In an era where retail is so manufactured, today’s handmade goods feel rare and precious. Artists and designers with handmade “labors of love” inspire me and give me so much appreciation for our tangible world.
Finding Lindsay Bisbano’s work was yet another one of these moments. Oysters are magical all on their own, but they also provide a clean canvas for our creative minds. Their shapes, sizes, and materials give us the opportunity to treasure their features for more than just a few minutes before entrees, when shells are often tossed and forgotten. Lindsay’s craft recycles the them and gives them a vibrant second life as earrings, ring holders, and necklaces.
Below, I am thrilled to share my interview with Lindsay and the story behind Low Tides Design.
Virginia: Lindsay, what is your background, and how did Low Tides Design begin?
Lindsay: I have always loved design and thought I wanted to pursue a career in interior design, so I started at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). An opportunity arose for my mother and I to open a clothing store together in Mystic, Connecticut, called “The Stockroom” and that’s what I did for the next 7 years of my life. I have been a Realtor since then, but I’ve always needed a creative outlet. Living part-time in South Florida, the wildlife and all the shells on the beach are so inspiring, that I felt I had to do something with what I found. When friends and family were loving what I made, I thought others might too, so I started an Etsy shop, Low Tides Design.
Virginia: Why oysters? How have they become a source of artistic inspiration for you?
Lindsay: I have always loved eating oysters but I was hit with creative inspiration when I found an oyster shell lid on the beach one day and knew I was on to something…. They’re light weight, beautiful and not too fragile. It was screaming to me to be an earring! I also really love pairing the beautiful papers and paints to create these unique pieces – I’m totally addicted.
Virginia: Where do you source your shells, and what’s your process for making them?
Lindsay: Some pieces are from what I find walking on the beach, and others I get from a local oyster bar. It’s a lengthy process, but one that I enjoy. From searching or sourcing the shells to soaking & washing them, shaping & drilling the earrings, then decoupaging or painting them with many coats to get the finished product, it’s truly a labor of love with anything that I make.
Virginia: Who is your ideal customer?
Lindsay: Someone who really appreciates and values something that is made by hand and unique. Perfection is found within the imperfections of these shells, sometimes the natural colors show through the paper and I think that it makes it beautiful and authentic.
Virginia: What’s in store for the future?
Lindsay: I would love to expand my jewelry collections, I have been doing some custom pendants that are coming out beautifully… my customers are always giving me great feedback.. The possibilities are endless! When customers receive a piece I’ve made and they tell me it’s more beautiful than they expected, I’m over the moon! It makes me want to keep designing new things! The online community associated with oysters has really been amazing; willing to give advice and help however they can. It’s really been awesome and I’m so happy I’ve found this creative outlet.