Getting to know independent businesses: Here at Craft Focus HQ we champion independent businesses, so we're getting to know our contributors and suppliers! Here we chat to Tina Francis of Tina Francis Tapestry...
In the beginning
After winning a box of embroidery transfers in an auction, Tina opened it to find a whole woman's life in knitting and stitching patterns; going away outfits, baby bootees and matinee jackets, school uniforms, embellishments for the home – right the way through to more modern baby knits."This woman had spent her whole life knitting and stitching love, a true artist," adds Tina. Tina started to look at other "home" crafts and how, because they were mainly completed by women, they were not seen as art. Tapestry needlepoint appealed because it combined print and texture, Tina finished some old tapestries found in secondhand shops and designed her first kit in 2014.Tina is a regular exhibitor at the large knitting and stitching shows selling her designs around the UK, her artwork can be found in many a gallery too!
"I launch new lines twice a year to coincide with spring and autumn shows," adds Tina. "It's tough to know when is best because I know that people like to see products a few times before they buy them. So I have quite a large range of stock."
Life in lockdown:
"My workshop is just round the corner from where I live so I have been able to go there quite often," shares Tina. "It was an aim to be on a shopping channel this year and my spot on Hochanda was booked way before lockdown so it was decided that it should go ahead. I couldn't visit the studio so had to film all of my VTS myself and take part in the show via phone. It worked well and I'm booked in for another show on June 8th when my book Modern Bargello is launched by Search Press!
"On screen is definitely where I want to take Tina Francis Tapestry because I feel that people want to buy stitch products but unless they have seen them "live" they don't really want to commit. I'm currently creating small VTS for all of my current range and seeing how this can be incorporated into my website. I'm finally getting round to writing my first online course which has always been on the back burner but now seems more prescient."
A well as running Tina Francis Tapestry, Tina is also a stitch artist and throughout lockdown she has been completing one square of stitching per day and has been recording the number of hospital deaths in stitch, "everyone matters and so I'm commemorating them in the only way I know how" shares Tina.
Tina Francis of Tina Francis Tapestry
Check out tina-francis-tapestry.co.uk