My Material Life

Louis Gartner’s Needlepoint Malachite

I wanted to show you something beautiful and green this St. Patrick’s Day, and I can’t imagine what would fit that bill better than Mr. Gartner’s amazing needlepoint.  Have you seen this before?  If I remember correctly, I discovered this a few years ago on a page featuring malachite in Domino magazine.  I wasn’t really interested in needlepoint or malachite before I saw this, but now …

These images come from Mr. Gartner’s book, Needlepoint Design, published in 1970.  He had a varied design career, but was a master at needlepoint.  His books (he published two on needlepoint) are all about creating your own designs – or better yet, using his.

See how he went from using Louis J. Gartner, Jr. (1970) to simply Lou Gartner (1975) for the second book?  It’s so symbolic of the times; everyone became so much more casual by the mid-seventies.  But he seemed like a man who was very fondly regarded, and I’m guessing Lou really suited him best.  So let’s just refer to him as Lou, shall we?

What a career Lou had – graduating from Cornell, working with Irving Penn, Vogue magazine, House & Garden magazine, Sotheby’s, and even a Countess as a professional designer in their Palm Beach shop (see his engaging obituary here).

Lou’s needlepoint designs range from the natural world (stone, butterflies, animals) to classic sculptural pieces (he loved Italy) to repeating patterns.  He was brilliant at trompe l’oeil and at creating shadow and dimension on his canvas.  (See cane on chair in photo above and overhead view of dog on cushion with one real and one faux tassel.)  Such an original.

These last two photos are from the second book.  I love the placement of these nature-inspired creations in the natural world.  And the seashell pillows just make me swoon.  I have a small malachite project I’ll share with you shortly, but after that I’m going to start on a small clam shell pillow.  Are you inspired yet?  Then waste no time in searching up Lou’s titles.  They are still readily available at good prices from used booksellers.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Here are a few celebratory ideas for you before I sign off.  Click on any of the photos below to link to their original posts.

DSCF2133       IMG_1794       IMG_7098      IMG_1863a


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