Craft Builds Community

Image courtesy Marta Kochanek

Someone once said to me that you can see a lot of the world from a bar stool.  I think that you can see and learn a lot about the world if you can use a needle and thread.  Learn to stitch and you will be able to travel the world, people will always need things fixed.  Learn to stitch and you can travel the world using stitching as a language.  Learn to stitch and you can sit quietly anywhere in the world with a little piece of home.

The ability to stitch and teach stitch has enabled me to build and be part of many communities.  I love making stitch kits that bring pleasure and confidence, I've sat and stitched bees with over 600 people face to face, I've learned so much from this quiet skill.  But how did I get here I hear you maybe ask?

After bidding on a box of embroidery transfers I opened it to find that it contained a whole woman's life in knitting and stitching patterns, from her going away outfit to baby bootees and school uniforms through to home improvements and then back to more modern patterns for baby matinee jackets for her grandchildren. This unknown woman had spent her whole life using her skills to create love, a true artist. I decided to look further into "home crafts" and found a whole load of women artists who did not see themselves as such because "it is just something I do". Keen to banish the word "just" from every woman's vocabulary I focussed in on tapestry needlepoint as a way to do it! Learning from unfinished second-hand tapestry's and taking advice from Wendy at One Off Needlepoint I created my first kit.  What I love about kits is that the design will always be mine but the art belongs to the stitcher.

Before taking the plunge into the stitch based world I used to work with software, the best software is one that you use and do not know it is there.  It gets on with helping you navigate the world.  I haven't really left, I'm still working on a grid and there's either a stitch or not, binary you think you will never use it!

Since starting Tina Francis Tapestry the number of stitches and the number of connections have grown.  I've had solo exhibitions, taught stitch and created large scale community projects all of this now lives under the By Tina Francis brand.

Here's my why!

A needle and thread is power! 

Enjoy your stitching!