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, 21 June 2011

Well hello bloggerfollowers and fine fine folk.

It is summer solstice today but looking through the window right now it's hard to imagine that the days are going to get shorter as there ain't no sun.  Saying that, yesterday I was packing my cards outside with my sister and it was SO lovely to get a bit of sun on my face.  Oooh Yeah baby, more please more Mrs Summer Pots.

My solo show at Quarry Bank Mill in Styal has been going very well indeed and I think now I have sold about 16 of the pieces so I am less of a poor artist.  The commission waiting list is long and today I added commission number 12 which I plan to do in February of next year.  That sounds bonkers.  The thought that I will be stitching through Christmas and New Year on commissions of a huge variety, from large detailed crowd scenes to floral explosions with flower fairies and ducks with cigarette holders is rather exciting and frightening at the same time.  Makes me feel slightly sick.  The fact I have got to the point where I have a waiting list is a fantastic but also daunting mega moo as theres a lot of miles to go on the machine and quite a few of them really test my creative capabilities.
But ... one step at a time hey cowboy.  One step at a time.

I am in the process of doing a million little jobs, running around in circles and deciding where I want to be based long term.  Much as Manchester is a large and vibrant city I am missing Bristol very much as its large 'village' atmosphere suits my personality somehow.

It has been wonderfulllllllllllll living closer to my family but I miss the community and the convenience of the city of BRIZZLE and I am thinking that long term this is where I would like to build my home.
I miss walking everywhere.  THIS has quite frankly 'dun my head in' for the past 4 months and this, plus the fact I have so much work to do has made me a little 'bloggerobbajob shy'.  So sorry about that.

It has been a priveledge to do this exhibition at the mill and if you can do pop and see it as it has to be the most professsssh so far.  There are always loads of things to do in the run up to the show but whats been great about this is it is in the museum half a mile away from where I was raised as a young chicken and I have been clucking around the museum grounds since I was old enough to wear wellies.

So many jobs that aren't really taken in to account in the timing and prepping for a show are really important.  Getting everything photographed professionally before it is framed is a huge priority now.  I have let so many pieces go in the past as I have been in too much of a rush to do this.

The reverse of the elephants before I stretched it.  
Reversed fake lizard skin plastic coated linen..... I liked the back so i used it.  

The front with stretching pins.

The biggy 'Follow your heart'  being snapped in R's Studio.

I have been meaning to post thesee exhibition photos for those of you who cant make it to Cheshire so here they are at last for your perusal ...... I am the one that my friend describes as a cuddly tangerine in an orangey red dress at the bottom....

Preparing for the show, building last minute display boards, painting, mirror plating the work, cleaning etc  .... and then of course hanging the exhibition... with proper little National Trust helpers!  Bliss!

Hard to imagine the room during hanging as theres paraphernalia everywhere and school kids dressed as apprentices travelling through the exhibition room to the museum every few minutes.  
But it was a fab and smooth process all the same.

As the first exhibitor in this new space, there was a lot to organise between us... lighting, new display boards, furniture, display cabinets..... and so on...  The mill staff are fantastic... such a lovely team of down to earth and kind and excitable to work with.  Its been such a nice way to re-familiarise myself with this fantastic resource, an amazing museum ... across the fields!

How many people does it take to get a piece straight!?  
I was the final word on straightness!  Yeah ... what?! 
And catching a few snaps in the process to show you guys.

Suddenly, the Private view was exciting and busy.  And damn hot.
I did not stop to take breath for several hours and of course was a bit jaded after the preparations.  
But a little booze and a few nibbles and I managed to talk to everyone that was patient enough to wait.  Its not often you get to feel like a celeb but I got to experience what it is like to have people waiting to ask you questions.  I had a queue!  Hilarious. 
It was quite strange and I very rarely got to look around the room I was so in demand, how lovely.  
I was very very ready for a few glasses of plonk and a game of ping pong in my jeans when the end of the night arrived !

If one more person asks... 'How long do they take you.'
I still don't know what to answer. 

In a spin.....

A busy and very hot room.

I think we had about 200-250 guests.  
Lots of friends and family turned up to support me .... 

The room is perfect for display with good natural lighting and good looking beams.

Loved doing the display cabinets.

'Nice Buns' here next to some large scales and a bale of cotton.

Tools of the trade on show....

Threads collected from the floor.

Buzzing with Jackie's SUPERB merangues.

The finished framed and hung 'TUMBLESEED' first to sell. 
First ever piece on black... vurydrammatic! 

Bucks fizz and canapes.... 

The cuddly tangerine.

I was so chuffed with the display cabinets and really enjoyed filling them with 'stuff' with my lovely work experience helper Jess... the very last job on the list before the big day.  
They add a new dimension to the exhibition and hopefully people can appreciate some of the process involved and certainly the simple but beautiful materials.

The other lovely touch was the artist statement and vinyl lettering on the wall.  
Rock on Tommy! 



  1. Your work is wonderful and I'm going to get myself along to Styal soon. Sounds like you are going to be very busy!

  2. it looks amazing!! love the elephants!! :)

  3. Hi,
    I'm very grateful for the pictures from the exhibition. No, I won't make it to Cheshire right now.
    And I'm a big fun of your art, chapeaux bas!

  4. Hi Louise,
    You won't remember me, but I was part of your class at the Hamilton Embroiderer's Conference in New Zealand, and I had a ball! Thank you!

    I'm coming to England in a couple of weeks, and I'm going to get to see your show!! Yahoo!!! I'm planning to visit Cheshire specially to see it, and I'm so looking forward to it! Usually the exhibitions I most want to see finish the week before we get there, or start the day after we fly off!!

    The blog pictures look great, and I'm looking forward to seeing it in the flesh.

    Best wishes with the "where-do-I-want-to-live?" question. A while ago I asked you how you resolved the sewing machine problem - did you look at the Bernina 800 series?

    Thanks for blogging

  5. Virginia! Were you the lady with long hair? Or the lady with black hair? Tell me tell me..... I can remember you all ... I just need a little direction. I am thrilled that you will make it to my exhibition. I am not there this week weds to Monday as I am going away but try and let me know when you will be there and I will meet you if I can.


  6. Hi Louise, no, I was neither of those - but you may recall my rectangular box of 100 bobbins! Also I picked you up from the bus when you arrived in Wellington to teach in Karori, and took you to your billet.

    I'm going with Gail Cowley, who runs School of Stitched Textiles from where I've just completed my C&G diploma (Yahoo - finished!!). We'll be there around about midday on Friday 5th August... these overseas trips take planning!!

    If you're free to be there it would be good to catch up again, but I understand you'll be a pretty busy chicken if you're to get all those commissions done.

    I'll be interested to hear what you ended up doing on the sewing machine front, too.

  7. I'd be very interested to know what kind of sewing machine(s) you use, Louise!

    I'm completely enthralled with your work - consider yourself my newest idol!!! :-) I am so happy to have come across you on the web - I am newly inspired to get back to my love of textile doodling!

    Thanks for the inspiration you've provided!



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Louise :)

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