Embroidery Mentorship Programme

Meet the mentors

The Hand & Lock Embroidery Mentorship Programme was introduced in 2013 to provide the selected finalists receive the opportunity to work closely with an industry expert and develop their designs. Each finalist has an opportunity to perfect their design with expert help in the run up to the final stage of the Prize: the live judging at the Prize-giving.


Previous mentors include designers Zandra Rhodes, Ed Marler and Amy Betts, editor of Selvedge magazine Polly Leonard and textile artists Alice Kettle, Sam Roddick and Diana Springall.  In previous years many finalists have gone on to forge close personal and professional relationships with their mentors; receiving career guidance as well as help and support through the Prize process.

This year’s mentors have an invaluable wealth of expert, industry knowledge and experience accross fashion, textiles, art and design.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor please get in touch at prize@handembroidery.com.

Angie Wyman

Angie Wyman leads the BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art at the Royal School of Needlework. Angie’s first degree was in Embroidered textiles. Working specifically within embroidery, craft and design, Angie has more than 20 years’ experience of working within Higher Education at Degree and Masters level. Angie is both a practitioner and an academic with a career-long commitment to the promotion and continued practice of embroidery. Angie has exhibited works internationally, with pieces held in both public and private collections and has developed and managed a number of prestigious international textile projects.

Angie developed collaborative partnerships with the Australian National University, Canberra and Novia University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland, culminating in country – specific exhibitions, workshops and conferences. Angie completed a successful residency at the Australian National University in 2012. Angie was appointed Panel Judge for the Embroiderers’ Guild Scholar Award in 2014 / 2015 / 2016 and the Schools’ National Fashion Competition in 2015 / 16. Angie is an External Examiner within Higher Education at degree level. She has experience of Quality Enhancement for HE through course writing, validation and chairing validation panels.

Aram Han Sifuentes

Aram Han Sifuentes uses a needle and thread as her tools to examine immigration, citizenship, race and craft. Her work has been exhibited and performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Wing Luke Museum of Asian Pacific American Experience, Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

She is a 2016 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow and a 2016 3Arts Awardee. She earned her BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is currently a lecturer.

Carol Alayne

Carol Alayne is a master tailor and haute couture specialist with over 30 years professional experience both in Savile Row and at a number of leading fashion houses. Leaving her successful banking career in 1988, she moved from the US to London in order to pursue her passion for the craft of bespoke tailoring. Here, she quickly developed a reputation for working across disciplines; tailoring, haute couture and field sports. She has been connected with the houses of Chanel, Huntsman, Gieves & Hawkes, Welsh & Jefferies, Hardy Amies and Holland & Holland.

In 2008 she relocated her studio to Spitalfields (London) and set up Tailoring for Women Ltd; a specialist bespoke service for women. She is a regular public speaker, most notably alongside Jaeger in the V&A’s special seminar devoted to the evolution of women’s tailoring, and collaborates regularly with the designer Georgina Godley, acknowledged as one of the fashion game changers of this century.

Davida Hadden

Davida Hadden Co-Founder of Alfie Douglas, a unique business built around a family and their individual creative instincts. Having owned creative businesses for many years Davida and husband Simon have developed a brand combining traditional manufacturing

techniques with modern marketing and brand design making quality leather goods in their studio in London. Her passion lies with the design and manufacturing process and to revitalise and highlight some of the skills that Britain is renowned for.

Diana Springall

Diana Springall is one of Britain’s best known textile artists. Her 50 year career in textiles includes appointments as a panel lecturer at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and chairman of both the Embroiderers’ Guild and the Society of Designer Craftsmen. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and her work can be found in many private and

public collections. Diana is heavily involved with embroidery within both education and museums/collections. She has been instrumental in promoting embroidery in the Fine Art world, and has been a teacher and mentor to a significant proportion of today’s greatest artists working in stitch, including Alice Kettle.

