for now, I am happy to stop, think and consider what might come next.