The Hand & Lock 2013 Prize for Embroidery Design dramatically concluded, after months of planning, hard work and preparation, with the formal awarding of the Prizes. The beautiful St Mary’s Church in Marylebone played host to the glamorous affair where eleven stunning designs were judged by attendees and the esteemed judging panel.
The hotly contested open category, first added in 2009 was won by Chicago based Beata Kania. The inky black, intricate garment wowed guests and judges alike with it’s mix of beading, pleated ribbons and high shine scales. Kania skilfully employed traditional embroidery, black Goldwork, complex ropes of beading on sheer voile and thick wool.
First runner up was competition mainstay Jan Knibbs’ for her Versailles inspired design with silk shading and shisha mirrorwork to name just two of the myriad of skillful techniques used.
Second runner up went to newcomer Lullia Varkhola from the Ukraine for her hardanger work; a complicated white embroidery technique that takes great skill, patience and devotion to detail.
The student category, which drew the loudest cheers of the night, was won by Claire Morris from Falmouth University. Her use of two dimensional intricate embroidery impressed the audience with it’s inventive and original construction. Humble, but elated, Morris clearly overwhelmed at the honour, declared she hadn’t thought to prepare a speech because she couldn’t have imagined winning. Her winning garment used flocking, dentelle a l’aiguille and white organza to great effect.
Alexis Housden secured first runner up in the tightly fought contest for his sleeveless embroidered biker jacket. At once wearable and obviously haute couture his piece featured python skin and suede with intricate black beadwork.
Paying close attention to the brief, second runner up Staffordshire University’s Katrina Lewis’ combined the sequins, glitter and dark metallic colours of the 70s with the lace, layers and florals of Tudor England. Her finished piece cleverly featured crushed beads, layered pleats and bondaweb in an inventive and theatrical piece.
Alastair Macleod, in a fully embroidered Georgian inspired frock coat, conducted proceedings. Firstly introducing talks from Diana Springer and Gordon Millings before proudly announcing the winners. Speaking after the event he said he felt ‘the changing format of the event over 13 years has reinvigorated the Prize and set it back on track’. When asked about the winners he said ‘both the student and the open category entries were of a similar high standard and their success was due to the changing face contemporary embroidery’.
Beata Kania and Claire Morris both receive cheques for $5,000 along with the priceless prestige associated with winning The Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery Design.