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This Blog is a personal record and an honest illustration of my life as a full time embroidery artist. I hope that you find it entertaining and inspiring.

shown here are the Copyright of Louise Gardiner 2012.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Bonjour Louise :)

You are probably all wondering what happened to the THREE FRENCH HENS.

Well ... here you go readers this is what happened...

As some of you may or may not know... I was offered a commission by Selvedge magazine to contribute a piece for their Christmas window in London for the twelve days of Christmas.  After several emails and searching the city of Auckland I was offered a possible solution by the gorgeous Jo Dixie, embroideress and co founder of The EMBROIDERERS LIBERATION FRONT a new organisation which began its journey in an old BMW on the 10th of the 10th of the 10th.  

It has been a debatable habit of mine to ALWAYS find a way of saying yes to commissions especially those of high calibre in the textile world.  It has been increasingly hard to chew as I travel on the other side of the globe with nothing but a red suitcase and a pair of silver disco boots yet still wanting to keep up my profile and make the most of opportunities that suddenly plonk into my lap.  This has sometimes led to challenging and near impossible situations where despite being sewing machine less and materials-less ... I still say YES.  

For me the most challenging part of my journey thus far is the realisation that actually there is more to life than embroidery, that I have spent hours and hours working away in my studio to the point that I have been become a victim of my craft and have sacrificed things in life which for me are actually more important than stitches.  LIFE.  

Living and meeting people, finding a suitable and ridiculous partners in crime and maintaining physical and emotional health and wealth.  
I have been so busy trying to make a living out of embroidery and to be recognised as an artist that I have lost track of who I am and what I value and my legs were getting hairy.

I am not saying I do not LOVE my work .... I do but I also find it difficult and frustrating, my life became difficult and frustrating and I was constantly feeling guilty about not working hard enough and not getting anywhere fast enough.  To make headway and pay the bills you have to sacrifice so much and as soon as you make headway the tax man comes along and chops your head off.

I have a lot to learn.  
With only 4 days left with friends in a country where I have toured for 4 months and spent so much time on my own I decided with the help of Co Founder of the EMBROIDERERS LIBERATION FRONT that sometimes you need to say NO.   

I always really appreciate being offered a commission but when the deadline is unrealistically short, the fee completely non existent and the materials and space scarce, one has to look in the mirror and decide .... 
'Is it really worth it?' 

After a ridiculously windy walk on a beautiful beach north west of Auckland and a cheese and pickle lunch across a big wooden table, the EMBROIDERERS LIBERATION FRONT decided that Louiji Gardinelly had to say no to work and YES TO PLAY in her final KIWI countdown. 

This was not an easy decision eventhough I was armed with only a 3 spools of thread and a small paintbrush. 
Was I tempting the Grim Reaper of embroidered doom and a career countdown? 
 Was I turning my cheek to new opportunities that could help me spring board back into life as an British embroiderer with Va Va Voom? 

Agggghhhhhhhhh ........... my friends....... who gives a stuff!  
Sometimes, Life is more important.  

So the co founder of the EMBROIDERERS LIBERATION FRONT gave me a lift back to the balcony where my Auckland friends A and J, were still sitting awaiting the arrival of a new batch of visitors, M F and M, friends I had already met at a party a few weeks ago.  

And here they are -
'The Three French Hens'

And for the rest of the week I was a friendly tourist travelling around with three gorgeous Frenchies in the day time, climbing hills, visiting the museum, relaxing in the sun, climbing trees, playing hacky, Ping Pong, practising my amazing french, going to the beach for the first time, taking photos of post boxes and then at night the whole clan cooking and eating together.  

Life is not all about work, its about climbing trees and looking at the view.

 I want to thank my friends for such an amazing few days in the arms of loveliness.  
Have a wonderful trip and see you one day in the mountains.

Aghhh tres bien mes amis, tres tres bien. 




  1. Thank you Louise! I have had an offer of work for next summer (so not last minute!)that really didn't fit in with other non-work related plans and I've been dithering about, not knowing what to do but this post has made me see sense. I know I may be jepodising future work (and I'm nothing like as well established as you in this precarious world of textiles)but I've made up my my to say no this time and put myself and family first. I've really enjoyed reading about your NZ adventures.

  2. Well done for turning down the commission. I agree, life is sometimes more important. Enjoy it.

  3. I think you made the right decision sounds like you have had an amazing last few days (as well as the last 4 months)which you wouldn't have had if you'd had to think about work. There are many years ahead for that, but you have been on what is for many a once (if Lucky) in a life time experience. really enjoyed your NZ updates



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