Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Takin' Care of Business

I was very lucky to be invited to HULT international business school last week, as a case study in sales Tobyboo was looked at through the eyes of the next generation of business stars.
After hearing my strengths, weaknesses, plans and hopes teams of 4 or 5 had less than an hour to come up with an Apprentice style pitch. I had no idea what to expect but my expectations were blown away, and each were so so much better than anything I've seen on The Apprentice.  
These young students are major bright young thing, each team had something to use, something I hadn't thought of or something I'd been putting off.
Between the students I felt like they covered the globe from nationalities and languages spoken, their determination and confidence was inspirational. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

A Natural Progression

I was asked early last year if I would like a solo exhibition, I said yes but I did think it was a joke. Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison is not only the owner of Rise Gallery but has managed to change peoples perceptions of my home town, Croydon. Bringing in international street artists, commercial darlings Damien Hirst, Banksy alongside new artists Kevin has bought art and interest to CR0.

So when St. Kevin asked me, of course I said yes. Here I am a couple of weeks away from the opening and shockingly I'm actually pleased with some of the body of work. The name of the exhibition is An Unnatural History, on the surface it's pretty obvious I've looked at 'sewing together' skeletons to create mythical creatures but that's not where it stems from. When I became ill in 2000, I was in a wheelchair and first had the labelling disabled as much as I was interested in what was underneath the skin none more so then. Strip everything away and for most of us it's the same. I then found some fascinating and tragic diseases that were harder to believe than any made up creature. The beauty that you can find when you look at the bear bones. I was lucky enough to go to the Natural History Museum in Paris where I got to see pretty much every bone example I could want, over here the Grant Museum of Zoology was a fantastic source of inspiration.



It's a huge step for me putting out my artwork for all to see, having a design on a teapot is one thing but to have literally the skeleton of my work on show with no flesh to support it - so be kind to me if you have a look.

An Unnatural History opens on 12th February (private view 11th)
Rise Gallery
St Georges Walk, Croydon 


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

All I Want for Christmas is....



So it's that time of the year stress kicks in and everyone rushes around trying to please everyone else... I really wanted friends round, Toby just wants the 3 of us, Dave wants to be on his own... you get the picture. Meanwhile all my married friends have the "oh hell we're round at the outlaws this year".
The only way of (some) people having a good time at Christmas is to be selfish and yet we're flooded by "it's a time to think of others blah blah blah" well I do that every other day of the year so I figure that for 24 hours I can forget anyone outside of this house and think about us.
The reaction I've got from most people has been one of envy when I say its just the 3 of us, "we're off to my parents/her parents... I wish we didn't have to" well you don't.
Before we got married I had quite a few years of spending Christmas on my own, I got really pitiful reactions when some found out - actually I loved it I just lounged about in PJ's watching whatever rubbish I wanted and eating egg and chips. It's such a great feeling to have a guilt free day, spending every second panicking about work or something Christmas day is the one day that I can truly do nothing.
Having Toby made me realise the importance of family, our family the 3 of us creating our traditions you can't do that if you go to your parents or the inlaws you end up in doing what they do and obeying their rules, being on edge because its not the way you'd do things or reverting to a teenager because you're going backwards.... as much as I said it was selfish it's not because I'm thinking about our child and how that impacts on him.
If you find yourself being stressed this Christmas then make it your new years resolution to break the habit and do what you want to do and think about 'your family' wether it be your cat, partner, kids whatever, it's those that you need to consider and look after.


Merry Christmas to all and to all a self indulgent time!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Spotlight: Shakespeare's Globe Shop

Another look at a rather lovely Tobyboo stockist, and only a hop over the river from St Paul's is The Globe.
The shop is unlike any other visitor place I've seen bold designs, edgy tongue in cheek pieces and a very distinct style it does feel more like a contemporary independent shop.
In contrast to the bold and the beautiful are my pieces that are more on the delicate side (although I think I can still say beautiful!), from the portrait mug to the engraved decanter which is a nod to the poison bottle in Romeo and Juliet.



The 'Plays' tea set has some new pieces to add soon to.




Thursday, 5 November 2015

Spotlight: St Paul's Cathedral Shop

Possibly my favourite London landmark is St Paul's Cathedral. The cathedral is a hive of inspiration obviously the dome is the most recognisable but inside just numerous nuggets of history and artist juice.

The latest range that I've created for them was inspired by one of the Grinling Gibbons wood carvings on the choir stalls. The collection was a real joy to design and means so much - Toby now goes to St Paul's Cathedral School and although not a chorister himself, obviously mixes with the boys that are and sit right by the inspiration! The range itself are fine leather accessories - all fully made in England and using beautiful soft hide with natural dyes on the print, presented in a black gift box these pieces are truly luxury items that you'll treasure for a lifetime, particularly for any past or present chorister.

Luxury luggage tag, card wallet & journal are all available now from the St Paul's shop.


The expanded 'Feed the Birds' china now has a teapot - the design comes from the snow dome in Mary Poppins when Julie Andrews sings the song. 

As already written about, the limited edition 2015 bauble is still available - for now - each with a hand numbered tag and letterpress gift box. 



Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Close up on the bauble

This year St Paul's Cathedrals limited edition bauble has a very different look to last years. For a delicate embroidery it comes across as a bold design. The design came about when I was walking away from the cathedral over the Millennium Bridge, as I looked back and could see the dome
dominating the skyline. 

The original embroidery- on display in the shop.

The colour scheme was Toby's suggestion and I never thought it would work but I love it! 




The bauble comes in a gorgeous letter press gold box, ready to store for years to come. I've had messages of what a lovely gift it makes for people outside of the country too. Make sure you get yours before the sell out - and sorry no, I don't sell them direct they are exclusive to St Paul's Cathedral.



Sunday, 20 September 2015

Greetings!

Very proud of my illustrations on The Great British Card Co/Almanac cards. They've created beautiful range with a raised line surface that shall be in the shops soon. For the full collection have a look at the Pinterest board here.




Monday, 7 September 2015

Original Thread Drawn


The Museum of London have some unique exclusive textile art pieces, including the pair of corgis and the London pigeon now has three Big Ben towers made in the Museum of London's very own tweed. To those that can't make it to the shop itself you can call and order over the phone. Each piece is embroidery signed and only 1 of 1. 
Telephone number for the shop is 0207 814 5600






Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Fine Specimen of a Location

This weekend I felt honoured to be selling at Bart's Bazaar in Grade II listed Bart's Pathology Museum. The museum is only open during events and I'd never been before. You can't take photos of the specimens as they are from humans and let's face it we need to have some respect - so can't show you what you missed but on every level it was just brain badgering. You'd be hard pushed to find someone that would have to suffer with some of the aliments because of medical science and just what can be done - so the museum really does feel like another world.

The niechness of the market meant that for some sellers it was their first time - this was one heck of a way of loosing your flogging virginity I can tell you.

Ok first things first - CHOCOLATE, seriously!! this is chocolate!!!!!

not chocolate - but this bat cushion I made is (wait for it) glow in the dark! (yes I know, its not amazingly sculpt chocolate but...)

There be me table

OK ONE MORE TIME - IT'S CHOCOLATE!!!

LOOK! LOOK UP!




My neighbour Emily Manning - Terminator Bambi! He'll be back (I hope)

Toby showing even his book choice was in keeping (he's Skullduggery mad)

This is another Tina who I plucked to pose with Lydia - both tattooed ladies! (thank you Tina)

Well done to Carla and all those that organised this event, markets are a pain at the best of times but one in this setting ... I can't bear thinking! Big well done to those that came and queued, some up to 2 hours because only a certain number could be allowed in it was a case of 2 out 2 in but to all those that waited in that heat... yes well done ... again - that chocolate in the heat!!?  I shall shut up.

I know some of you wanted to buy breakables from me and were off out in the evening and so couldn't - or to those that couldn't make it feel free to get in touch for mail order






Friday, 21 August 2015

This week I have mostly been.....

A few weeks into the summer holiday, a very rainy day - what do you do? yes take the child to the pub over the road and stay there all day.... 
Last Thursday we went to the Oval Tavern, it was pouring and we had no food in so had lunch there. We played Kerplunk, Scrabble... and then I decided to bring some pieces over do do a quick photo shoot. 
As you can see I did have my stylist on board and my did he work for me...







Big thanks to the Oval Tavern and their box of Halloween tricks!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Paris? Oui!

Ah yes, it's that time of the year when surely Disneyland Paris needed a visit - again? say it say it, yes again! This time Toby was in for a double treat - Frozen bonkers summer plus Jedi Training Academy was on so long as we could make both queues in time. Could we? Hell yes we could.
Frozen Summer Fever and Jedi Training are both on through the summer. Sing A Long Frozen is on about 5 times a day as is Jedi Training but you need to get a place for it first which means queue at around 10am at Videopolis in Tomorrowland. Worth it to see your young Padawan fight the dark side.

We stayed in a Disney partner hotel for this trip - the Dream Castle, yes it was good and so much better than the Disneyland Hotel if you really hate the bus trips to the park a cab is about 7 euros. Toby's first choice hotel is the Sequoia Lodge. Once full Frozen Jedi state was reached (after 2 days) time to move on to Paris itself....

If going with kids maybe don't stay in a 'hotel' (I use that term loosely) that's above and on a street of bars that are open till 6am. We should have stayed nearer to the Eiffel Tower it would have saved on taxi fares and money spent in cafes while avoiding going back to the room we were trying to sleep in. 


Yep, it was all about the tower.

For me, the top Paris visit was the Natural History Museums, on the way if you walk you might pass Claude Nature (above), a fantastic gem with such a character and wind up merchant! Loved it.


Oh my word... as for the museums.... yes more than one all housed in a stunning park with zoo... breathtaking. More like theatre these are cathedrals of life not a mausoleum, so so cleverly staged. We only did two of the museums but crikey what a pair! I could quite happily go back to Paris and if I didn't get further from the Jardin des Plantes I'd be a happy girl. 


Not a full week there but time enough that's for sure. The city isn't exactly child friendly Toby was walking from 11am till 12pm with not that many stops but not sure how you'd cope with more than one or with one that couldn't. 
He was happy with the Eiffel Tower but would have rather had another day with the souris rather than Ratatouille in the walls of the Paris hotel!