The Maker Series: Clive Bruder

Here at Aurifil, we’re honored to have a strong and revered platform through which to share the work of artists creating both beautiful and impactful work across the world. From quilters to garment makers, embroiderers to textile illustrators, we find ourselves consistently in awe, eager to absorb as much as possible. There is something particularly magnificent about working within such a uniquely creative industry and we feel endlessly grateful to be here, each and every day.

Today, we’re delighted to highlight the work of Aurifil Designer Clive Bruder. We first met Clive earlier this year and were completely taken with his passion, his energy, and his remarkable style.

Clive’s creative path is long, winding, & beautiful, having started when he was only 10. He and his mum made curtains for their home on an old hand cranked Singer Sewing Machine that was given to them by a relative. That experience sparked a lifelong love and Clive went on to study textile design, earning a Fashion BA Honours Degree at University College for the Creative Arts in Epsom. This is where he really honed my skills as a sewer and pattern cutter. 

These days, Clive sews, quilts, and creates with a wide variety of materials and dedicates his heart and soul to the #BoysSewToo movement, encouraging and empowering an often excluded community within the textile world. Clive’s debut Aurifil collection releases this Fall. Comprised of a bold and bright range of Aurifil’s 100% Cotton 50wt, 40wt, and 28wt threads, the range was selected with garment construction in mind. We’re so thrilled to welcome Clive to Auribuzz, to share more about his experience with the Terrence Higgins Memorial Quilt. HUGE thanks to Clive!

Dearest friends of the sewing world and beyond,

Today, I want to take a moment to share an incredibly touching and life-changing experience that has transformed me on both a personal, professional, and creative level. As a sewer and a proud gay man, being a part of the Terrence Higgins Memorial 40th Anniversary Quilt project has left an indelible mark on my heart and soul. As a fairly new member to the quilting community, I was honored to be approached to be part of this wonderful and important project. Quilting for me is a moment to sit and be precise in my sewing and this gave me so much more than that. It was thought provoking with every stitch made. 

For those who may not be familiar, memorial quilts serve as a powerful symbol commemorating the lives lost to HIV/AIDS while celebrating the resilience and strength of the LGBTQ+ community. Each stitched panel represents a unique story, a testament to the lives impacted by this global epidemic. Being entrusted with this sacred duty of contributing to such an important piece of artwork has been nothing short of humbling.

Terrence Higgins was the first man to pass away from HIV/AIDS in the UK. I was made aware very early on in this project that he had not received a memory quilt when he passed. So this was something I had to get right… to honour him. Working collaboratively with the Terrence Higgins Trust and a couple of other sewers, the panel has been a real labour of love. Being part of this was also a moment of realisation– that contributing was also important to those who personally knew Terrence. I wanted to honour them, too, in making sure I did this piece the justice for Terrence and his chosen family and friends. The message this particular panel conveys is one of power. The power he gave others to be themselves. And this really resonated with me on a deeper level. 

The Terrence Higgins Memorial 40th Anniversary Quilt on display at Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England

Throughout this journey, I have poured my heart and soul into every stitch, meticulously weaving together memories, hopes, and dreams. As I tenderly worked on my panel, I couldn’t help but reflect on the countless individuals who have fought tirelessly for LGBTQ+ rights, healthcare, and acceptance over the past four decades. Terrance being on the forefront and trail blazing in our community. 

This project has not only deepened my understanding of the history and struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community but has also allowed me to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and stories. Collaborating with fellow passionate sewers, activists, and artists has shown me the immense power of unity and the strength that lies in our shared experiences. It has also given me the opportunity to improve on my quilting skills. 

In the quiet moments spent sewing, I found solace, strength, and healing. With each stitch, my emotions overflowed with gratitude for the lives that have touched mine, and for the resilience that continues to inspire me every day. This quilt is a testament to the love and compassion that binds us all, reminding us that we are never alone in our journeys. 

Through my involvement in this project, I have experienced a personal growth that I could never have anticipated. It has opened my eyes to the importance of art as a catalyst for change, as a means to heal wounds, and as a platform for amplifying voices that have long been silenced. It has shown me the power of my own creativity and the impact it can have in working toward a more inclusive and understanding society. These values stand alongside my own in my passion to unite everyone through sewing. We Sew Too is always my mantra and I hope I can continue to inspire you, the reader, to be who you are meant to be despite what the world tells you. Together we are stronger. And this quilt has confirmed that to me even more so now than ever. 

But above all, this quilt has touched my soul and reaffirmed my belief in the beauty of humanity. It has reminded me that we have the ability to come together, support one another, and create something truly extraordinary. It has sparked a fire within me to continue using my craft as a force for good, to create spaces where all voices can be heard and celebrated in the quilting and sewing world and beyond. 

Ollie Brown, Richard Angell, & Rupert Whittaker OBE of Terrence Higgins Trust; Clive Bruder & Mark Francis of #BoysSewToo — at 2023 Festival of Quilts, Birmingham UK

As I reflect on this life-changing journey, my heart swells with gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the Terrence Higgins Memorial 40th Anniversary Quilt. I feel honoured to have played a small part in such a monumental project, and it is a reminder that change begins with each one of us. 

Let us continue to stand together, to celebrate our diversity, and to create a world where love, acceptance, and compassion prevail. We are stronger together, and I am eternally grateful for all the love and support that has surrounded me throughout this incredible journey. It’s has taken me to places I never thought possible. 

With love and gratitude, always keep on your path and remember we can doing anything. Your power is sewing together. We Sew Too.  

Clive Bruder 🧵🪡

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