Thursday, 9 June 2016

Wearable Art

Sweeney Todd, silk velvet


detail, skulls

detail, roses

silk velvet

Roses, silk velvet

all one of a kind, original pieces to be worn, loved and hung.
£165 only available from this weeks Pop Up store, Craft Central 33-35 St John's Square London
6-12 June 2016

thank you to Viv & Herita for modelling 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Pop in


MONDAY 11-7pm
TUESDAY 10-7pm
FRIDAY 11-8pm
Do come and see my new fine art embroidery scarves, its the first time on show or on sale 
prices from £125

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Pop Up Shop Alert

Craft Central, St John's Sq London EC1M

OPENING HOURS 11am - 7pm
outside of these hours feel free to book in a time so we can be there

Scamp will be selling there beautiful baby ware and gifts and laser cut loveliness along side taking orders for bespoke work.

As for Tobyboo, it's a perfect chance for you to pick up sample sale and discontinued items along with see some new pieces I've been working on including wearable art. Each piece is completely unique and can be worn as a scarf or displayed.

Thursday, 19 May 2016



9am - 12

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Spotlight: Down House

 Less than 30 minutes away from London is the rather beautiful Down House, home and work place to Charles Darwin, father of evolution (although I'm sure I've come across people who think that goes to David Attenborough). With the excuse of going to see the Tobyboo range in the gift shop this morning had the perfect weather for it.

Photography isn't allowed in the house itself but as you can imagine it's a vision of Victorian curiosities, the staff there are truly passionate and knowledgeable - I had no idea about Chagas disease and might have missed the deadly bug in the case if it wasn't pointed out.  The garden was just amazing in this weather (as you read this today was the first and last day of British summer, still there's always next year)

Cafe check - yes it's a giant sausage roll

and the gift shop...?

The collection is exclusive to Down
Mini glass engraved decanter

Engraved glass paperweight with mayfly

Thank you to the staff at Down House. Down House is an English Heritage property in Downe, Kent.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Words a Plenty

Yes, yes I've been a neglectful for a while - but school holiday for Toby is just coming to an end and so I'm just getting back into the swing of things... having said that I have no words so as Toby is here I've decided he can speak instead.

Have you had a nice holiday Toby?
Yes I did it was very fun.

Do anything exciting?
Yes I went to Disneyland Paris IT WAS AMAZING (do that in capitals) I'm eating my dinner you can write my story instead.

OK, this is Toby's Story (he wrote it for the BBC 500 Words Competition)

The Mountain 

Climbing, climbing is all I could do.
I had to climb desperate, tired, weary were all I could say.
Rocks, rocks everywhere.
From the darkness, into the darkness.
Cold, cold freezing cold. Everlasting, heart piercing.
Dark, dark gloomy dark covering the mountain like a blanket.
Fear, fear all around.
Flowing through me in the air, fear, fear everywhere.
Tired, tired my only feeling.
Never ending, never resting.
Murky, murky everything is murky.
Gloominess and darkness is all I could see. 
Dull, dull everything is dull. 
Rocks stones even me all dull, just dull.
I failed. I couldn’t return home.
I had to stay here, but I can’t stay here it’s a mountain.
I would die of starvation.
I have to go back.
I can’t. I have to.

I shook off the thought but some of it remained. Home is on the other side of the mountain. I was tiredly walking back to my failure but if I turned back I’d still walk to my downfall. I still would keep on walking even if it took me my life I would still keep walking, walking. Even if I had to go round the world I would still keep walking and walking. Even if I died I would still keep walking and walking, then I would stop.

I can’t fail, they’ll laugh at me and throw it back in my face the words I said. The boasting I did if only I could take it all back but I can’t. The past is the past only the future can be written. I still can write the future, well, I can’t write it it’s up to fate to decide. I think I should rest. As the crackling of the fire died down I prepared myself for the journey ahead.

I woke in the morning, still tired but there was no time to loose. I walked without stopping for three whole hours until I saw the break of dawn which meant I had reached the top of the mountain where the dark and light side met.
I could have a picnic! I could make a daisy chain! The light has come to me and filled me positivity. I’m free! I never want to leave this place.
I still have to walk the distance between here and the light side I’m not quite there yet it’s so long I can’t make it. The rocks are closing in on me, what’s happening? What’s happening? My mind is being pulled apart. The light side is running away from me. I have to make it.
The branch of positivity reached back to me
I can I can make it and I leapt, and collapsed.
I’ve done it I’ve out run the dark side but it’s chasing me. I’m still on the run but I’m in the lead but not for long.

I have my own house on the light side of the mountain and I’m still running. The dark side will catch me some day.

Toby Crawford Wednesday 24th February 2016

It felt like I was the character, but I wasn't - but I've felt what she has gone through and it was in my mind. I find it amazing I wrote it.

Do you think you'll write anything like it again?
Yes, but not this soon.

What do you like to read? 
I like Harry Potter and I'm reading The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman - I love this trilogy nearly as much!

And now you can finish eating... Toby is 8 and his dinner has been pasta in a bacon, cheese sauce (and no he didn't get anywhere in the 500 Words Competition)


Saturday, 13 February 2016

A Local Show ....

As much as Croydon gets punched down it gets up just never as far as it was, consistently the joke of London my home town will forever be a concrete land of little taste and poor hair styles.

Well I'm proud to say that my first solo exhibition is in Croydon and (please don't think me big headed) it's worth the 15 mins from central London to visit.

The private view of An Unnatural History was last week at Rise Gallery, the bar was run by The Oval Tavern and the framing was Image all Croydon businesses who I couldn't thank more. I've dribbled on about Kevin and the Rise Gallery team before so I won't bore you again but I have to say just how marvellous Denise and Del at Image Framing have been.

At the show there were so many comments about the finish on the pieces, and that's down to them, Image don't just frame and do as they're asked they suggest alternatives and crikey what alternatives. We went in thinking plain frames were the best option but Denise had a glint in her eye and showed us more, Gothic style ornate finishes and heavy thick distressed bold outlines - Denise was so, so right.
Framing is 50% it can make or break a picture and more so when cloth is involved because the stretching or pinning is integral. My point is, don't just go for the cheapest framers, go for the ones that really sound like they know what they're talking about the likelihood is they'd be able to compliment your work better than you could.

Esther's team from my local The Oval were in charge of the bar, no one has a bad word to say about her or the tavern - she is one of the vital organs of Croydon.

My point is it felt like a real marriage of Croydonness coming together to present to everyone outside our concrete walls and that was a great feeling, this isn't a local show for local people this is one heck of an exhibition to show the rest of London and beyond. Go visit to see for yourself. An Unnatural History is on show till March 10th 

And to tease you here be a view pics of the evening...

Image, don't have a website their work is their reputation here be their details Whitgift Centre, East Croydon, Croydon CR0 1XB Phone:020 8680 9472

Thank you to Louise Gough Photography for some of her photos.

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!