Welcome to Lou Gardiner's Bloggarooney.

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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, 5 October 2010

You do not know how creative you are....

Hello, is it me you're looking for? (LOUIJI GARDINELLY. www.lougardiner.co.uk)

I can see it in your eyes (AGHH WHAT BEAUTIFUL EYES :)
I can see it in your smile 

(I can't actually but I am imagining it is a beautiful smile)
You're all I've ever wanted, and my arms are open wide (as a friend)
'Cause you know just what to say 

(even though you actually don't comment very much...)
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much, I love you ... :)

I long to see the sunlight in your hair :)

And tell you time and time again how much I care :)
Sometimes I feel my heart will overflow :) 

(except that you never write but I know you are busy)
Hello, I've just got to let you know.... :/

'Cause I wonder where you are (out there in the world?)
And I wonder what you do (when you are not online...)
Are you somewhere feeling lonely, or is someone loving you?  (Hope so!)

Tell me how to win your heart (yeah yeah)
For I haven't got a clue
But let me start by saying, I love you ... BLESS your cottons:)

Lionel Richie .... the best ever romantic cheese ball....  
The best ever perm.

I'm talking about my hair in the 80's not his. 

A romantic gesture from me to you.
This song is dedicated to all the followers of my blog and the people who have looked out for me and after me in NZ.

COME ON LETS HAVE ANOTHER FOLLOWER....... then I will have 40!!!!  
WOOP WOOP! I thought I was doing quite well until I looked at other blogs which have hundreds of followers...... well my followers are select!

After an interesting think and a lovely conversation with a renowned NZ writer and special gift to NZ lady, I want to get my blog mojo back which has been missing for a while. 

I have lost sight on why I am keeping this and I want it to be exploration of feeling ..... yeah man.... an exploration of the feeling ... BRING IT ON SISTA!

I have now completely finished the tour.
I can honestly say that I feel rather drained, squeezed like a soft soapy sponge but somewhat content at the same time that I have done my best. 
The last day of my NZ Stitchery Witchery Tour was today.  
I got back to the hostel absolutely knackered after a sleepless night listening to the big LOUD man MC-ing into a microphone until  6.30am this morning in the club down below from my bed on the 5TH.  The clubs name is SANDWICHES ..... yeah you heard me... SANDWICHES! That's a terrible name for a club of the non bread variety.

There I was, 5 floors up, different building, earplugs in and I was there, right in the middle of the sandwich.  Anyway, today I came home (room 519, YHA, Wellington) after a great workshop and I got under the duvet and went to sleep for two hours.  It was a sleep celebration.

I have taught approximately 190 women and 1 man since arriving here on July 5th in 14 workshops. I have met many many ladies.... and spoken to  a guesstimate of about 600 people about my work.  I have done at a guess, approximately 70 demos and broken about 20 needles.  I have tried to answer the question 'So where are you from in the UK?'  'How did you start embroidery?'...is there anything you don't eat?' but most of all 'What should I do next?' in an original and interested kind of way to every single person I have met.  Even at the end of the day despite endless mouth ulcers and dark bags under my eyes, with a mouth full of food, I have tried my best to answer with enthusiasm.  There were times when it was really hard and I am sorry when I wasn't very convincing! I was knackered!

It has been a fantastic experience, a long haul, an adventure of sorts, a demanding road trip and I have had my ups and downs. I have met fabulous and hospitable people who I would like to know better for longer.  
Many ladies, I believe, have felt really inspired by the workshop, smiley and keen students eager for a kick start.  There have been many incidences where I have pushed back the tears.  Sounds sentimental I know but to have seen people surprise themselves; achieve more than they they thought was appropriate for a workshop, than they were capable of and discover something about themselves. To have interacted with lovely lovely ladies from 30 -90 who have embraced the workshop with such enthusiasm and humour, to have had things brought for me, little gifts, such as handmade fabric strawberry decorations, coffee bags, homemade brooches, cakes, books, photographs, knitted hats, one wonderful hand embroidery (B!) recipes and daft paraphenalia to make me laugh, has been really touching. To see ladies who have had seriously tough times of late, who have been really poorly, to turn up despite the odds to my workshop and embrace modern methods of working with an open mind and an appetite for the new.  Amazing!!!!  You are a wonderful people and I am moved and impressed by your community, your network, your energy and your passion.

It's been a very touching trip, tough and tiring ... wouldn't do it the same way again but will remember the trip with a smile.  

