Meet the Maker - Thread Drawn by Tobyboo

Meet the Maker - Thread Drawn by Tobyboo

Tina Crawford is the artist behind Thread Drawn by Tobyboo and works from her art studio in west London. Tina 'draws' her designs using her trusty sewing machine, creating free-flowing embroidered images that are then translated onto a range of products.

What got you started making / creating your designs / products?

I started using the sewing machine to make art when I became chronically ill. I did go to art college, I was a Central St Martins but when i graduated I went into television production- the first show I worked on was a kids art programme. I loved working in TV but in 2000 I became disabled and started making art again, I did an adult education class in machine embroidery and i completely took to it! A few years in on working with thread I looked at ways to reproduce my work on items, I did create ranges for high street giants like House of Fraser and John Lewis but made a conscious decision to only work with museum and heritage shops so I can work with them and create bespoke designs  

How would you describe your designing / creating style?

Free! Loose thread, I literally draw with the sewing machine so the result is a beautiful fluid line  

What is your motto?

Oooh…. How about ‘follow that thread wherever it takes you!’

What was your first success with your designs / products?

I won a competitive process for work to be in House of Fraser selected by Mary Portas back in… ahem… 2011 

Tell us about your design process.

I normally get quite loose briefs and buyers who trust my process, with The Globe, for example I have the Shakespeare portrait, the theatre itself and the plays - obviously I could be most creative on the plays. I don’t draw first, I go in straight with the needle, then I have to make the artwork clean and digital which is the part I don’t like, it’s time consuming and I don’t have Photoshop so it’s a painful process! 

How important is the environmental sustainability of your products?

I only have products made in Britain, I deliberately don’t involve gift boxes or extra packaging- hopefully the product is beautiful enough it doesn’t need ribbons and bows! 

What has been your most interesting commission (apart from the Globe, obvs?)

Most interesting commission? I have had some recently but I’m not allowed to talk about it, that’s for actual artwork. Product wise, I always try to make them interesting for me but I did love working on an exhibition at The Museum of London back in 2012, it was Doctors, Dissection & Resurrection Men - I had to think about sensitivity of the subject as well as making something that would be popular. 

Shop Thread Drawn products here

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