Ten Questions 007 – Peter Crawley

October 14th, 2010 by Mat Dolphin

Peter Crawley is an illustrator who has developed a distinctive style of his own using thread weaved into pierced paper. A product designer by day, the images he creates depicting architecture, animals, geometric shapes and typography are largely personal projects but since his work has been noticed by a number of blogs it’s only a matter of time before the commissions start rolling in.

He was kind enough to a respond to our Ten Questions series.

1. How do you describe what you do?
I make stitched illustrations. Once I have chosen the subject, hand drawn sketches and Adobe Illustrator vector files are worked up to create templates and guides. The paper is then pierced by hand with a pin, and finally stitched with cotton thread.

2. What made you want to do what you do?
A couple of years ago, a few friends and I drove from New York to San Francisco. I wanted to hang one image on the wall which summed up the experience. There wasn’t one photo that was more defining than any other, so an illustration of the journey seemed apt.  Although I had seen lots of styles of different road maps before, the use of these materials together was different and visually interesting.

3. How would you describe your workplace?
I work as a product designer during the day, so all of the illustrations are done at home in my spare time. My workplace is nice and light, with an ailing Mac set up looking out onto the garden, surrounded by lots of reference books and magazines. Photographs and prints on the walls. Big table and comfy chair for the stitching.

4. What is your favourite colour?
At the moment it is Teal, for no real reason.

5. Who is your favourite artist or writer?

The authors and poets of the Beat generation.
I enjoy what people like Naum Gabo, Dan Flavin and Josef Albers did with simple lines.
Also the architecture of Charles Holden, who along with Harry Beck and Frank Pick shaped London and its transport system. For me, what they did is of similar importance to what Dieter Rams did at Braun.

6. What was your previous job?

After Uni I started work at product design consultancy, where I still work. Before Uni I grew up in Norfolk and, without wanting to fuel stereotypes, worked the summer holidays on the local farm. As much as I love my current day job and the illustration work I am doing, there was something very nice and simple about working outside all day in the sun, with no pressure or demands and earning a surprisingly good wage!

7. Do you work within a team? If so, how many people do you work with?

All of the illustrations are done alone.

8. Do you listen to music whilst working? If so, what do you listen to?

I normally have something on in the background. The back catalogue of Bob Dylan never tires on me, different albums and creative periods for different moods. Also a general mix of different styles and artists. Everything from early folk to current stuff. Tend to get sucked in to programmes about middle aged men building stuff, normally centered around a man in a shed with power tools.

9. Who inspires you to do what you’re doing?
There are some brilliant illustrators doing really nice things at the moment. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily come just from individuals, but things like architectural drawings, technical drawings and pen sketches. Also the built environment as a whole. Good pieces of art and design. Geometry, lines, pattern and form.

10. Which advice has helped you the most?

Only do what you enjoy, if you like it, chances are someone else will.


Keep experimenting and trying new things, you have a lifetime to create what you want to create.

As ever, big thanks to Peter for getting involved. You can check out more of his work here and follow him on Twitter here. If you’d like to be be featured as part of the series, get in touch.


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