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, 18 January 2011

Crack Cocaine anyone?

   "I am in my final year at University studying Textiles Design
  and beginning my dissertation. Its largely about using stitch as a
  drawing tool, which I know your work is very centred around and is
  hugely inspiring to me. I am also looking at the way in which
  technology and machinery has taken over art in certain ways, and
  initial creative talent is being lost in computers. What do you think
  of the way in which technology has effected the art world? Do you
  think real raw creativity and a one to one relationship with fabrics,
  threads and drawing has become overshadowed my computer technology? Do
  you believe embroidery has become a real established art? You once
  said " I want to get embroidery on the map"- where do you think it
  stands today?"

Blimey.... :)

Is initial talent being lost in computers?  
Erm.... Think Lou think....

Well I don't know if it is ... computers have revolutionised design and sped up many laborious processes.  I know a lot of people that use computers as part of their design process but for people like me I don't use them enough. I cant, quite frankly, afford the technology even though I would love 'to have a go' and see how technology could help my working process. I would love to learn 'IT' and push it's boundaries to the max....

I use computers a lot with my administration, blog and website upkeep etc.    
The web is a fantastic research tool and you have the most amazing visual information at your fingertips which for me has enabled much more exciting research activity and informed my ideas at the beginning of projects.  Technology has allowed me to get out there in the public domain and is a invaluable tool as far as my survival as an artist. In the beginning I was hand writing letters and sending crappy prints to galleries and organisations about my work by second class post waiting weeks for a reply and spending a fortune on poor quality slides and prints from Boots.

Now, I have between 50 and 200 hits per day to my website and blog. (WOOPEE WOO!) The Web has enabled me to get commissions from high profile organisations who have never heard of free machine embroidery before and it has changed my career.  Only part of my career as an artist is about making, a large proportion of my career is about being seen, marketing myself and researching where I need to be right now.  Its hugely time consuming but I would probably no longer be an artist if it weren't for the INTERNET.  I love my laptop. I love you laptop. 

Art is a very broad term and its up to the artist and the viewer what they classify as ART.  You can make art out of anything from plasticine to photo shop, even poo. It is very subjective whether it is seen to be'good' or not.  
There's no rules.

No matter what tool you use ... a pencil, a paint brush, a sewing machine, a mechanised blue tack shooter..... its what you do with it that matters.  Eh?!
Just because something is run with electric doesn't mean it is no longer valid. Sorry if that's sounds daft but at the end of the day lead, masking tape, buttons... same same. Different approaches, different mediums, different markets.  In some cases a computer is better and in some cases a pencil.  In the same way that using Computerised technology in embroidery doesn't make something less valid, just different to look at... but we, the audience can evaluate wisely. What do we think is beautiful and worth while ? And that changes from person to person, through time.  Yes, it has a totally different look to free machine embroidery but I see it as a new and exiting medium waiting to be explored and turned inside out.  Its only wrong if the artist or maker disguises the use of the machine or computer aided technology and says 'handmade'. But really ... the reason we think it might be wrong is that it is used in mass production because quite honestly, they are the only ones that can afford the technology.... computerised embroidery has been around possibly longer than free machined art .... maybe ( no actual facts here) but on caps for instance.... So its only now that this technology is being used by artists ... not just top shop.   And it all filters through into the same system and maybe even makes people more aware of its existence ... it's merits.... thread that is... the beauty of thread.  I mean ... its everywhere.... its back in fashion.

I welcome new technology and I am not going to stop drawing and designing.  If I could get my hands on some it might mean I can cut out some of the back breaking work at the beginning, help my dicky hip get better and enable me to become more of a designer ... spending less time on laborious and possibly unnecessary ways of working OR get my ideas down faster then great ... Bring it on!  I love the handmade, the hand crafted, the bespoke.... but I also embrace the new and say to designers and artists ... don't fight it but get to know it.... use and abuse it... make it work for you and create something that has never been seen before! 
New technology helps us work in different ways that are original ... because its NEW and the artists job is to push it the extreme and explore in a way that your average design monkey cannot........

I am not saying that when I wander around a show and see trendy computerised embroidered canvasses and quietly scoff knowing damn well I am jealous because I wouldn't have a clue where to start. They probably look at my work and think I am mad.

As far as embroidery being an art form or not....  depends....
Why should it be viewed any differently to some one who pushes paint around a canvas? Its just a differnt texture and colour..... 3 dimensional lines of colour?

On the map?
Yes, it is.... its just a very small exotic country waiting quietly and patiently to take the world by storm.  Having been fortunate enough to briefly pimp stitchin' on TV and on the radio recently, I'd say things are a changin'.  

There are thousands of embroidery enthusiasts in the UK and even more across the world... Its an exciting and new medium and I am sure that the amount of people doing it has multiplied by miles since I was a wee naive little embroidery nipper 15 years ago. 

'The Crack Cocaine of Craft!' 

Cheers Kirsty ... it is!

GOOD LUCK with your project.......

Now can anyone buy me a computerised sewing machine?

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Louise :)

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