A former West Craven High student who credits his "amazing" textiles teacher with getting him into embroidery is gearing up for millions of people to see his latest work: a World Cup advert produced for the BBC.
Having set up his own textiles company, The London Embroidery Studio (LES), in the capital in 2007, Barnoldswick-born Andy Kenny (35) was contacted by BBC Creative to help them produce a World Cup 2018 advert through the medium of stop-frame embroidered animation of a range of historical moments from the tournament from Maradona's goal against England and Roger Milla's dancing, to Zinedine Zidane's header in 2006 and Frank Lampard's disallowed goal against Germany four years later.
The advert, directed by Nicos Livesey of production company Blinkink, aimed to create an animated footballing version of the Bayeux Tapestry, and involved an astonishing 227,000 metres of thread. Spearheaded by Andy - who studied Textiles at the University of London - and LES' Senior Embroidery Designer Lucie McKenna, the project saw LES take on an additional 14 embroiderers to work in shifts, with the team embroidering an amazing 650 frames (28cmx19cm) in just over three weeks.
"It was hard work; I was on the midday to 5am stretch," said Andy, who also has an MA in Mixed-Media Textiles from the Royal College of Art and is Pathway Leader for a textiles course at the University of the Arts London. "It was pretty tough, but good fun, because we all these people in the studio. It was great to all be working towards the same goal.
"When they first got in contact there wasn't much time to go, so it was a bit of a panic," Andy added. "The excitement came when we sent them the test frames and they animated them. It was a lovely feeling. Getting all the text messages from people watching such a global thing for the first time is amazing."
As well as the advert, which launched on Saturday 19th May during the FA Cup final, LES have also produced two frames from the start and end of the tapestry which will be going to the National Football Museum in Manchester later this year to commemorate what is sure to prove a truly historic World Cup ad. Andy is certainly doing his West Craven High textiles teacher, Mrs Midgley, proud.
"Embroidery and football don't necessarily go together, but the original idea was to be a little different and the BBC were keen to bring a historical aspect to it," explained Andy, with the advert allowing viewers to relive a spectrum of World Cup snippets. "Seeing other people's reactions was nice. My dad was so excited when he saw Maradona, he was jumping up and down.
"It was so special because I'd had my head in a computer and an embroidery machine for so long I've only been thinking about how long that little bit took to stitch!"
For more information on The London Embroidery Studio, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheLondonEmbroideryStudio/