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Gwen Lowery “Paints the Universe” Guest blogger: Christina Erickson

October 2, 2015

“Lightning” by Gwen Lowery

The first time I saw one of Gwen Lowery’s densely machine-stitched pieces, it took my breath away, like looking out at the star-filled skies in the countryside where there isn’t ambient city light.  At the 20th Anniversary celebration, we had the pleasure of hearing about Gwen’s journey from Microsoft techie to full-time artist.

Gwen Lowery giving lecture at the Gail Harker Center for the Arts

Gwen Lowery giving her lecture at the Gail Harker Center for the Arts

Gwen is one of the original graduate students of Gail’s school, back when she was teaching the “City & Guilds of London” embroidery curriculum.  While she claims to not being a good student, the persistence and commitment to bettering herself and her art paid off.  During her studies, she picked atmospheric conditions for her theme.  Her stitched pieces boldly reflect light, clouds and weather.  For many years, Gwen and her husband lived on Shaw Island, where she spent time studying the elements and bringing her observations into her artwork.

Some of Gwen Lowery's

Some of Gwen Lowery’s “Aurora” series

Gwen’s journey also took many turns as she searched for the right tools to create the kind of pieces she envisioned: BIG.  Starting with a home sewing machine, she found the size limiting, so her next step was to get a long-arm quilting machine.  She now mostly uses a commercial 15-needle embroidery machine.  With this, she can design and plan all her pieces on her computer and have the machine running virtually non-stop.

Beautiful Machine Embroidery by Gwen Lowery:

Gwen Lowery “Aurora Towers”

The swirling colors of Aurora Borealis inspire her current work.  Gwen graciously shared her process and had several pieces available at the Center for viewing.  Her most recent project has been constructing a series of “Aurora Towers”.  These 3-D pillars have differing numbers of sides and different heights, ranging from four feet to ten feet (4′ to 10′).  They’re composed of panels of embroidery and each side of each panel continues the design from the surrounding panels.

Lecture attendees at the Gail Harker Center for the Arts view one of Gwen Lowery's

Lecture attendees view one of Gwen Lowery’s “Aurora Towers”

An amazing artist and generous supporter of the Gail Harker Center, Gwen attributes her studies at the Center to her level of success and happiness with her stitched artwork. Those of us who attended the lecture left with an inspired spirit- seeing that our personal journeys will evolve one stitch at a time.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane M permalink
    October 2, 2015 12:19 pm

    Its difficult to see what is stitched, dyed, sewn in this work. Are there more detailed pictures available?

  2. Penny Peters permalink
    October 2, 2015 5:13 pm

    Gwen, Congratulations! Your colors dance and move
    like the stars and aurora themselves.

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