Jo Waterhouse & Takako Copeland owners of Family Tree
Jo Waterhouse, 27, is an artist, textile designer & antique dealer. She was born in Bedfordshire and trained at the renowned Dartington College of Arts in Devon. She writes a blog called ‘Toot as in Foot’ which is all about her treasure hunts across the South East searching for interesting pieces at jumble sales and salvage yards. She is inspired by humble, once loved objects and often uses her finds to produce prints for textiles which she then crafts into something beautiful. She has a regular stall at Spitalfields Market, holds drawing classes with her mum and plays the guitar. She lives with her boyfriend in Crystal Palace, London.
Takako Copeland, 37, is from a remote part of Southern Japan called Yamaguchi. Her family home was surrounded by rice fields and as a young girl she avidly followed the Japanese version of Mr Maker constantly creating and painting things. She left her village after High School and came to London to study graphic design at St Martins. She then studied Gemology and silver smithing and ran a stall at Spitalfields Market before opening the homewares and gift shop ‘Family Tree’ on Exmouth Market in London in 2004. She likes climbing at her local climbing centre and lives in Newington Green with her husband and six year old daughter Aska.
Jo and Takako made friends on Instagram and are joining creative forces to run Family Tree together. This will enable Takako more time to concentrate on her design work whilst Jo is delighted to have a fixed outlet for her goods. If you’re in Exmouth Market pop in and say hello.
WHAT COLOUR SALT-WATERS DO YOU OWN?
J – Navy blue
T - Tan
WHERE IS THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE YOU HAVE WORN THEM?
J – In a pond with my niece, that was very interesting: all different sorts of mud and insects and a dead bird.
T - I always take them to the climbing wall to wear in-between climbs: they're so light and lovely for my poor tired feet.
WHY DO YOU LIKE THE BRAND?
J – It just seems such a wholesome brand. I don't just like it - I love it. You guys should probably start a cult, we'll be your first members.
T - Yes for sure. The sandals are simple, beautiful and reasonably priced: there's nothing not to like.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LIVING IN LONDON?
J – The talks you can go to and the people you can find, or who find you really: I love my print room and my markets and now my shop. They're all such good ways of meeting interesting people.
T – I enjoy things like art and visiting galleries, there's always so much to do. I love that Aska can be exposed to all these different people and things: it's a really good environment for children.
MEETING ON INSTAGRAM IS SWEET - YOU MUST HAVE SIMILAR AESTHETIC SENSIBILITIES - HOW WAS IT WHEN YOU MET FACE TO FACE?
T - Jo popped into shop with her famous cuddly fish and we had nice chat. It was lovely to see her face behind all these instagram posts we’ve been following.
J – It was just very comfortable. Takako is easy company as well as having a great eye. Instagram is really good for finding people of a similar mindset.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
J – I can't remember, it changed so often, I spent a lot of time yearning to be a millionaire - luckily I got over that.
T – I seem to remember wanting to be a vet for a while. It was early primary school age.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSION?
J – I have a little set of drawers on my desk with treasured possessions in - pictures of friends and relatives and precious treasures that are a constant inspiration to me: like a very old, very small, bone tangram set and some beautiful Victorian paper cuts. I can't choose one thing, it would be rude to all those other things.
T - My vintage road bike, Merlin in pink. It took months to collect all the parts I wanted such as, giro d”Italia Cinelli drop bars, Campagnolo group sets, 70mm quill stem!
WITH SO MANY FEATHERS IN YOUR CAP HOW DO YOU DIVIDE THE TIME BETWEEN DRAWING/PRINTING/MAKING/BUYING & MANNING THE SHOP?
T - With difficulty…before you know it, it's always school pick up time. I have to get on my bike and skid into the school yard. I just have to accept things will happen very slowly.
J – Yes. Badly, and in a panicked manner. Sometimes dropping a project and only picking it up again weeks later. It normally all works out grand though.
WHAT DO YOU EAT FOR LUNCH?
J – Whatever the hell I want! That's one of the perks of being a grown up right?
T – I have soup from Cafe Kick at least twice a week. Portuguese lady, Sally cooks hearty food everyday. She is the Momma of Exmouth Market.
WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND?
J – That's a really difficult question - I don't have many friends, just a few select ones and i don't think I could label one best because what are the parameters of best-friendship? I have one friend who I met at playgroup when we were both 4 and we still haven't run out of things to say. I have another friend who when we hang out we sorta cuddle and say 'I love you' all the time: all sorts of different friendships and all really perfect. I'm very lucky
T - I think of Naoko who I met at high school, we both shared frustration of spending awkward teenage years in a small town. We grew into very different people, she just completed a phd in gender and feminism. We always meet whenever I’m in Japan and we are old enough to smile about things we did. Also, John and Jen, a couple in their mid 60s, they have always supported and comforted us, they have been great role models for my family.
WHERE WAS THE LAST HOLIDAY YOU WENT ON?
J – I went to Spain with my lover (boyfriend): he got stung by a jellyfish and I ate some dodgy pate. It was a real holiday.
T - Riga in Latvia. I visited a traditional craft festival in an open air museum. Everyone was so proud of their crafts and tradition, lots of singing, met some makers and we started working together. I want to go back there again next year with Jo!
J - I want that too!
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?
J – I've never had a proper job. Most days I feel quite proud of that: other days I feel a crushing pressure of having to rely entirely on my self. But I think it is a pretty good achievement.
T –Probably opening Family Tree 10 years ago with very little knowledge of retail business and managed to keep it going. Also a childbirth without any drugs!
All photography by Michelle Marshall www.michelle-marshall.com