Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hand and Lock Embroidery

As usual, I'm playing catch-up on my blog posts. It was a month ago that I attended the Toronto stop on an international lecture tour given by Alaistar Macleod, CEO of Hand and Lock Embroidery. Hosted by Seneca College's Fashion Department, those who braved the driving cold rain were entertained by this charismatic champion of embroidery.

The lecture began with a quote by Francois Lesage who once said To embroider is to dream. Macleod then went on to define embroidery as "the art of decorative design to fabric by hand or machine". He stipulated the requirements for embroidery include determination, focus, concentration, patience, time,  good eyesight PLUS passion and love!!

Hand and Lock is an embroidery company that is a fusion of two long-established ateliers. Hand has its roots in military braids and embellishments and goes back as far as 1767. Lock harkens back to 1898 and has worked with such designers as Christian Dior, Norman Hartnell and Hardy Ames. In 2001, the two companies were merged into Hand and Lock and in 2003, MBA Costumes was added to the group. Currently based in London, the company will add a New York outpost in the fall.

Macleod enchanted the audience of students, faculty, and members of the Costume Society of Ontario with tales about everything from Cornely Machines (a machine invented in 1860 which automates satin stitches) to a Spanish flamenco dancer wearing gelatin sequins. His passion for embroidery was infectious and he encouraged those in attendance to enter Hand and Lock's International Embroidery Competition with prizes totalling $30,000 and for which the deadline has been extended to May 14th, 2010. Macleod said that the things that he likes the most about embroidery is "that which delights the eye!".