Swanage bike repair man changes gear to show off his art

Mobile bike repair man David Furmage has been showing off his creative skills as one of the Swanage beach hut artisans over the festive period.

As part of Artisans on the Beach, around 40 artists and craftspeople have been displaying their wares since the end of November 2021.


As well as bike art, there’s plenty to discover including North American Indian-inspired suncatchers, as well as paintings by a David Bowie tribute act.

The event carries on along Swanage seafront until Sunday 2nd January 2022.

Beach hut artisans
Betsy Peerless

Handmade local arts and crafts on the Swanage seafront

“I thought: I can do bicycle art!”

David said:

“I got fed up throwing bits away when I repaired people’s bikes, so I thought: I could do bicycle art!

“I’m really enjoying it. It would be nice to have this all year round.”

David Furmage on the seafront in Swanage with his bike

“I’m passionate about bicyles”

His handiwork includes pot stands, coasters, wallets and jewellery. He has also been offering cyclists the chance to leave their bike for a service while they go into town to do their Christmas shopping.

David said:

“You could say I’m passionate about bicycles. I’ve been mending people’s bikes in Swanage for years and they are really coming into their own now. They’re more popular than ever.”

Artwork made from bits left over from bicyle repairs

North American Indian-inspired

Betsy Peerless is selling artwork inspired by her love of North American Indian culture, encouraged by years spent living in the United States.

Now living in Swanage, she sells suncatchers and dreamcatchers. These mobiles catch the light or hang above the bed to ward off bad dreams for children. The first use glass beads that reflect the light and the second are made using feathers. She also produces her own line in hats.

Betsy Peerless inside her beach hut studio

“Good response”

Betsy said:

“Everything is handmade, and I’ve had a good response from people.

“In terms of numbers, we had far more shoppers two years ago and the weather has meant I’ve sold more hats than anything!”

Suncatchers, dreamcatchers and hats

Silver lining

Paul Longland is a musician who is best known for his Pop Up David Bowie tribute act. But lockdowns have had a devastating effect on the entertainment industry with events cancelled.

The silver lining for him is it has allowed him to devote more time to his other creative passion – painting.

Sound and Vision: David Bowie tribute musician Paul Longland sells his painting

“Art has taken over this year”

He mainly paints landscapes and sea scenes in oil or watercolour. He lives in Swanage and has an art studio in Corfe Castle.

Paul said:

“Last year was a wash out for me as a musician. I’ve always done art, but art has taken over this year and I’m actually quite enjoying doing a bit more painting and this area is such an inspirational place to live.”

Paul Longland has been devoting extra time to his painting


His favourite Bowie track? ‘Heroes’. He usually opens his set with that song. And certainly, the artisans who have been bringing a creative glow to the beach huts on Swanage seafront in these challenging times, and sometimes challenging weather, deserve that particular tribute.

Beach hut artisans
Betsy Peerless

Artisans on the beach take over the seafront huts again after a year’s pause

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