Sheila Ramsay

Winner of the 2019 Hand & Lock Prize, Open Fashion Category

"I wanted to transform a conventional shape and pattern into something that is still luxurious, while being made of innovative and sustainable materials"

— Sheila Ramsay

Canadian seamstress Sheila Ramsay has built a solid career in sewing, working in places like the Canadian Opera Company, Young People’s Theatre and the National Ballet of Canada.

Entering the Prize for the first time in 2019, Ramsay was awarded first place in the Open Fashion Category for her amazing interpretation of the brief ‘Fool the Senses’ in her design that combined a classic shape with optical illusions and challenged the typical conception of luxury.

 

Her submitted project was a hand-embroidered wedding jacket that featured metallic threads to create a rich plaid that was warped around lustrous feathery goldwork medallions. Ramsay says she was inspired by the prescriptive side 0f 60s fashion and valued sustainability while aiming for a high fashion look ‘I wanted to transform a conventional shape and pattern into something that is still luxurious, while being made of innovative and sustainable materials’.

 

Ramsay looked for inspiration for the piece in nature ‘as a child, I would find fully browned milkweed pods and open them to blow the magical fluffs away. This project was the perfect time to highlight their beauty’. When asked about her process, she explained ‘I’m pursuing all the education I can in hand embroidery and hope to turn it into a career … [The Prize is]  a great opportunity for exploration and developing creativity in my work’. You can see more of her work here

 

Sheila Ramsay's research boards.
Close up detail of Sheila Ramsay's embroidery.
Sheila Ramsay receiving her award from H&L chairman Alastair Macleod
Sheila Ramsay's entry on exhibition at the 2019 H&L Prize
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