Geraldine Wharry

Geraldine Wharry’s experience as a fashion trend forecaster and designer has led her to collaborate across the style industry in fashion, beauty, interiors, electronics, technology and retail. After designing bestselling collections in New York and Los Angeles for leading fashion brands, she moved to London. There she gravitated to trend forecasting within the top agencies in this field.

She now runs her consultancy, with a global reputation for thought provoking presentations, visionary reports and accuracy at predicting future trends. She is also know for her online platform Trend Atelier with followers ranging from Nike to Yoox and Louis Vuitton.

Jess de Wahls

Originally from Berlin, Jess de Wahls is a London based textile artist who creates hand-sewn relief portraits from up cycled clothing adorned with embroidered elements, a technique for which she has coined the term ‘Retex Sculpture’.

Encouraging social change and gender equality, exploring Feminism and embracing recycling and reuse are paramount to her practice.

Laura Perryman

An expert in colour and materials design and trend forecasting, Laura has a proven track record of creating groundbreaking color, finish, and material design solutions for clients such as: Toyota, Habitat, 3M, Panasonic Europe, Nokia, Speedo and DuPont Solid Surfaces. In addition her expertise have been brought into bespoke material research projects with innovation agencies such as Native, The Future Laboratory and WGSN.

She is also part-time Lecturer in BA Surface Design at Bucks New University, as well as running consultancy, Colour of Saying, which specialises in future experiential design with colour and materials.

Polly Leonard

Polly Leonard is the Founder of Selvedge, an internationally renowned textile magazine that was launched in 2003. From its modest beginning as a one-off publication created in Polly’s front room, the magazine revolutionised the way textiles are presented and quickly became the world’s leading textile publication. It now has a readership of over 75,000 and a dedicated international following. As well as a magazine, Polly has since launched an online and bricks and mortar shop, seasonal artisan fairs and creative collaborations with the likes of Anthropologie, The National Trust and the V&A.

Polly has a specialist knowledge in all aspects of textiles, with particular interest in the role textiles has played in the evolution of humanity. Her own textile practice encompasses using weaving embroidery and basketry techniques to produce none functional sculptural forms. She has taught and lectured around the world from high school to adults. Selvedge combines her passions for social history, fine art and craft.

Sera Waters

Sera Waters is a South Australian based artist, art writer and academic. Since being awarded the Ruth Tuck Scholarship to study hand embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework (UK) in 2006, Waters’ art practice has been characterised by a darkly stitched meticulousness. In particular she specialises in black work, and revels in repetitiveness, pattern and crafting.

Waters’ embroideries and hand-crafted sculptures dwell within the gaps of Australian settler colonial histories, mostly to examine the home-making practices of women and her own genealogical ghostscapes. Waters exhibits nationally and is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery.

Zoe Miller

Zoe has been a textile designer since graduating from the RCA in 2002. With a studio at Cockpit Arts in she has established herself as a constructed textile designer working for a range of companies across a variety of applications; including interiors, fashion, technology and costume. From her studio Zoe also designs ranges of accessories for fashion and home, with an emphasis on craftsmanship and simple styling.

Since 2009 Zoe has combined her design business with lecturing and now runs the Knit pathway at Bucks New University. The challenge of fostering new design talent has been a great accompaniment to her design practice.

Alice Walsh

Alice Walsh is a designer and the founder of accessories brand Alice Made This. The brand celebrates British manufacturing, industrial engineering and raw materials and has shown at London Collections: Men, Tranoï and Pitti Uomo. After completing her furniture and product design degree in Nottingham, Alice built a career designing with notable brands including Habitat,

Tom Dixon, industrial design agency Forpeople, Conran, DeBeers, Red Bull and British Airways. With a passion and respect for factories, Alice analyses a manufacturing process and then designs accordingly.

