March 13, 2015

Diary of an Intern: Julia at Hand and Lock

I am beyond excited to introduce our newest guest blogger - Julia Titchfield, an intern at the UK embroidery company, Hand and Lock. In her Diary of an Intern series, she'll be blogging all about her experiences as an intern. A tremendously talented embroiderer, she won last year's open category prize at Hand and Lock. Please welcome Julia!

Feeling Stitchy have kindly invited me to contribute for the coming weeks during my work placement at the prestigious, London based, embroidery and embellishment company called Hand and Lock. I am excited to share my experience with you and welcome your thoughts. With 250 years of heritage, Hand and Lock are at the forefront in the industry. Obviously I leapt at the chance to do an internship; to see behind the doors of this famous embroidery house and more importantly to pick up some invaluable skills of this ancient art.

My entry into the industry has been pretty magical in many ways. Last year I participated in the company's annual, international embroidery competition and to my astonishment and delight I walked away with first prize for the open category! I too am an embroidery enthusiast and initially I entered this competition to push myself and develop my skills with the aim of producing something that could be the start of a portfolio. You can imagine my surprise at the reception my work has received. I suggest that we all dare to dream and allow ourselves to reach our potential. So go on dare, have a go at the prize!

It feels this is the start of my journey into the world of textiles and surface embellishment and I'm filled with excitement about what the future holds in terms of lush fabrics and fine finishes and the techniques I may acquire in order to accomplish my vision.

My first impression was how cosy the workshop is combined with a feeling of stepping into the rich history of this elusive craft. Embroiderers sit silently at large frames. Heavy wooden furniture adorns the room, holding many small drawers filled with an array of threads, silks, beads and sequins. Like a kid in a sweet shop it is a real treat! I have yet to explore the sample room which is home to tambour beaded, goldworked and silk shaded treasures.

The range of clients is also very intriguing. From the theatre and film to high profile individuals such as an extremely wealthy sheikh. Amongst my tasks, so far, I have pimped up a pair of sneakers with no less than Swarovski crystals fixed to the soles to be used for a music video. That posed some tricky challenges on how to achieve a secure and clean finish.

One very important lesson in the last week has been about working tempo, which I'm still improving on. Here it's a whole different approach from my slow and steady working mode to that of professionals in industry working to daily and hourly deadlines. As well as experience and confidence in technique, it's also a question of knowing when to swiftly move through each stage of the process without lingering too long on each part in that futile search for perfection.

It's fantastic to feel I'm part of this dynamic team and to become familiar with the inner working cogs of such an established embroidery house. For now I'm going to take each step at a time.

Hi, I'm Julia! Based in Amsterdam, I am an embroidery enthusiast with a life long passion for textiles. I will be contributing during my work placement at the prestigious Hand and Lock a London based, embroidery and embellishment company with 250 years of heritage.

Join me every other Friday for my Diary of an Intern posts!
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  1. This is going to be fascinating--glad you're sharing your experience!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience. I would chew my arm off to work at Hand and Lock but my skills are not good enough and I'm too far away, in Australia. I hope you have a wonderful time