The Artists of Hand & Lock

12th April 2019

The Royal Adelaide Show is an annual event held in the Inspirations home town of Adelaide and has been part of the city’s history for over 175 years. Akin to an oversized country fair, this is where both city and country folk gather to exhibit everything from live stock to fine cuisine, baked goods to handmade crafts, including embroidery.

Inspirations is a proud sponsor of numerous needlework-based categories at the show, and it’s always a great privilege for us to provide prizes for the winning entries submitted by both the young and the young at heart. It’s also a terrific opportunity for us to scout for up and coming talent.

On the global stage and at the highest level, another competition also celebrates hand-based needlework – the world-famous Hand & Lock annual competition. This prestigious atelier doesn’t just curate one of the most important embroidery prizes in the world, they also support and promote emerging textile artists in a bid to ensure the art form maintains equal footing with other artistic mediums such as painting or sculpture.

Hand & Lock are a company who create hand embroidered pieces for clients such as the British Royal Family and world class European Fashion Houses. They’ve been in business since the eighteenth century, setting up at a time when all embroidered work was completed by hand.

Nowadays, as textiles are churned out cheaply by machine, Hand & Lock maintain their quality by adhering to traditional techniques.

In pursuit of their mission to maintain a position of prominence for hand embroidery, the company takes the time to seek out embroiderers who are pushing the boundaries of the art. The famous annual prize is one way they do it, but even outside of the competition, they actively highlight other artists and their ground-breaking work by featuring them on their website.

Embroidered hands emerging out of an X-Ray film by Matthew Cox (source)

The creativity on display in some of the work they highlight is stunning, for example when was the last time you picked up your needle and considered embroidering on X-Rays, like Matthew Cox? The melding of modern medical technology with needle and thread is just astounding.

Racket Art by Danielle Clough

How about using an old tennis racket for your canvas, like Danielle Clough? Or would you even dream of creating three dimensional sculptures using cotton and pins which blur the lines between drawing, sculpture and textile art? Debbie Smyth has done just that, with amazing results.

It’s a Small World by Debbie Smyth (source)

Textile art comes in all forms and regardless of how far along we are in our stitching journey, whether our work is enjoying recognition and praise from Hand & Lock, or we’re entering our projects in a local county, state or annual show, all of us play an equally important role in evangelising needlework.

Our collective passion for needle and thread helps ensure our beloved artform will continue to thrive for generations to come as we all make the world more beautiful one stitch at a time.

Stop Press: Hand & Lock Classes Now Available

Take your needlework to the next level in May this year by attending a class with Hand & Lock, the world’s oldest embroidery atelier and official embroidery house to the British Royal Family.

Week-long embroidery classes suitable for beginners and experts alike are coming to the USA with students able to choose from monogramming, tambour beading and goldwork.

Classes will be held in Williamsburg, Virginia and San Francisco, California with all materials provided.

Don’t miss this once in a life time opportunity, book your place today. Visit and use code USA19 for a special 20% discount!

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