The winners have been announced for the annual Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery, recognising the cutting-edge work of a new generation of garment decorators.

The 2021 awards were presented at a ceremony last night as part of the Embroidered Arts Exhibition which is running at Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf in London until Sunday (7 November).

Rachel Ellenbogen won first prize in the student fashion category with a grey-dyed dress of post-consumer polyester decorated with a beaded design depicting images from her Instagram over the past nine years.

First prize in the open fashion category, open to anyone around the world, was won by Tatiana Rodina with a floral design inspired by QR codes, made up of beads, sequins, wire and thread.

This year’s Prize for Embroidery, which embraces both garment decorating and textile art, set a brief to designers and artists “to consider which aspects of your personal identity that are shown and which are hidden in changing contexts”, inspired by the concept of duality.

The Wilcom associate award for digital embroidery for students, introduced by Wilcom Europe’s director Rob Smith, was won by Rachel Moore who also took second prize in the student fashion category.

She created a garment of printed denim with added elements of chenille fabric, layered with digital embroidery using Madeira rayon threads and areas of hand embellishment, designed to explore how we use colour to express ourselves through our clothing.

Third prize in the student fashion category went to Millie Whitehead who used Swarovski crystals, fresh water pearls, seed beads and goldwork embroidery for a design based on “the fluidity and movement of water entwined into the unstructured, unrestrained euphoria of a de-gendered fashion”.

In the open fashion category, second prize went to Valerija Fic Brase who used electronic cables, connecting blocks and sequins for a dress conveying the connection between a real person and something intangible like a virtual network.

Third prize in the category went to Lucia Palma Herrán whose design explores the duality of how armour can shield us but also lay us completely bare, reflecting the constant fight within the artist. She used French wire, stiff wire, seed beads, silk threads, metallic braided cord, leather cord, silk organza, silk shantung and self-made slashing fabric.

The category of textile art/open was won by Lesley Wood with a hand-stitched self-portrait. Second prize went to Estefania Tarud Karl, and third prize was won by Sabina Lima.

First prize in the textile art/student category went to Kate Pankhurst who decorated a traditional bell alarm clock with silk dupion, Edinburgh linen, silk thread, metal purls, bright check, passing, spangles, beads, paper-covered wires. She also won The Worshipful Company of Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers associate award.

Second place in the textile art/student category went to Alicja Kozlowska and third to Rebecca Offredi.

The Royal School of Needlework associate award for innovation and technical excellence in hand embroidery was won by Lucy Martin for her beautifully detailed embroidered flowers. She also won The Worshipful Company of Broderers associate award.

The Wilcom associate award for digital embroidery was won by textile artist David Morrish for an art piece inspired by MC Escher’s Drawing Hands, representing his dual life as a digital embroiderer with one arm in the digital world and the other in the physical.

All the winners and finalists’ work is being exhibited this week at the Embroidered Arts Exhibition along with the winners and finalists in the 2020 Prize for Embroidery who were unable to have a show last year due to Covid restrictions.

The exhibition also features the work of Hand &Lock, which has been a specialist in embroidery for over 250 years, and pieces by leading embroiderers and textile artists of the past through to the present day, from Madge Gill to Karen Nicol.

Tatiana Rodina

Tatiana Rodina’s winning design

Tatiana Rodina Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery

Tatiana Rodina’s winning design in full

Rachel Ellenbogen

Rachel Ellenbogen’s prize-winning design

Rachel Moore

Rachel Moore’s garment in full