Karen Miller's Story

I am fortunate to have had many wonderful jobs and have jumped at opportunities when they presented themselves but I do feel that timing is everything. I had no plans or any idea what my career path would be but when I look back, I realise that I have put everything I have done, experienced, learned - through travel, college and work, in to a bottle, shaken it up (slowly) and poured it all into what I am doing now.

I was also fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to showcase my work before diving in and setting up as a full time business.

It all began in 2001 with a stroll on the beach in Devon and ended up with a living room full of beautiful Driftwood! At the time I was working in a designer homeware shop in Dartmouth - Christmas was coming and the Driftwood Tree was born, literally in the shop window. The response was so unexpected and soon I was making them every evening on my kitchen table. The Driftwood Heart followed soon after along with the Driftwood Mirrors.

In 2002, after the birth of my first child, I found a new part-time job and launched my first web site, just a single, solitary page on the world wide web. Orders for the hearts and trees began to flow in, national magazines featured my designs and the private commissions began. Most importantly, people from all over the world contacted me regarding the driftwood on their coastlines and this saw the end of me collecting UK driftwood. One person was sending me the most amazingly beautiful driftwood to work with. It was collected from near his home in America to raise money for his charity and this helped my collection of designs grow. A BIG thank you to Frank who is no longer with us but will always be remembered for his huge heart and generosity of spirit.

2007 proved to be a big year for me. Still working from home, I left my job and hesitantly but excitedly went full time with Devon Driftwood Designs. Very soon I was running out of space and moved in to my studio where I could not only work but display and sell my pieces to the general public. Within a year, it became obvious that I could not single handedly keep up with the demand for my trees, hearts and lighting. Once again an opportunity came my way and I was approached by a company who wanted to work with me to produce my range of driftwood products. The samples that they made were flawless, as were their work ethics, so my "Designed By" range was born. Twelve years on and we are working together more than ever.

Even though I have many pieces made for me, to meet demand, you will still find me busy working in the studio. I am always designing and making commissions for private clients, with the original pieces like the driftwood hearts still being commissioned 18 years from when I started to make them and really standing the test of time.

People often ask what inspires me to create and it's a simple answer, the driftwood that's in front of me, it leads the way. Just as important, the people that I've met along the way have helped to inspire the business that I have today.

Karen Miller