A chance meeting...
Many, many, years ago when I was researching for a book I was writing, and came across a piece of stitched illustration that made me stop in my tracks. It was by #LouiseGardiner a textile and illustration artist who at the time loved people watching and evoking a smile with her creative work. We got chatting and I didn't realise that almost 15 years later this lovely, energetic and hugely talented lady would still be part of my life...
Since that chance meeting, Lou's work has featured in both my books. But more importantly Lou's name has become synonymous with the notion of drawing in thread. Lou is hugely respected as the 'Queen of Contemporary Embroidery' and a mighty ambassador for all things stitch in the UK.
Lou has created quilts for Liberty, exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery, internationally, and back home at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show. She has designed campaigns for companies such as Pukka Herbs and created unique pieces for hospitals, private clients and hotels.
One day Lou was sitting at her sewing machine contemplating her previous mammoth #pukkaherbs project and her thoughts turned into clouds floating across the landscape. In that moment an inspiring idea was born! She invited women via her social media to send her stitched clouds that celebrated #womankind Clouds started arriving in the post from all over the world. There were hundreds. But they didn't come alone, they came with letters, stories and poems connecting their emotions to Lou's project like an invisible thread.
I decided my own students should take part. We would also answer the call! We spent a few weeks chatting, stitching and bonding over these little clouds. It was an experience that I am truly grateful for. Many of the women who shared their stories for this project still meet with me weekly to attend my #StitchStories class at Insole Court
Here are some beauties by Sarah Jones and Feeza Jamal #StitchACloud :
I also got my needle and threads out and stitched a cloud depicting a swan. The words carry a special fondness to me as it was the song my mum sang to me as a child. When I got married she explained how swans stay together for life. When I had children she sent cards with swans swimming with their treasured cygnets. Now I run a brain injury art and stitch group where my students often describe their lives to be like a swan who glides along the waters surface looking fine but underneath they are paddling like mad to keep up!
With way over 300 clouds, Lou had created a joyful, meaningful project that has touched the lives of so many across the world. A potential exhibition looms and to fund the next step Lou has made some of the clouds into a limited edition silk scarf. I am honoured that my little swan has a place on this delightful thing of sheer beauty, so I thought I would share it with you here. I could not contain my excitement when exciting parcel arrived today....
You can buy the scarves in two colours and two sizes by visiting here:
Tomorrow (Wednesday 19th December 2018) you can see Louise Gardiner on Kirstie's Handmade Christmas - Channel 4 at 5:00pm
This is not a paid blog post - This is just a celebration of a chance meeting that developed a creative friendship worth sharing.... I hope you enjoyed it
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