Hand & Lock Embroidery Prize Giving 2011 New York City
Embarking on the trip of a life time i boarded the plane in Sydney Australia to fly half way around the world to accept the Hand & Lock Embroidery Open Catagory Prize in New York City. The big apple, as it is affectionatley known, is one of the most exciting cities on earth to visit. Its sky is lined with shiny glass skyscrapers both old and new, the streets are teeming with people all on their way to somewhere, every second shop is a restaurant, cafe or deli and the shopping varies from the eclectic high street boutique to the mass market brand name stores all of which are very tempting and exciting.
The prize giving was at the offices of the embroidery house of Penn & Fletcher at 1pm. It is a large open warehouse style space in which the walls were lined with threads, bobbins, cording and many embroidery machines some dating back as far as the early 1900's. I was greeted with a flute of champagne and ushered into the entry room. My embroidered dress was perfectly displayed on a mannequin. The memory of it had dulled slightly so it was wonderful to look at the piece with fresh eyes again.
I spent time talking with a local artist in residency with Penn & Fletcher who was using their embroidery machines. His process was fascinating too and we spent a great deal of time conversing about the various design approaches we had made with our works.
The prize giving ceremony was an intimate affair. Alastair, the director of Hand & Lock, presented an embroidered plaque, a certificate and a prize cheque to myself and the student prize winner in front of a group of approx 20-30 people. Penn & Fletcher put on a tasty lunch for us and I was enamoured to learn more about machine embroidery from the Director Ernie. He showed me around to the various embroidery machine areas, demonstrating for me how some of them worked and then onto the design area, explaining the various stages of work from conception to sampling to the finished piece for a customer. He was very generous with his time and his wisdom and I appreciated being introduced to his mechanised world of embroidery. The staff at Penn & Fletcher were extremely friendly and very helpful and it was great to finally meet them.
Once the prize giving and lunch had finished, by this time it was early evening, I went with the Hand & Lock team uptown to a wonderful Russian restaurant. The team at Hand & Lock are a wonderful group of people and all so welcoming and talented in their own rights. I feel so proud to have won first prize in the open catagory of the Hand & Lock Embroidery prize and and grateful that Alastair offers such a unique opportunity for embroiderers around the world to use their creativity and produce interesting works.