Lou Gardiner, textile artist

The festive season can involve a fair amount of travelling to and fro to see family and friends, and so it was that I found myself passing through London en route for Brighton. This helpfully presented the opportunity to go to the Anthropologie Gallery at 131-141 King’s Road to see the work of textile artist Lou Gardiner.

The Gallery occupies two shop windows to the far right of the store ‘Anthropologie’ and a room-sized area behind the window displays which allows for a generous display of work.

I heard a while ago about Lou Gardiner from a young friend of mine and had already seen online her sumptuous velvet cushions in royal colours, enriched with decorative embroidery which have appeared  at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Show in Manchester. Seeing the work in ‘real life’, was another experience altogether.

The pieces in this exhibition included velvet cushions and vast pouffes (that could provide seating for two at least!), complex embroidered  wall hangings, framed textile pieces, hugedecorative  silk scarves and a wonderful embroidered quilt, that would be at home on a bed, on a wall, or perhaps even thrown across the back of a film-star.You can see it hanging immediately behind the artist in the photograph below

Best of all, Lou Gardiner  herself was in residence, sat at her sewing machine (which I was pleased to see is the same as mine!) and she was willing to talk to us about her work.

Many of the designs represented were based on natural forms: particularly striking were those based on corals, with lots of rich reds and pinks, involving  massed stitching and encrusted with beads. I loved them!  The current exhibition is on until the end of January 2016. Catch it if you can and if you can’t, have a look at the website: http://www.lougardiner.co.uk.

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This is my ‘Little Leaf’ brown fabric design. You can find it here.

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Quilt patterns are here, Fabrics are here, Classes are here

A Calendar Tea-towel Design

Season’s greetings and good wishes to everyone who reads this! (8,388 visitors to date – thank you all for dropping in)

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Christmas cooking was challenging and fun as half the gathered company was vegetarian and the other half meat-eating. All went well with two separate main dishes with the same vegetables and roast potatoes for everyone plus vegetarian gravy (well done, Bisto!). The only slight hitch in the proceedings was the discovery many hours after our lunch of a tray full of roast parsnips in the baking oven of the Aga, reduced to completely carbonised black wedges! And they are absolutely my favourite seasonal vegetable.  The only disadvantage of the Aga is that no cooking smells are released into the room. Well, it’s an advantage really, but on this occasion it led to my oversight remaining un-noticed, sadly.

Some people name their Agas, so if ours has one, its name is Blanche, due to its colour. It’s a three-oven Aga, which I am unused to (hence the error above) and I plan to do more baking in the coming year to make use of the baking oven. It is electric and is partly powered by our solar panels – hooray. The metal contraption hanging above the Aga on the left, is the very effective toast maker (the bread is clamped between two mesh layers shaped like ping-pong bats and the whole thing is placed on the hot plate of the Aga).

So here is Blanche, modelling my 2016 Calendar, which also gives me the opportunity to send you best wishes for the coming year! And if you’d like to make a calendar like this for yourself, just visit my Spoonflower design studio, by clicking the ‘Fabric Designs’ link top right on this website. You will only need to buy one fat quarter (the linen-cotton mix fabric is great) and put a narrow double hem on each side.

Calendar tea towel

Editor’s note: an un-dated version of this design is now available – designed to fit on a fat quarter of linen-cotton fabric (which is 54″ wide).  You can find it here.

Sewing tea-towel

Thank you for reading my blog. Quilt patterns are here, Fabrics are here, Classes are here

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