8 April 2014
The inaugural Beryl Dean Award presentation took place at a prestigious reception at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Monday 7th April, hosted by Gyles Brandreth.
In the presence of HRH Duchess of Gloucester, patron of the Embroiderers’ Guild, and over 80 leaders and practitioners in Textile Art, Professor Malcolm Lochhead, Chair of the Judging Panel, presented the four shortlisted nominees and announced Karen Nicol the winner.
Opening the event, Gyles Brandreth, a cousin of Beryl Dean, referred to Beryl’s passion for art, her skills in stitch and her talent for passing on both to others. The strength of her vision for the future of Church embroidery enabled her to innovate and her work remains a shining example of the highest standards. He thanked the Dean of St Paul’s for offering the Crypt for the event, and also for the special display of two major works by Beryl Dean and her students gifted to the Collection of St Paul’s, the Hammersmith Cope (1968) and the Jubilee Cope (1977), worn by the Bishop of London at the Queen’s Silver, Gold and Diamond Jubilee services.
Christine Poole, Chairman of the Embroiderers’ Guild said that the Guild intends that the Award will encourage excellence in the development of both design and technique in embroidery and foster relationships that will maintain and improve infrastructure in embroidery education. The Award will run for ten years.
Professor Malcolm Lochhead, textile artist and Millennium Fellow in Design at Glasgow Caledonian University, who chaired the Judging Panel paid tribute to the quality of the thirteen applicants and the special talents of each of those shortlisted.
Winner Karen Nicol, well recognised for high quality craftsmanship in embroidery and textile art, both in the UK and internationally, as well as extensive teaching and mentoring said that she was honoured to receive the award and that she is strongly committed through her teaching to maintain the critical skill of embroidery in the 21st century, exploring sculptural forms and working with new materials.
Catriona Charlton, Embroiderers’ Guild “Young Embroiderers” Ambassador, winner of the 2014 De Denne Competition, then presented HRH Duchess of Gloucester with her winning piece as a gift of thanks, to mark the 40th Anniversary of YE, a division of the Guild for students up to age 24.
Closing, Gyles Brandreth said the energy, enthusiasm and creativity so apparent in this occasion were inspirational and boded well for the future of embroidery. That so many representatives of the craft’s institutions and makers had gathered spoke of the continuing interest and value attached to the promotion of arts and crafts and he wished the Award well for the future.