Catch the drift at new gallery

DRIFTWOOD and slate are the foundations for a new art gallery in Sidmouth.

Craig Daniels, 27, and his mum Lynn have opened Driftmoods in Libra Court, off Fore Street, to showcase his work and that of other UK artists.

They moved to Devon from Staffordshire when Craig, pictured above, who now lives in Alphington, Exeter, was 16. Inspired by the natural beauty of the surroundings, he started creating items out of driftwood for friends and also exhibited his pieces. “I started building more and more pieces and became a full-time craftsman 18 months ago,” he said.

He used the driftwood readily available on local beaches to create items, then moved on to working with Cornish slate, in line with his focus on making things from reclaimed materials. He attended the Giving and Living trade show at Westpoint in January. “That’s when it got serious and things really took off,” he said.

His range includes mirrors, lamps, place mats, chalkboards and he is always adding new items to the list. At a trade show in Bath in May, he picked up 40 businesses to supply his products to and in June heard the gallery space was available.

“My girlfriend and I just happened to see a sign in the window saying the unit was available,” he said. “My brain started ticking over, that I could use this as a platform for my work and get other artists involved.”

Driftmoods’ stock list includes ceramics, acrylics, jewellery and glassware, all sourced in the UK. Lynn, from East Budleigh, is gallery manager, while Craig focuses on trade orders out of his workshop and helps when he can. With a degree in tourism management from Plymouth University, opening an art gallery wasn’t his logical career move. “I have ideas all the time, I get a lot of inspiration from the beach. It’s been a manic mission to get the gallery ready and keep up with the orders, but it’s been rewarding.”

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Visit, pop into the gallery or call 01395 514778.