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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.

Monday, 29 November 2010

So you wanna be a SUPERSTITCHER??????

SAWADEE from Thailand Everybody!

I hope you are well, I am writing this from my temporary office space at the LOTUS cafe, in the midday heat in Bangkok! 

1. I am on telly on tomorrow!  Tuesday evening Channel 4.  

Woop! Woop!

2. My new SUPERSTITCHERS page is now LIVE and ready for bookings! 

Woop Woop!

Having embroidered the alphabet for the 'Kirstie's Homemade Home' book,  I was invited down to London to teach a master class to the popular celeb, Kirstie Allsopp, in late January 2010.  It was an unusual and fun day away from the studio meeting this lovely celebrity and a great chance to promote my own work and free machine embroidery as an art form on air!

I wore my old disco boots and a bright orange jumper and a great big pair of jangly earrings!  Yes and of course something on the bottom half..... As you can imagine it was quite difficult to know what to wear and how to wear it.  You never know who might see it!  All those ex boyfriends who are now married with kids... mad on craft!  
Maybe not ...

Having set up my two, sticker-clad, sewing machines and embroidered artwork, we were filmed for a day,  by a crew of about 5 people for CHANNEL FOUR.  It was an interesting if somewhat surreal experience from start (8am) to finish (9pm).

Beginning with drawing to music, I encouraged Kirstie to rest from her twittering.   I cant complain, she twittered my website that day and I had 2000 hits.  Anyway, we faced the blank page together and with the help of some processed rap and TV Techno we began to draw and dance with pens.  You are not allowed to play published music and have to choose from a HUGE list of TV music in every possible style you could imagine before filming.

As always, it took a while to warm up, especially after a generous pub lunch, but with the help of some eclectic music and lots of enthusiasm we soon had the sewing machines revving up and whizzing around translating drawn T-pots into stitch.  
It was impossible to get Kirstie Allsopp to stop sewing.  She enjoyed it so much and at one point she proclaimed enthusiastically to the camera -
'This is the most fun I have ever had!  Machine Embroidery is the crack cocaine of the craft world!' 
which as you can imagine, I thought was hilarious.
I have no idea how this class has been edited or for how long 'yours truly' will be shown on the program but it is to be aired on EPISODE 5 of this second series of Kirstie's Homemade Home and will certainly promote machine embroidery as a relevant craft / art form, across the nation!  I hope!
So grab a seat and a glass of wine/cup of char, for what may be my 15 seconds of fame this 
TUESDAY NIGHT (30th Nov) on Channel 4 at 8pm!

At the time, I will be asleep in a small and functional Bangkok hotel room, so any feedback and laughs would be much appreciated.
I return from my 6 month STITCHERY WITCHERY TOUR in the US, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and India on 29th December raring to kick start 2011 with three SUPERSTITCHER workshops at the gorgeous Quarry bank Mill, Styal, in January, February and March. 
If you would like to join one of my workshops …. please see the new WORKSHOP link on my website to become a proper SUPERSTITCHER!  

Places are limited so don't delay!

Louji Gardinelly.

Information for those interested -
Embroidery / Drawing Workshops with artist Louise Gardiner 

Louise Gardiner is an established international embroidery artist and 'Superstitcher', recently featured on 'Channel 4's Kirstie's Homemade Home' and on 'Woman's Hour' with Jenny Murray, Radio 4.  Louise believes that everybody is bursting with creative potential and she promotes free machine embroidery as an exciting, rich and contemporary art-form.  She is an energetic personality who has taught students of all ages and abilities.  She has a unique and artistic approach to stitch which began at Goldsmith's College, London and has developed over 15 years as a full-time professional artist with a unique studio practice. 

This is a dynamic workshop which will help you explore the use of the machined line and encourage you to be quirky, drawing with stitch, applique, inks, paints and sequins.  Through discussion, demonstration and personal tuition within a group environment, Louise promotes individual creativity and spontaneity, first with a pen, then with sewing machines! 

A great confidence building course for people who want to draw using a three dimensional medium for the first time or for those that need a fresh and dynamic approach to their creative work.  This is a fun and relaxed mini-retreat which transports you away from the everyday and gently pushes your boundaries.  Whatever your age, motivation or experience, this workshop will get your feeling creative and inspired.

Bring energy, imagination and enthusiasm and you will leave a proper SUPERSTITCHER driving a sewing machine like an Aston Martin!  

Louise's Experience 
Having trained at Goldsmith's College London on a Textiles degree and later gaining an MA at Manchester Metropolitan in Illustration, Louise has 15 years teaching experience and practise as a professional artist and illustrator.  She has taught at venues all over the UK and internationally including -

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2008 - 2010
A 3 month tour as an International speaker and tutor for ANZEG - Association of New Zealand Embroiderers Guilds 2010
A Master Class for Channel 4 teaching Kirstie Allsopp's Homemade Home, series 2. 2010
Sewing 'Live on Air' showing Jenny Murray 'Woman's Hour' how to draw with a sewing machine. 2009
The RWA, Bristol as part of 'Art of the Stitch.' 2007
The Jersey Textile Showcase. 2010
Many Guilds and Universities in the UK .1996 - 2011

'SUPERSTITCHERS - Workshop Details' 

A series of special 3 day Master class WORKSHOPS with Louise Gardiner.
DAY ONE - 9.30am for a 10am start - finish 4pm
1 Introduction to Louise's Embroidery work with samples and a talk. 
Coffee and Tea.

