Friday, 23 July 2010


For Further Details Please Email :

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

UK Lecture tour

We are currently organizing our next UK lecture tour in September to November 2010,
For enquiries and Bookings please contact hand & lock by emailing
Looking forward to hearing from you


Tuesday, 18 May 2010

New York and the End of the Tour

Off back to New York for our last days via the Hamptons and then Amityville, where the movie ‘Amityville Horrors’ was set, which Alba knew all about and insisted we find the scary house from the movie. After which we set off to our apartment in the West Village. Then we had a great meeting with Erica Wilson the doyen of American Embroiderers and she agreed to be Patron of the School, that crowned of a wonderful trip and meeting all those students, teachers and embroiderers I believe that embroidery is alive and well in the USA and for that I thank you all, and see you again on my next trip in 2012.

Rhode Island

Then the long trip set off on early Sunday morning as we made our way down to St. Louis on a small plane with Alba having a nervous attack all the way to La Guardia. Then a car and what a car it was too, a Dodge Charger and we certainly did charge up to Rhode Island arriving there around 12 at night what a long day and a red eye!

Rhode Island School of Art and Design is the arch type New England college traditional and self effacing with lots of very pretty students and conservative tutors.
What a venue, the theatre was state of the art and all brand new. I think it must have been the best on my tour. The audience however was a bit dry but livened up by the input of Linda Welters University of Rhode Island. Thanks Maria Tulukas for looking after us.

Kalona Quilt and Textile Museum

Next Stop was Kalona, in Iowa State. Would you believe there were lots ofAmish people living there? They were escaping east of the Mississippi, into a life with no electricity and certainly no hot water. We had arrived in Kalona and its village which is a number of houses brought in from all the outlying area put together by Marilyn Woodin and her band of intrepid supporters. Really Iowa is the home of the quilt, and what a wonderful range they were with prices up to $27000. Well reported in the local Press which says exactly what I’m all about and if it’s in the Kalona News you better believe it!!!

Indiana University

Heading off now to Indiana State University at Bloomington the home of the Dalai Lama’s brother, what a claim to fame! Plenty Hari Krishna types wandering about. A very beautiful place and looked wonderful in the spring. We stayed on campus and had a great talk at a large venue which was well attended and many thanks to Kathleen Rowold who looked after us well.


Off to Chicago for a windy weekend, what a wonderful city all clean and nice but a bit chilly. We hoped to head on a 'gangster tour' found on the internet. So we drove to the depths of Cicero, to find an address which didn’t exist and knock on the door of a strange place to see our own gangsters, as Alba locked herself in the car, the ‘Gangsters’ were very nice but totally unhelpful and not nasty at all! Then off to find Al Capone, there were no signs as he wasn’t Chicago’s favourite son. However found it we did, after being given directions by a very pleasant old lady.

Then off to Gibsons, Chicago’s famous steak restaurant. I of course had burnt chops and Alba had the best steak she’d ever eaten.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Stan Hywet Hall and Garden

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Next stop the Stan Hywet Hall. A fabulous place put together by F.A. Seiberling, he being the man who vulcanized rubber and invented the zip and on top of being a rubber baron industrialist, he also had architectural aspirations. Between 1912 and 1915, he and his wife Gertrude, she being of sound sewer manufacturing stock, built their country estate and named it “Stan Hywet” (Old English for stone quarry), the property’s most prominent natural feature. The result of which there are a number of holes in the ground now filled with water and called lagoons containing a variety of fish specimens which you can’t see. The house was modelled on an old English Manor houses updated with early twentieth Century technology like central heating and laundry and ironing machines and kitchens with food processors and vacuum cleaners and of course telephones all hidden way and filled with plundered antiques and fittings all to produce the illusion that it was an 18th Century English House, which of course it was not as it was outside Cleveland Ohio on the Great Lakes.
See For more details.

The event was sponsored by the Stan Hywet Needlework Guild, hugely gifted ladies who do the most exquisite embroideries for the Hall. We were ably looked after by its President Barbara Shearer who took us off to see the wonderful Collection at Kent University. Jerry Silverman (1910-1984), a lawyer and businessman, and Shannon Rodgers (1911-1996), a designer, were founders and partners in Jerry Silverman, Inc., one of the fashion industry's most successful New York women's ready-to-wear firms of the second half of the 20th century. Privately Rodgers, a native Ohioan, also amassed one of the most important collections of historic, designer and ethnic costume in the United States. In exchange for donating their $5 million collection of costumes and decorative arts to Kent State University in the early 1980s, the University agreed to create the KSU Museum in order to house and provide educational access to the collection and the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising to serve as a centre for fashion design and merchandising education in the mid-west.
And low and behold I learned that my friend J.R. Campbell was now the Director of The Fashion School, and what a wonderful collection it is too, of course Alba was totally sold as they had some Chanel dresses.
The talk was great and well attended in the wonderful music room at Stan Hywet. The acoustics were brilliant, I did not need a mic and I ended up with talking for almost two hours. Such a knowledgeable audience, and I do hope they get to keep the curtains round Gertrude’s bed with beautiful Crewel work which took the ladies six years to do.
Akron University

The home of Quaker Oats, no oats left in Akron they’ve all gone the way of the great rubber industry and all we’re left with is the zip fastener, vulcanized rubber and a kangaroo. Seriously though the surrounding area is pretty cool and reflects the boom and burst of the area with some wonderful houses and parks and the University has a wide range of students with some great programs and very strong on research. The talk was well attended from the surrounding community. Thanks go to Teena for looking after us.