There was of course the Hamilton Humdinger.  The winner of the negative experiences award was won in the first four days of my arrival and not by a Kiwi.  I was taken into an office and 'told off!' like a school girl. The list of ridiculous offences presented to me was a very unfortunate beginning as an international visitor.  I have to say that it soured my expectations of my tour and I found the first leg of this intense tour very difficult having had the stuffing knocked out of me at a time when I was feeling homesick and tired. I never wrote about it for fear of insulting someone I could only describe as ridiculous and illinformed, but its funny how it has stuck with me for the entire trip and it is a great shame that it happened. Maybe I should have dealt with it at the time but I tried to remain polite and unruffled, knowing that it was inappropriate behaviour by someone who had never really spoken to me before in my life and had the listening ability of white noise.  BUT possibly a very tired lady so lets see it as water under the bridge. A learning curve.

DESPITE ALL, things must be kept in perspective, AND of course like a pleasant and warm bath, KIWI hospitality took over and the tour was kick started with fantastic list of hosts, a succession of lovely caring women and their families who made the removal from my life as I knew it in Bristol and my new nomadic existence with a red suitcase and a pair of worn out disco boots, slightly easier.  Its a shame sometimes that negative experiences have more resonance than positive ones but I WILL remember New Zealand for the generosity of my hosts and the amazing itinerary that EB arranged for me, the laughs I had with people I hardly know and the selection of mad and colourful stitched portraits that are scattered throughout the country.  A huge quirky and crazy portrait of the Embroiderer's Guild in NZ. An opportunity for a fantastic exhibition ... a portrait of the embroiderers in NZ and the stitchery witchery wand of Louji Gardinelly.  About 200 pieces to choose from...... GET THEM FINISHED GALS!!!

I have jumped a long leap and landed right outside my own comfortable cotton wool studio environment on the other side of the globe .... and I pushed my students creative boundaries, made many people think outside the box, drawing to rap, rave, techno, jazz, classical and hip hop.  Drawing blind folded, left handed, not looking at the paper, drawing each other, with continuous line, to music, with strangers, then of course with sewing machines... large mechanised drawing machines, lines of inky thread.  

I have introduced a totally new approach and it will have an impact. 
I don't think I realise quite how much it has made people think.  I just guess from 'my ladies' faces when I ask if they want to ask any questions and I look around at the faces in the groups surrounding me .... that they are not sure what to ask, what to say and quite frankly in shock and that this is the first time in years that someone has seen them as a 'Creative person' with the potential to create original work.  I just happen to have asked people to start from scratch that's all. Nothing complex.  Just given people permission to create a mark.  To take what I have shown them and make it their own. 'You have taken me right out of my comfort zone' has been said to me a lot of times and then a big smile ensues. I have said ' I dont know.... what do you think you should do next...?' ' What colour do you think it should be' and over and over again ' There arent any rules... you make your own rules.' :)


It's quite delightfully bonkers that it has been so easy to challenge what people thought their boundaries were and I cant quite appreciate what people really think about it... BUT I know that I have given away my methods of working after all these years of experimentation and shared my techniques knowing that they are not just mine and you cant cosset these things as your own.  I feel rather bereft but wholesome at the same time.  Maybe its a bit of an anti-climax now sitting here on my own .... its bound to be.  

I look at myself on this bizarre journey and the minimal contact I have with people that know me back home.  It makes me think of this abstract situation where I am sitting in a room full of strangers in a green and blue YHA at the end of something that I cant quite place yet. I am not sure what I have learned but I have become very used to drifting around when I am not working and being one minute in charge of a large workshop and the next minute on my own in a remote place.    

There is a group of young travellers talking about their experiences which makes me feel old and a bit smug and also jealous that I am no longer worried about the things that they are worried about. Yet I am here with them a wanderer... worried about my own future and the uncertainty of going home.

SO .... take what I have shown you and remember it ws me that showed you.... share your creativity and never COPY.  Its COPY WRONG not COPY RIGHT.

As Mary says ' Treasure the traditional and celebrate the contemporary.'

And put some music on, SMILE and draw some marks.

Bon Voyage.
The disco boots tread on....

Louz the Thread.

1 comment:

  1. I believe I am your 40th follower!
    I've just been shopping in Waitrose and saw a lovely cupcake card by you. When I see something I like I always Google the person - hence my arrival here.
    Well after reading your blog I feel strangely moved by it all. You've certainly painted with words rather than stitches today.
    I've been painting for about 16 yrs now and found I was getting bored. When my daughter got married this year I decided to make a silk jacket after 20 yrs of not sewing. Buying a sewing magazine opened up a whole new world of textiles to me. That was in May and now I'm hooked. I can combine my art with stitches. My studio now contains a new sewing machine an embellishing machine, countless balls of wool, lace, merino tops, organzas, ribbons and all manner of lovelities.

    Don't know why I said all that.

    Looking forward to more of your posts. I'm not very good at posting on my blog. In fact I'm thinking I ought to start one with a different name - more textiley.



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Louise :)

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