Beata Kania

Beata Kania is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. She holds a position of adjunct faculty in the Fashion Studies Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harper College and Columbia College. She also taught at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India, and has been honoured with Educator of the Year Award. Storytelling, mystique, folklore, history and mastery of old-world crafts, define Beata Kania’s signature artwork, a compilation of sculpture, textiles and painting. Given her multidisciplinary skills, Beata Kania has been engaged in variety of fascinating projects that range from designing and staging historical costumes and public installations, to collaborating on an animated film, a finalist at the Toronto Film Festival.

She has exhibited her work at the Art Institute of Chicago, Fashion Resource Center at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, American Arts and Crafts Expo at Northwestern University, SOFA, Evanston Art Center, Nashville Public Library, Athenaeum Theater, and Barrington Art Center. Winner of Hand and Lock, International Embroidery Competition in 2010 and 2013, and a proud advisor to her students at Harper College, winners of the Student Category in 2015 and 2016, she is honored to be appointed a mentor to this year’s runners-up

Nelly Agassi

Born 1973 in Tel Aviv and currently residing in Chicago, IL Nelly Agassi works in performance, installation, video,textile and paper. Her artwork addresses the idea of the body and notion of intimacy within public space in relation to architecture. Her work engages both the personal and emotional as well as universal concepts. Agassi is a 2001 graduate of the MA program of combined media in Chelsea Collage of Art and Design, London, UK. 

She has received the Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation for Israeli Art Prize and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art award for artistic encouragement from the Israel Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport. Agassi shown her work extensively throughout the world – in sites such as the Israel Museum,Jerusalem, Doritto Rovesscio, Milan Triennial, Poor Farm, USA, and at the Tate Modern in London.

Daniel Heath

Daniel Heath is a British award winning independent wallpaper, textile and surface designer renowned for his illustrative and engaging designs. Based in Walthamstow in the heart of East London, the designer-maker has long held an interest in craftsmanship and sustainable design through up-cycling and re-appropriation of authentic heritage materials. Trained in the traditional process of silk screen printing at the Royal College of Art, he set up his studio in 2007 to make bespoke, hand printed wallpapers and crafted interior surfaces exclusively made to order. Drawing has always underpinned his surface pattern designs and many have references to a time or a place to form playful narratives.

Daniel utilises technologies such as laser engraving, to create many of his unique designs. The outcomes cross the boundaries between technology and craft to create modern design pieces that embody traditional values yet contemporary aesthetics.  Daniel is an experienced academic and has lectured Textiles at a range of universities and also provides mentoring for young designers. Daniel exhibits and sells his work internationally include Europe and the US. Daniel is also a proud brother of the Artworkers’ Guild in London.

Jenny Holmes


Jenny originally studied graphic design at university and found herself drawn to graphic art and it’s applications within fashion. While living in London, and pursuing a career in buying for a number of renowned High Street brands, Jenny achieved a 1st in Fashion Studies from the part-time degree course at London College of Fashion – where she met her design partner Dimitris Theocharidis. Their shared approach to fabric manipulation, oversized silhouettes, and alternative pattern cutting led to them form Jena.Theo; a brand created to give an identity to their collaborative experiments – beautiful ethereal embroidery, unique print and dyeing techniques and bold statement graphics were then applied to Jenny’s signature pattern cutting style. Eventually Jenny left her career in buying to pursue development of the label – which won the prestigious Fashion Fringe award in 2009.

The brand was showcased on-schedule at London Fashion Week and the London Designer Showrooms as well as showing in Paris every season. Their collections have been stocked in Harvey Nichols, and Galerie la Fayette with fusion ranges in Anthropologie, ASOS and Topshop, in parallel with couture bridal and bespoke pieces for private clients. In parallel to Jena.Theo Jenny set up a graphic and fashion design consultancy Rolling Drums, and has worked with various fashion companies, designing and buying for a retailer in China, as well setting up a design studio in London for a global fashion production company where she currently consults on design and product development. She also holds master classes and talks for the same course she studied on at University of the Arts London.