Memphis here we come. The home of the King, what an experience!

Graceland’s was mobbed with hundreds of ageing fans with a fair sprinkling of kids and probably grand kids, keepin’ alive old Elvis’s name and fame. Amazing really but somewhat sad, from what I could see he had just about got his act together. He’d bought a serious big jet which was all his (even took his daughter to see some snow) and had just done up his kitchen and had everything going for himself when low and behold he ups and passes off to the Grand Ole Oprey in the sky (or down below).
Beale Street was exciting lots of blues and rock going on all the time. Then to the Grand Ole Oprey, the real one, in Nashville, paid a fortune to be part of a radio show with lots of adverts and listened to some very old country singers who should have been put out to grass years ago. They are probably hanging on to past glories, time to give the youngsters a chance.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Alabama State University

Then onto Alabama, via guess where The Jack Daniels Distillery in Tennessee and would you believe it this is in the middle of a dry district, doesn’t make much sense to me. Apparently the man himself died because he kicked his safe, damaged his toe the rest is history but he did leave a legacy of very nice sipping whiskey.
We then arrived at Tuscaloosa the home of Alabama State University and into the welcoming arms of Virginia Wimberley. What a grand old university with interesting and informed students. Two talks here one in the morning to an excited class and the other more general audience. A special mention to Jeanne who made a trapunto sample very good it was too.

Southern Illinois University

Picked up by a giant American boat car to sail down their wonderful highways however Alba’s GPS took us through St Louis East apparently this is the South’s equivalent of Detroit but I’m advised that they are hoping for great things there some time in the next century or two then down to Carbondale what a delightful town. The next day we met Peter Smith, the man in charge of the Architects department and the builder of the famed ‘Walts’ Diner. ‘Walts’ Diner is a cardboard copy of a fifty’s diner including a Wurlitzer and fifty’s cockroaches. With the wonderful exception that it is built to 1.5 times actual, that makes it pretty cool and pretty big and is very popular with their basketball players. Of course Alba’s and I are a bit titchery. This was great fun with an education edge making students aware of space and time. It took 85 students a month of hard work to do. I gave my talk to an architecturally based audience. Although for many centuries embroidery has been a part of architecture, something about the engineering structures of embroidery as well as the aesthetic visual pleasures it invokes. However it has not been a part of 20th and 21st century curriculum in spite of such luminaries as Charles Rennie MacIntosh William Morris and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson. I do think it went down well and we had some converts, they were quite excited about the possibility of embroidering concrete a project we did with University of Ulster.

Seneca College Toronto

Back to North Toronto and after arriving late at their excellent halls of residence, we met Gitte Hansen on Sunday. We spent a brilliant day looking at great quilts from the collection of Carole and Howard Tanenbaum at the Textile Museum. My goodness they put together a wonderful collection, starting as usual with one and gradually building on it. Then on to the Bata Shoe Museum, cant believe that they were making high healed shoes hundreds of years ago and what about these wonderful moccasins from the Jicarillas Apache, it would do justice to Mercury the messenger of the Gods; just imagine their flying feet. We said goodbye to Gitte as she was heading off to Beijing China with a successful student. The talk was excellent with a great informed audience and what a wonderful facility they have at Seneca which is no doubt the reason it is popular with students throughout the world.
Then to New York mind you that wasn’t so easy, rushing about to establish that I was not intending to stay in the US for the rest of my life, thanks Nathalie for sorting it all out. Alba was waiting in New York with a wonderful fish pie, which convinced me that staying in the US might be a good idea; don’t tell the nice lady at the border. What a great place NY. The next ten days were spent arranging the Embroidery Studio and Forum by Hand & Lock and Penn & Fletcher. This is where we shall be holding classes from September this year with Alba at the head and with Edward Tung a luminary from Fashion Institute of Design San Francisco and Lesage of Paris in support. All very exciting and cant wait to go back and eat more of New York’s wonderful chicken soup and of course their magnificent steaks.
A wonderful day spent touring the sites of New Brunswick, a truly bilingual state. This State is more in keeping with Northern Ireland than elsewhere, don’t know what it is with us humans don’t seem to be happy unless we’re in some sort of conflict. However Stephen’s Coatbridge twang made me feel quite at home.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

New Brunswick College of Art and Design

Canada this time by Air India time zones seem to have evaded the Indian culture getting wrong by an hour does not help connecting flights, should have checked, missed the plane and spent the night in a Hilton, arrived in Fredericton the following day and was reacquainted with my luggage thank goodness. Ellen Woolaver looked after me and showed me around a wonderful old town which goes back to the revolution and looks remarkably like Virginia and the Carolinas. The College is a dream with only a few hundred students they are able to give almost one to one tutoring. Under the able guidance of Michael Maynard this is a College of Craft and Design which is going places. The talk was well attended by students faculty members and the local Embroiderers Guild, very knowledgeable and a pleasure to talk to.

