Friday, 22 July 2016

Girl from Croydon

When thinking about doing something that says Croydon, there's quiet a few things that jump to mind but one thing that has been a constant is Vermeers classic Girl with a Pearl Earring (yes, like the film non art loving folk) - I've nearly always seen her with a long pony tail and something about the way her mouth is painted screams south London... so what better way to tribute this by embroidering it the way I see it... innit.
Girl with a Pearl Earring - by that Vermeer bloke, innit

Girl with the Croydon Facelift 

hosted by Rise Gallery a celebration of summer, fun & Croydoness mixed in St Georges Walk

I think you'll agree Harry Hill knows how to celebrate Croydon the best....

Sunday, 17 July 2016


20-30th JULY
E1 7LE

Leyden Gallery is a lovely tucked away space near Spitalfields Market, 2 floors and a bar surely thats worth a visit and you can see Tracey...

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Dissing Dyslexia

A while ago I wrote a post about 'isms' and 'exias' while I was diagnosed dyslexic as a young adult I still maintain that I was just a lazy reader and things never got better. I got a few messages pointing out that I was just dyslexic and to stop giving reasons against - but in denial or not the fact that I have difficulties is completely tied together with my creativity. I couldn't read so my outlet for my imagination came out in drawing, now sewing. I withdrew as a teenager when all around me were my peers getting on at school and I just thought I was disorganised - I thew myself into art as a result.

During my art degree I had panic attacks hearing there was a dissertation to do - and I found I had a voice, a speaking one all I had to to was write as if I was saying it - and the subject? Teenage fans, I got to research Take That fans it ended up in being my favourite part of the three years. By absorbing myself into art, it filtered to picking a subject I could have fun with and got to play with rather than write.

Jim Rokos the brains behind Rokos is so passionate about how his dyslexia has effected him positively that Dyslexic Design has been born, a collective of fellow creative types all suffering from 'reading this is doing my head in'.

I strongly feel that not knowing as a child helped me, I did feel thick - and still hold my hand up that I am but by feeling that it gave me more fire to use my brain in a different way. If someone diagnosed me at 10 I would have used it as an excuse to not to anything - I never would have had the determination to make art work for me.

There are positives to blips in our make up, we live in a world trying to iron out differences. I became 'disabled' (another label I hate as most being just see wheelchairs) 16 years ago and am so grateful for it - its made me what I am, I never would have found my thread drawing I'd be working in TV with no external life trying to fit in. Blips are good, sometimes not fun but 100% the making of us.

Dyslexic Design will be exhibiting at Design Junction  this September.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Better with the Threads Uncut

I'm thick, never claimed not to be thick and have no problem being it, but after hearing some people on youtube I feel like a ruddy genius. 

The depressing thing about the referendum is that it never should have happened - why would you ask people like me a question that involves the global economy? don't do it because all each person will do is scale it to what our tiny brains can take which isn't much how on earth is your average person mean to think 'exiting the EU' without half following what friends have said or going with what the local people around them have said influencing them? Just a thought but I don't know anything about economics but I do know that we have one world and the general idea of actually getting on with other countries I thought was priority apparently not.

It was obvious what would happen if there was a 'leave' win, obvious - and I'm the stupid one remember. The pound would drop, businesses that deal with the rest of Europe will have to relocate or at least have mammoth changes (so thats most of the centre of London then), arts and culture would suffer because no one over here cares and everything arts/culture based seems to be EU funded, same with science goes without saying.... security - why on earth is your ex going to help you? all I knew of the EU was common sense, they've put things in place to help us and sometimes it might mean compromising but on a larger scale I'd like to be part of that room in the party not crying alone in the toilet. If I heard anyone utter the word immigration my brain switched off. I'm not saying it's not an issue but we should be looking to help anyone that needs help. My parents came in the 60's, my mum had a job to come to so they see it as invited as a result my dad has turned into Alf Garnett. What happens when something happens here and we need help and we need somewhere to go? does everyone just think this tiny island is immune? 

If immigration was your one point that you looked at, did you not think without EUs help there could be a chance that they might say 'sod these controls' we're just looking after our own borders? We're in a mess at the moment; forget the big stuff I don't understand the small stuff that effects people like me. The fact that I'm scared to go out now because I've heard the 'p' word that I've not heard in a while used,  people are describing children as vermin and vermin are screaming at people to 'go back' and no ones treating humans as other humans. No one seemed to think maybe the EU has rules and regulations in place to help. The fact is the world was a better place a a week ago. It's been a week and already look whats happened - I keep thinking I'm watching clips of 'This is England' on Facebook. Oh and just incase anyone cannot see the link the last time I heard someone get called the 'p' word for being brown was when UKIP were gaining support. The 'Leave' has given the green light for anyone insecure to blame whatever they want on not just anyone from Europe but anyone they think is an outsider - which to them boils down as colour. As far as they are concerned the majority is with them and they never felt so powerful. 

This country used to be a collective of the world it colonised and the mix that that then evolved made it a great country. I don't know what utopia some had in mind, from the mindless reactions of some recently it's clear their utopia is. 

It's sad that we've got a playground and some kids thought it would be better for everyone if they just stayed in the corner and didn't mix with the other kids because in school the only person that misses out is that kid that things it doesn't need friends that everyone gives up on in the end. But I am thick so what do I know.

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.