Guest Blog post by the textile artist Louise Gardiner
10 days and counting to complete the last large firework style embroidery and embroidered silk quilt for my first SOLO show in London – Lou Gardiner hits the streets paved with gold and struts her stitchy stuff in Chelsea, London and actually, I am a little nervous.
For the past 3 months I have seldom left my studio and at times this familiar room has changed identity from sanctuary to cell. My extrovert has turned introvert, my world has shrunk in size. If it wasn’t for that glorious bottle of sherry and pumping music system I would have thrown my sewing machine out of the window by now. Twitter IS my social life.
However, my passion for metallic thread, high vis, linen, canvas, felt, glass beading and neon runs deep. Something dark and mysterious drives me forward to create these large wall based pieces of embroidered and appliquéd art which quite literally burst out or roll off the wall. The show titled ‘You Blow Me Away’ is about energy, creativity and feeling.
My embroidery is an extension of who I am, good cop – bad cop. It is how I feel and communicate with the world. Inspired by my sadness and my joy, it is all consuming in the run up to a show as I do not want to disappoint and hope to inspire. A passionate ambassador of individual expression and creative empowerment, I pour myself into the process of each artwork, ibuprofen and heat packs at the ready. The ‘stitchery witchery’ requires total dedication and as the hours clock up the visual success of each piece becomes a risky gamble and my confidence flies and falls. Will it work or won’t it?
It is rather ironic that a medium which requires such concentrated isolation and quiet has the potential to contain such energetic force and speak so confidently to such a broad audience. Embroidery has the potential to be magnificent and the process can be extremely addictive but as a long term zealot of this beguiling medium I can tell you now, sometimes the processes can be really deadly boring. Stitching metallic thread for hours on end over the background of a piece of silk is like painting a hall with a feather. It can be so intensely dull I imagine myself driving over and over my sewing machine with a tractor whilst I work. BUT there is no escaping the truth that if you do cover the background in silver IT WILL look better so you do it. You do it because you want people to look at it and feel great!
Embroidery is a complicated, layered, timeless, beautiful, extraordinary medium which found me. Maybe its debilitating isolated nature is exactly what produces magical and richly intense results. Combine embroidery with emotion, passion, sherry, imagination and dance music and there are no limits to what you can do! I want my embroidery to explode!
The Anthropologie Gallery
131-141 Kings Road
Until 31st January 2016