Back to Blighty

A command from the Palace summoned me back to meet Her Majesty at a reception for the British Clothing industry. Lots of friends and acquaintances and of course a few words with ‘’ made the long trip worthwhile.

Woodbury University

A long and tedious evening drive, not really recommended after an exciting talk, so we stopped at Palm Springs, the pearl of the desert the temperature just right. Then into the maul of California traffic, where are all these people going? Stayed with my friend Marco at Dana Point and the next evening set off for Woodbury to be met by my good friend May Routh. It was my second visit, the first some three years ago which was quite exciting because that is when Forest Whittaker won the Oscar for 'The Last King of Scotland' courtesy of Hand & Lock.All the accoutrements were ours (well maybe not he’s a pretty fine actor). Now this year with 'Young Victoria' where we supplied many of these wonderful gentlemens outfit through our good friends at Angels. The talk was in their new auditorium and was attended by a knowledgeable audience.

Thursday night we took in ‘The Lakers’ courtesy of Marko’s friend Richard, thank you Richard. Our first experience of major league basketball and what an experience the one thing about you American’s, you can certainly put on a show and of course Kobe Bryant took the Lakers through on the final pot of the day.

Friday found us watching whales, what an experience, we approached this with some trepidation as the previous trip that day we only managed to see some dolphins. We were lucky that the giant fin whales were in abundance, enormous graceful creatures the second biggest on the planet, quelle joy what an experience.

Mesa Community College

Nothing had quite prepared us for Phoenix this huge crossroads of Mexican, American and Native Americans cultures with a healthy sprinkling of old folk in the warmth, is vast and goes on for ever a land of heat and cactus it apparently has had more rain in the first two months of this year than usual so they are waiting for the desert to bloom this spring bringing in lots of tourists which they need as they are suffering from recession blues. We met Evonne our host who looked after us well the talk was on and off for a bit but like any true professional she moved into top gear and provided the most wonderful facilities with the best techie guys I have come across. What a well attended talk, people from all over the community some coming as far as 50 miles well done you guys. Thanks to Evonne Bowling for all her help in organizing the lecture. California next stop.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University

Then it was off to Lubbock the home of Buddy Holly and other things we don’t talk about. This is a great University which I visited before, the professor there being Theresa Alexander who has a great understanding of embroidery and has been to our conferences in London and Glasgow and indeed she has left a great legacy of embroidery which has been taken up by Teresa Maria Leos. The talk was well attended and Alba started her first tentative steps to public speaking. Thanks go to Teresa Maria Leos who organized the event and Su-Jeong Hwang Shin.

We had a little time to spare so headed off to Las Vegas for the weekend a long drive with a stop at the ‘Billy the Kid’ museum although why it is called that was a mystery to us as most of it consisted of a variety of collectables from ancient cars to sewing machines and horse tackle however it did have ‘the gun that shot Billy the Kid’ who appeared to be more of a private security guard than a diabolical villain and killed by one of his own family. Las Vegas was as Las Vegas is all glitz and glamour in tacky wonderfulness. Great food was eaten and much walking through New York Paris and a variety of themed hotels but of course the Balenciaga was Alba’s favorite the fact that it had a ‘Chanel’ shop had absolutely nothing to do with it. Then off back down the road to Phoenix.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Welcome to Texas

After a long but quite comfortable flight from Heathrow to Denton Dallas we arrived to a hero’s welcome. Of course it wasn’t for us unfortunately, but rather the troops that were coming home. After we made our way through the waving American flags, camera flashes and cheers we found ourselves lost, how lost
you might ask?
In Okalahoma lost.

Alastair being the stereotypical male refused to ask for directions and me, well I was also living to my stereotype by reading the map catastrophically wrong which concluded in us missing our point of destination by about 35 miles and a whole different state.
The next day we were off to do the first talk of the American Tour in the University of North Texas. After a slight bout of turbulence in the computer department with Alastair’s power point presentation we were off to a flying start. The students enjoyed the lecture and gave Alastair raving reviews with one student erupting into tears as she expressed how moved she was by the presentation. However the highlight of North Texas University has to be their amazing fashion archive donated by Neiman Marcus and contains pieces dating back to 1790 as well as garments worn by actresses such as Claudia Colbert, and garments belonging to prestigious fashion houses like Chanel, Lacroix, Balenciaga and many more.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

'A Taste Of the Rich Tradition of Embroidery' US and Canada Lecture Tour

Welcome to Hand and Locks US and Canada Lecture Tour Blog Spot!!!

Alastair Macleod the chairman of Hand and Lock has set off touring the USA and Canada for March and April 2010. His inspiring lectures have been a huge success in the UK and Australia and should not be missed!!!

Check out Alastair's dates and venues and contact us here at Hand and Lock to get more details about lectures in you area.

Alastair will be blogging right here... so stay tuned to get instant updates on how the tour is going!


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