Posted by: marymarthatours | November 8, 2013

Meeting an Artist in a Garden – Bren Boardman


Bren and Martha at Mill Dene Garden

On the day after our arrival in England this September for the 2013 Quilts and Textiles of England & Wales Tour, we soaked up the sunshine in a beautiful English garden.  And the extra treat was time spent with Bren Boardman, a textile artist.  (  The garden was Mill Dene Garden, created by Wendy Dare and her husband.  Check out our past blog posting about this delightful garden and the history of its creation.

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Open and secluded spaces at Mill Dene Garden


When I contacted Wendy about a tour visit to her garden, she suggested that our group might enjoy her friend Bren, and oh, my, we did.  Bren is a professional, contemporary textile artist who sells her work, teaches, and inspires others.  As we sat or stood in a shady spot in the courtyard on the bright, sunny day, Bren shared with us samples of her textile art.  She explained the method of how she paints and then stitches the material to create her colorful, impressionistic reflections which often have words and writing included in the piece.


I was particularly enchanted by Bren’s creative process which starts long before an actual project is begun.  She begins with a sketchbook in which she has stored images and inspirational drawings, some of which come from her quiet, reflective times in a garden.  Her sketchbooks are works of art in themselves, as she intersperses pages of color and images with blank pages ready to be filled when the time and spirit is right.  Bren’s own words say it best:  “The white pages are splashed with vibrant background colours as I plant seeds in the form of notes, poems, drawings, and cuttings from garden magazines.  Gradually, tiny ideas grow and I move from page to fabric, painting, printing, sketching and stitching lines of flowers, seedheads, and foliage on vast quantities of dyed Lutradur.”  (Lutradur is a spun bond web material manufactured by Pellon which Bren uses for her mixed media and fabric art.)  It’s an evolving process that flows from a creative spark, and the end results mirror that spirit which is so alive in nature.


Bren’s approach to her art is very expressive and reflective and is very inspirational for anyone who is energized by the creative process.  It was a beautiful morning and start for our tour.  What could be better than sitting in the sunshine in a lovely cottage-style English garden and being inspired by a creative, accomplished artist who is so connected to nature?

Thank you, Bren, for sharing your work, and thank you, Wendy, for suggesting her, for providing the perfect setting to meet her, and for the sunny morning.

(by Martha)

Photo credits:  all photos copyright by Martha Liska and Mary Wallace.


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