Self Portrait Competition

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About the Competition

At a time when were unable to greet thousands of visitors at The Knitting & Stitching Shows, the Self Portrait competition brought our community together virtually, with a series of textile portraits that are now available to view in our virtual galleries.

Entrants created a self-portrait in a range of textile mediums with a variety of entries received from cross-stitch and embroidery, to screen-printing and quilting. 

Take a look at our previous competition winners below.

Maggie Scott, ICU3, Nuno felted silk chiffon & hand stitch.
Portrait by Maggie Scott
Maggie Scott ICU6 Nuno felted silk chiffon hand stitch (002)
Portrait by Maggie Scott

Maggie Scott uses felted re-interpretations of photographic images that often explore the politics of representation and the tensions and contradictions of a Black British identity.

“For many years now I have been engaged with the politics of liberation and during the 1980s and 90s was very active within groups and campaigns for women in general and black women in particular. Until recently it had not seemed possible to combine these two passions, but the chance decision to take time out from producing wearable textiles and experiment with a series of large, autobiographical pieces led to my ‘shape of thing’s bursary award.”

Maggie is well-known for her sumptuously crafted felt textiles and her latest large-scale works draw out the aesthetic and symbolic potential of the laborious process of felting. Often assumed to be ‘women’s work’, felt here becomes the fabric of interwoven narratives and shared lives.


Adults                  18+ (entry £10)

Children              5 – 10  (free to enter)

Children              11 – 17 (free to enter)

Click below to learn more about The Knitting & Stitching Show Self Portrait Competition.

  • Maximum of one entry per person
  • Self-portraits should be of the face / head of the maker (other parts of the body such as hands will not be accepted, nor will portraits of others)
  • Abstract pieces are welcome but ideally the work should be recognisable as a face
  • Any angle of the face will be accepted (side view, forward facing etc)
  • Entries that do not meet the size criteria outlined may not be displayed or judged
  • Entries may have been entered into other competitions, with the exception of any prize-winners
  • Work entered may have been exhibited at other galleries / exhibitions in the past
  • We reserve the right not to display any entries which we deem to be inappropriate in any way
  • All entries must be made online via the entry form on our website
  • Entrants must adhere to the size specification requirements for the image uploaded of their self portrait
  • Please check your entry for spelling mistakes before submitting as any descriptions will be displayed on the website as they have been entered
  • Entry fees are non-refundable
  • Entries do not need to have been made recently. Portraits made in the past are welcome
  • All entrants must be aware that through their participation, the organisers, Upper Street Events Ltd will have the right to utilise photographs of the work within their own promotional publications, approved publications or within magazines and newspapers. Where possible, the artist will be credited but this cannot be guaranteed.
  • The Judges’ decision is final

Friday 20th November – Deadline for entries

Monday 30th November – Entries published online

Friday 4th December – Winners announced

Entries should adhere as closely as possible to the size guidelines shown in the diagram below, with a face measuring minimum 15cm and maximum of 20cm left to right (on the widest part of the face). From top to bottom it should be a minimum of 24cm and a maximum of 30cm.

3D and figurative pieces are also welcome, the scale of which must be ‘life-size’.

 Judging will take place between 27th November – 04th December and winners will be told on 11th December.

Renowned textile artists Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn will judge the competition.

To impress the judges and be in with the chance of winning, your work must have a strong visual / aesthetic impact and the maker should demonstrate:

  • Mastery of the chosen technique
  • Appropriate choice and use of thread/fabric/materials
  •  Good use of colour
  • Strong composition
  • A high level of skill in the execution of the pieces

Adult category – there will be one overall prize of £1,000, plus a runner up prize.

Child Category, age 5-10  – £100 John Lewis voucher

Child Category, age 11-17 – PFAFF ‘Smarter’ sewing machine 

Highly commended in child 11-17 will also get a £100 John Lewis voucher

People’s choice prize – £250

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