My name is Tasha Chapman. I’m an artist, surfer and maker living in Boca Raton, Florida. My shop is called The Atlantic Ocean.
My shop started in the summer of 2012 when my husband Joe and I needed some surfboard bags. We like simple, rugged things and couldn’t find any bags that fit our style. So we started making them ourselves, inspired by a tough old WWII army bag I’d inherited from my grandfather. At the time, I was working as an illustrator, and the artistic side of me knew what I wanted it to look and feel like. Joe is a commercial diver; he’s in a marine setting every day, so he knew what had to be done to make the bags durable. He focused on the function, I focused on aesthetics, and together we made the kind of surfboard bag we thought ought to exist.
Once we showed people the bags we made, they were really well-received; it was so much fun to make them that I just kept designing. Whenever I needed something, I’d ask myself if I could make it better myself, in my own style. The result has been a whole line of products: beach bags, totes, dog leashes, bike bags and our new collection of wooden handplanes for body surfing. They’re all made from simple, classic materials and designed for a life spent by the sea.
In school I studied to be a graphic artist, so I never dreamed I’d be sewing full time one day. My grandmother, who taught me to sew when I was a child, would probably be surprised too. It works beautifully, though, because it combines my love of the ocean with my creativity. I get to focus on what I’m passionate about and share it with others who feel the same way. Plus, running my own business means that my boss doesn’t mind when I sneak off to surf now and then!
Thanks to Etsy, I’ve been able to connect with surfers and ocean-lovers worldwide. One of my favorite parts of having a direct link to my customers is being able to share stories and hear what surfing is like in their part of the world. It feels good to be creating things that will be part of other people’s lives and go with them on their adventures.
All photographs by The Atlantic Ocean.