A floating upcycled jewellery maker has arrived in the Black Country. Rich MacKenzie runs by Bike & Boat and travels the waterways of the UK, making and selling his upcycled copper creations along the way.
For the next week, the 42-year-old, with his family and two furry friends, will be setting up his workshop from his 60ft narrowboat moored on the canal in Dudley. Rich says:
We’ve already had a great welcome in the Black Country and I am looking forward to setting up my workshop to make some pieces of jewellery, and hopefully sell a few whilst we’re here. Having left Oxford at the start of winter, Dudley is our midway stop on our adventure of the canals of the UK, with our ultimate destination Llangollen in North Wales."
Rich, who lives on the boat with his wife Jackie, 11-year-old son Bobby, 5-year-old daughter Fleur as well as their cat and 13-month-old rescue puppy, says trade has been hit hard during the past two years due to the pandemic. However, his mission to upcycle around the UK continues apace. He adds:
"I make each item of copper jewellery to order so that it’s just right and fits the customer perfectly. Selling my products on demand works well as living on a canal boat we don’t have a great deal of room to keep a big stock of pieces. I usually use copper gifted to me from local plumbers we find on our travels to make my pieces of jewellery."
Rich's love of creating and travelling the UK started when he lost his father in 2020. He says: "When dad passed away, it hit me like a ton of bricks just how short life is. Having a trade that I can do from the stern deck of the boat means that we can travel the UK’s canals and rivers to our heart’s content"
by Bike & Boat will be open on the canal in Dudley between Monday to Friday from 10 am this week. Locals can keep an eye on by Bike & Boat's UK movements on their website, bybikeandboat.co.uk, or on their social media accounts.