This week’s interview is with Jo from On The Tide, who creates absolutely charming art from driftwood found on local beaches. The tiny houses are particularly ideal as gifts for people who have moved into a new home.
I interviewed Jo about her work:
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started in your handmade business?
Well, my name is Jo and I make houses, beach huts, lighthouses, boats etc out of driftwood and other recyclables.
I moved down to the South Coast 5 years ago having lived in land-locked Bedfordshire for most of my life. Before moving, I worked in schools helping children with special educational needs; a job I loved but I knew when I moved I wanted to do something different and ideally work for myself.
I started out upcycling ‘brown’ furniture into ‘shabby chic’ for 2 years, but got a bit fed up with that, if I’m honest! I always walked our, then 2 dogs, on the beach and often picked up pieces of driftwood and other flotsam and jetsam thinking, ‘I could make something out of these’ and then a friend sent me a picture of a row of little wooden houses she had seen in a shop and that’s when I thought ‘I could do that’ and that’s really where I started!
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I wanted to work for myself (or at least give it a go) and I’ve always been quite arty crafty. 15 years ago I did a City and Guilds Certificate in Life Drawing which was amazing and I have often considered going to uni to try and obtain a degree in art – maybe one day! I love experimenting with different materials and textures.
Apart from crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I’m trying to teach myself to crochet! I also like reading, walking our dog Bill, and would love to have a go at lino printing. Oh and I’m a football fan and a regular at our local non-league team, Eastbourne Borough Football Club.
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I’ve been ‘ ontheTide’ for nearly 3 years now. I first set up my Facebook page www.facebook.com/onthetide with the help of my daughters (!) and then my Etsy shop followed soon after. However, art and crafts have always played a big part in my life as I love trying new things!
How many different places do you sell from?
I currently sell in:
Starlings Art and Craft Collective in Bexhill, East Sussex
Songbird Trading, Sheffield Park, East Sussex
Bea Lach Cafe and Gallery, Tornapress, Scotland
Lighthouse Lane, Howarth, Yorkshire
How did you come up with your shop name?
I can up with my shop name as the bits I collect come ‘ontheTide’ !
Have any pets?
We have one rescued dog; a lurcher called Bill. We’ve had him for 6 years.
If you had to recommend one movie, which one would it be?
My favourite film is Coyote Ugly; I would love a pub like that to be my local!
If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?
What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
My saw, sandpaper (is that a tool? – if not I’ll say my hammer!) and my glue gun.