Last year I was selected as a finalist in the Hand & Lock Prize for a second time, I had entered the prize in 2017 and was awarded third place in the fashion open category, this time I entered the textile art open category. In November the time came for the Hand & Lock Prize exhibition at Bishopsgate Institute in London which was a two day event followed by the judging and prize giving event in the evening, at which I was delighted to be awarded first place in the textile art open category.
The exhibition was visited by many embroidery enthusiasts and members of the public who all voted for their favourites in each category. Voting continued during the prize giving event which was attended by industry experts and the independent judging panel. It was a real honour to meet so many embroidery enthusiasts and industry experts and to speak to so many people who share my passion for embroidery.
The brief for the 2019 Prize was titled ‘Fool The Senses’. In response to the brief I created four goldwork flower sculptures which represent each season of the year through the flowers they contain. Each sculpture is hand embroidered using the technique of goldwork and goes through many processes in order to turn the flat embroidery into a three dimensional sculpture. This is a technique I developed in 2017 when I first started experimenting with creating 3D flowers with goldwork embroidery.
In these sculptures I focused on the intricate textures and patterns of the flowers I had chosen and aimed to imitate these with goldwork wires. The sculptures aim to fool the senses by creating flowers which, despite the use of metal threads, retain the delicacy of their real life counterparts. I created a fabric from metal leaf and organza for the undersides of the petals and leaves which gives the impression of a hard metallic surface but it is actually soft and pliable. The choice of a limited colour palette of only gold and silver was intended to put the focus on the textures and patterns that I created with a variety of different wires and materials.
The composition and display of the sculptures was inspired by Victorian dried flower arrangements and Dutch still life paintings as well as the work of photographer Jamie Beck. The floral sculptures are displayed in glass domes to evoke a still life arrangement.
The brief also asked for the entrants to consider the sustainability of their creations. In order to ensure the sustainability of the sculptures, I used imitation purls which require no mining for new precious metals. These purls don’t tarnish so there is no need for them to be replaced; therefore it is an everlasting floral arrangement which can replace the need for fresh flowers which often travel long distances. I sourced glass domes which are made from recycled glass with sustainable mango wood bases.
You can see more photos of the goldwork flower sculptures on the gallery page.