2 Drawing Workshop – Figurative/ Still Life

My workshop begins with mark making with the help of a variety of music styles from Jazz to World and Rap.  
Starting with simple group discussion and exercises to warm up the body and the mind in order to blow away the cobwebs and reduce the fear of the blank white page.   We will concentrate on drawing with a continuous line, ‘drawing blind’ and with rhythm to build up individual creative confidence and produce you work you didn’t think you were capable of.  Drawing exercises can last anything from two hours to a whole day depending on the length of the workshop.  Students are encouraged to let go of their preconceptions of what they are capable of and approach drawing in a physical and positive way.  It is a great way to promote self-confident mark making and to support and design original work to be taken into free machine embroidery and most of all, it's fun!

3 Drawing with the sewing machine 

In part 2 of the workshop we say 'Hello!' to our machines and even the most experienced of students is asked to think of the machine from scratch.  With clear demonstration and discussion I encourage students to use one colour and think of thread like ink flowing in a three dimensional line through the fabric.  The challenge is to remember and to apply the techniques of creative mark making but now with a sewing machine.  In a nutshell – we draw with rhythm and interesting line sometimes creating frames and borders for the pieces we will be working with later on.  Again – we can use music to help us and sometimes I have a whole group sewing to Mozart!

4 Time to develop the techniques and the drawings into free machine embroidery.  

Once we have got to know what the machine is capable of with straight stitch and zig zag and can confidently move the fabric around freely, we then begin to apply designs and drawings to the pieces of fabric using the drawings that we developed earlier in the class. Again I will demonstrate the way I work with the machine to the whole group and also will be continuously walking around giving personal advice and sewing machine tips to each individual class member.  

DAY TWO and THREE start 9-30am room open for 10am start - finish 4pm

5 Applique and creating different surfaces.

Now that we have some fantastic line based drawings in stitch, we can experiment with creating fun surfaces in the design using applique - the attachment of one fabric with another using stitch.  
We might start thinking about filing in various areas or shapes of the design with patterned or textured fabrics so creating colourful designs with a more three dimensional surface or adorning the border or background with something different .  At this point we might take time to discuss the possibilities within each students piece.

6 Applying Colour with Paints and mixed media.

Now that we have some fantastic line based drawings in stitch with applique, we can experiment with the application of colour by applying paints and other various colourful media.  
I encourage students to think ahead, choose colours carefully and to mix their palette, producing rich and powerful colour schemes which enhance their embroideries.   Again, by means of demonstration I show how therapeutic and successful the application and use of colour can be, as part of the creative process of embroidered work.  

7 Thinking about Colourful Embroidered Areas

Now that we have some fantastic line based drawings decorated with colourful paintwork and applique, we can experiment by embellishing areas of your design with the application of coloured stitches and free machine embroidery.  At this point we might take time to discuss the possibilities within each students piece and also look at some of my work examples.   I encourage students to think about both the top and bottom threads on the machine developing rich textures within their work by inventing their own repeat patterns and by drawing with coloured stitch within existing shapes.  
8 Finishing Touches

Now that we have a colourful and completely original piece of work, we might like to add a few finishing touches to the piece to give it that extra sparkle.  Through demonstration, I will encourage students to think carefully about adding feathers, sequins, buttons or beads during the workshop or at home with hand embroidery.  This may not always be necessary but sometimes it can be the icing on the cake for your original finished free machine embroidered work.   

At the end of the work shop students will have a completely original, light hearted and clever piece of original work which can be ironed and framed.  However, not everybody may finish and pieces can then be taken home to complete at your own leisure.  The workshop aims at teaching skills more importantly than rushing and finishing.  
Students are encouraged to go at their own pace.


3 Day Master Class Workshop - £180.00 
Deposit - £80 
Includes Morning Tea / coffee
Canvas for Embroidery Work
Parking at Quarry Bank Mill

Please see the WORKSHOP LINK on my website homepage for details and a booking form.

Any Queries please contact me by email.


  1. I can't wait to see the programme, It's the only thing I sit down and watch every week!!!

  2. Saw you on telly! Brilliant... and they kept in the bit where Kirsty Allsop called machine embroidery the crack cocaine of the craft world.

  3. Hi Lou glad you were on for more than 15 seconds, it was a good piece btw love the machines!

  4. Hi lou watched the programme last night glad you were on for more than 15 secs it was a good piece btw loved the machines!

  5. Fantastic, she kept the cocaine bit in, it was quite long and in the 1st bit, then it finished with a picture of your work as well.



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