Karen James – Teignmouth Upcycle Artist

In 2017 my husband Rob and I were on a mini break on the south coast, we stopped off in Teignmouth for a coffee, we took a stroll down the back beach, looked around the town, checked out the Arts Quarter and decided that this was a place where we would like to live.

I introduced myself to Sam and discussed the possibility of my selling a few items in Voyage Fair Trade, should we be successful in our move. We moved to Teignmouth in October 2017 and I have been lucky enough to showcase and sell my items in the shop.

My name is Karen James, I upcycle small pieces of furniture and decorative household objects. All my project pieces are either rescued from skips, found at the tip or gifted by individuals who know of my work and bring me their stuff before they throw it away, just in case I can do something with it. I use as many recycled materials as I can including paints and fabrics.

In this throw away society we live in, there is nothing more exciting than taking an unwanted item and turning it into something that is wanted again. It gives me a great deal of pleasure when a piece of mine sells in the shop and the customer has been delighted with their purchase, I take a great deal of pride in my work.

Recently, I have branched out into making jewellery from the sea glass I find on the beaches in Teignmouth, once again this is also very satisfying as each piece is totally unique. Our dog, Hazel, loves it as she gets to go on many walks whilst Rob and I look for sea glass. We have yet to train Hazel to hunt for sea glass!