Joanna Bibby (Jo)
Founding Partner/ Designer OCHRE
CURRICULUM VITAE - the ‘courses of life’ that have shaped me into who I am today.
Innocent childhood early years: Rural country life growing up in a small village wedged between the Lakeland Fells and the Yorkshire Dales with freedom to explore with siblings, friends and family pets to share adventures. We had a big dressing up box full of costumes, stiletto shoes that were way too big. Tottering to the village shop all dressed up to the nines with my best friend Susan, pushing our dolls prams was a regular event thinking we were so cool! We had quite a menagerie of pets who didn’t escape the dressing up process either. Particularly our very gentle understanding dog Heidi, a cheeky beagle with the softest velvet ears.
I was very tall for my age and felt awkward, being rather shy I would blush easily which I hated. I actually enjoyed school though and had a lot of fun but did very little work. I spent most of my time in the Art room. We had prefab classrooms perched by a river and I was always first in the room so I could bags a seat by the window. I was a big daydreamer and far more interested in watching river life, the herons fishing and king fishers flashing by than paying attention to the lessons. ” If Joanna spent as much time on her school work as she does gazing out of the window, she could do very well”. Was one of my reports!!! I never did and I know my parents despaired. Art school beckoned at 17 for a foundation year and I loved it.
I moved to London and worked as a Nanny initially, cookery school followed and a desire to see more of the world. It was the beginning of 10 years passion for traveling and working all hours as a cook to make ends meet and finance another trip. These years were my education and growing up time. I was young, invincible and thirsty to learn more about other cultures. The colours, the food, the people and generally having fun. These were magical years, I was open to and humbled by the experience. I was a big sponge soaking it all in.
The creative world was always calling me and I eventually went back to Art School aged 30 and studied Decorative Arts. It was wonderful, I had found what I wanted to persue as a career. Two years after leaving collage I joined forces with Harriet (Maxwell Macdonald, a friend from art school) and Ochre was born in its embryonic state in 1995. It was a very organic process but we were driven by a shared passion for design and a determination to make it work. We had so much to learn about business and made mistakes along the way, but we had a huge amount of fun too. My flat became the workshop and Harriet’s flat the office.
2000 flew. Growing the business step by step. Solenne joined us and became our third Partner and we design together. It just seems to work and we are great friends.
I always enjoy meeting new amazingly skilled craftsmen who have perfected their art. Learning what they can do and how we can translate their materials and skills into exciting new designs. Spending a day in workshops for these collaborations is always inspiring and feeds the creative juices.
Having lived in London for 20 years I was longing to live in the country. I finally managed the move when I was 45. I work from home part of the week and London for the rest.its a good balance. I love the buzz of London but I also love the calm quiet of the countryside.
Although I am now in my 50′s I still feel forever 30. (A little more creaky in the body maybe) I hope I will always have a child like inquisitiveness, and embrace new experiences. Live in the now, and extract the positive.
More travel and the Aurora Borealis beckon.
Good for the Soul – wild remote places. Preferably cold and high in the mountains. I love cold crispy weather.
Good for the Body – Bracing walk by a crashing Sea.
Good for the Heart – lots of laughter with friends. Big log fires.
- Dress – Toast
- Cream silk necklace and shell belt – India
- Embroiderd bag – car boot sale
Jo 1961 | this is 50
2013 March 7