The 2018 Hand & Lock Prize took place on Thursday 15th November and was a full day affair with a brand new day-long exhibition followed by the usual evening awards ceremony. This new format made it possible to see the pieces during the day in a more sedate setting. Throughout the afternoon there was a steady flow of embroidery enthusiasts, many visiting the Bishopsgate Institute for the first time. Most of the finalists were on hand to talk about their inspirations and process, as were representatives from Hand & Lock to talk about the long history of the Prize itself. Just like previous years the public had an opportunity to vote and help determine who would take home awards. Visitors were encouraged to consider the brief and carefully examine each work, casting their vote for their most favoured pieces.
As evening came the crowds gathered and the atmosphere became more charged with a frenzy of last-minute voting. The Grand hall steadily filled up and the dynamic shifted from exhibition to awards with the sound of a champagne cork going pop.
At 7.30 Hand & Lock chairman Alastair Macleod took to the stage to introduce the awards and remind the audience of the long history of the Prize. Francesca Canty, Chief executive of Bishopsgate Institute, joined Alastair and spoke of the great history of the building and the fantastic array of public events that take place within its walls. With the audience primed and the finalists anxious to learn who amongst them would receive donors, Hand & Lock Director Jessica Pile took to the stage to announce the first winner.
Applause reigned for the duration as names were read aloud and images of their work flashed up on the giant screen. Quickly, the seats on stage reserved for the winners filled up as every placing finalist was announced. The final announcements were the special awards from Wilcom, The Worshipful Company of Gold & Silver Were Drawers, The Worshipful Company of Broderers and The London and Southeast section of the Textile Institute.
With all the winners announced the finalists left the stage with their embroidered awards and posed for pictures by their winning pieces. In total, 17 awards were given with nine first-place awards. Read on to discover who won what on the night…