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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.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


AHOY there me Hearties! 

I have recently completed a commission to create a giant painted and embroidered quilt as part of Liberty’s 140th anniversary celebrations - and I will be joining it in the window as part of a living display this Friday 15th May!

The quilt will be displayed in the department store’s window on Great Marlborough Street until the 
18th May and will then be exhibited in the Liberty store for a further 11 months to celebrate this iconic store’s history in the new Haberdashery Department.

The quilt, titled ‘The Liberty Lighthouse of Love’, takes Victorian maritime tattoos as its theme, inspired by the fact that the famous Tudor-style department store was built using timbers from two naval ships, 
HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan.

 It depicts a stylised red and white lighthouse beaming out over stormy seas set within a rope frame. Beneath is a ship’s wheel surrounded by old English roses and steered by two busty babes reminiscent of the female figures sailors had tattooed on their arms. Above is a decorative scroll worked with the name Liberty and supported by two glamorous pouting mermaids, while other motifs include swallows, stars and union jacks. 

I spent 5 days researching historical maritime tattoos and was attracted to their subversive, faintly cheeky nature. To reflect this I used the strong reds, blues and blacks associated with traditional tattoos, but has also added brighter colours such as neon, gold and metallic and has placed the central lighthouse in frame of high-visibility fabric which will glow in the right direct light.

I have LOVED this challenge and it has been a great opportunity to prove that 
embroidery can be a cheeky and fun medium.

Laura Greig from Liberty said ... 

“Everybody is blown away by Lou’s maritime quilt. We are so excited to have it in the window 
and on display in the shop for our special Birthday celebrations.” 

Ed Burstell tweeted - 

"Here's a beautiful Tribute to our  +Liberty London 140 years from the fab @loulougardiner come and check out our window!"   

The quilt measures 1.6 m x 2.3 m and is the largest single piece I have ever made.  The making process was highly time consuming and involved machine embroidering a full scale drawing of the design onto the linen ground using a domestic sewing machine.  

Next the embroidered outlines were worked up using a combination of appliqué, paint, ink and further embroidery to create a multi-layered, textured piece.  It had to be complete for delivery in 20 days due to tight deadlines – which was I can tell you an exhilarating challenge. 


Please come and wave on Friday 15th May 2015 ....at the window, 
Great Marlborough Street, London. 

Best Wishes,



1 comment:

  1. Hiya! I've enjoyed following the journey on Twitter. It looks fab there in the Liberty window. I bet it is really beautiful up close- I can just see the shimmery threads in your photos. Fab!



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Louise :)