Welcome to Lou Gardiner's Bloggarooney.

Hello & Welcome!
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.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Dear T,

I am sorry that it has taken me a while to get around to answering your questions which by the way .... made me laugh. AND THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT. TO HAVE A LAUGH. 

I haven't even met you but I reckon from reading your email that YOU will be ALRIGHT in whatever you do.  
For starters, if you would like to come and do some work experience with me you are most welcome.  I have no bloody idea where I will be living in a month, 6 months or 12 months but I am sure that we can work something out where you could come and have a taster of what its like , these days, to be a contemporary embroideress.  I say the word 'contemporary' with particular emphasis ;-)  
That's if you would like too....?

Nikhita was here last week and she had a nice time .... and Lyds who works for me every Friday well ... she keeps coming back AND has just got into GOLDSMITHS.  GO LYDIA! WOOOOOHOOOOOOO! 

Anyway ...your questions.... Mmm let me think.

As part of our Professional Studies module we are to research a designer maker that inspires us and that we can identify with.  


I know how busy you are so I will try and keep this brief. I have been so inspired by you and your work. 

Thank you.

Your blog is probably the best in the business and it never ceases to get my creative juices flowing. Would you mind answering a few of my questions?

Not at all seeing as you put it so nicely.  Etiquette is everything and is essential to doing well in life. :-) 
What business are we talking about though?

I was wondering what advice you would have given yourself if you could pop back to 1994 in Dr Who's Tardis and have a chat with your newly graduating-self? 

Ducking hell. 

Right OK.. 
1994.  I would have been 22. WOW. 22.
First I would have to have a cup of tea no sugar (gave up this New Year ... one of the best things I have ever done).  And if I had known how good it was to have in the morning... well... I would have had a sherry too.  

I like questions like that.  Have you ever thought of journalism in the arts? 

I would have said the following to myself.  
Life throws up a lot of opportunity. Some good, some exciting, some mediocre, some not so interesting, some bland.  So really you have to follow your heart and sometimes this means doing the more difficult things. 
Remain true to your self. 

We live in a very fabulous but pretty conservative society and to stand out takes balls. 

IF you work hard and really invest in what provides a reasonably steady yin and yang existence then I reckon that's a damn good start whatever that may be.  I had no idea that I would end up being a full time artist.  The experiences I have had throughout my life and the opportunities that I have chosen, have shaped who I am.  And what I do, I suppose, is to many other people's perspective, quite unusual and privileged.  I am very privileged to do this for a living but I have worked very hard which has made my life different from a lot of my friends. 

My work as an artist is complicated and it makes me all sorts of things.... it makes me thoughtful, happy, amused, glad of company, tired, knackered, bored, frustrated, excited, persistent, totally creative, ambitious, true, honest and also extremely proud of being completely and utterly my own boss. I am also brilliant at a party if I am in the mood :-) oh yeahhhh,  but often on my own for long periods of time. You need to learn to be on your own. 

There are a lot of people out there like me but sadly not many platforms for us to meet on/at/in.  Theres just not enough platforms. I am working slowly on creating more for embroidery ... its taking a long time. But it is gathering momentum and theres a few excellently dedicated textile artists out there who are making this happen. 
So I would have warned 'me' that it is a hard life being an artist but also really really worth it because you are hopefully quietly inspiring people and possibly making a small difference. To make a small difference in life is I reckon the most important thing. I am not sure you never really know you are but its the effort that counts. 

I would also have told myself to get my legs out more often (my Mother still says it now 'GET YOUR LEGS OUT!).   I have quite good legs ;) but my knees, shock horror are now ageing. MY KNEES!  Now, no one ever actually says " YOUR KNEES ARE GOING TO AGE. " So best advice I can give is moisturise your knees and get them out!    

With the current economical climate being what it is, a lot of artists are struggling. How have you managed to keep your career so vibrant and successful?

Thank you.
The current financial crisis is something I listen about on Radio 4 with Billy Fox in the studio 
EVERY DUCKING DAY.  Boring isn't it.  We all need a bit of sunshine.  IS IT really as bad as the press make out?  Probably but I think the press is a little boring sometimes. Lets have some good news for a change eh!? Down with financial crisis ... lets have some inexpensive fun I say. Stop buying things.  Start making things. I made two dog beds yesterday out of an old single duvet!

Anyway, I have been having a financial crisis in my life for years.  Don't get me wrong, a 'financial crisis' is very relative. But I have been working towards making a living for 18 years and now I am secure in my work which I still cant believe and it could change at any moment.  I am always aware of that.
BUT being vibrant is probably the answer and thank you for calling me vibrant.  
Such a lovely word.  I am flattered.  VIBRANT.  YES! YES! 
You see you have answered your own question.  

SUCCESSFUL - you will grow more and more sheer bloody minded as you develop as an artist ... you have to ...to survive.  Theres no salary and benefits. The great artists I know are often unknown.  
It's the most ducking strong bloody minded and energetic that are the ones that make a living. However, if I was to offer any advice that is current ... I would say .. be open minded in all aspects of your life..  AND be extraordinarily honest about what you are good at and what you are not so good at. Strive to be brilliant at what you do but most of all have some FUN.  

Do you ever hold open events at your studios?
I haven't yet at this one in the dairy but maybe I should.... 
Would you and my Bloggerobberjob fansicles come??? 
I have very occasional parties or late night tea drinking and wine and beer sessions.  But mainly tea. Sometimes I get the disco lights on and I am always pumping up the volume as I love music.  My studio is a wonderful place. I love it. 
I am sort of planning a show at the mo... it may be a touring exhibition but its still in the 'subconscious stage'.  
I cant wait to do some new work purely for exhibition though.  I am busy with commissions that are, don't get me wrong, ..fantastic and they of course maintain my security BUT to make work for an exhibition is very exciting and I have loads of new ideas.  Scarf collection first though.  Everything takes time. NOT ENOUGH TIME and getting lazier day by day. I am lucky to get a huge variety of work which makes my job worthwhile. 

If you could spare the time to reply to this email I would be so very grateful! Before I go, I would just like to say while I have the chance that I really hope that somebody out there creates that documentary about you, it would be ducking fabulous!!

SO DO I! It would be ducking funny.  
Thank you for being different.
Ducking Fabulous innit.
Louiji x

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