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Meet Brianna Gangi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brianna Gangi.

Hi Brianna, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I created my first piece in April of 2020 during the COVID-19 shutdown. I had just been laid off from my full-time job and deiced to head north to my mother’s house in Massachusetts. We were all doing our best to spend as much time as possible outside, yet keeping our distance from others, so we took to the beach. We had always loved collecting driftwood and sea glass and spent a lot of time doing that during the shutdown. My mom had just moved into a new house that was over 100 years old, and the attic and basement were full of treasures: vintage lace, sewing material, glass beads, you name it. These items, combined with our beach finds, sparked something in me. Sitting at her dining room table, I made my first wall hanging. While Facetiming with a friend, she saw the piece behind me and asked where I got it… she then went on to say she wanted one and how much it would cost! I was surprised but excited. Little did I know that day, creating wall hangings and other macramé items would be what gave me a sense of purpose during a very bleak time and also supported me financially.

My mother’s side of the family, herself included, are extremely talented when it comes to making art. My great-grandmother actually owned a pottery shop in Burlington, Massachusetts and outside of pottery, she dabbled in macramé, painting, jewelry and so much more. These talents were passed on to my grandmother, her daughters and now myself.

Blue Tide Drift went public in July of 2020, three months after I had made that first wall hanging. My best friend is a graphic designer and created a logo for Blue Tide Drift, which, of all things, really gave me the confidence to show the world what I was up to. I guess you could say I felt “official”. My boyfriend encouraged me every step of the way to be brave and just see what happened. A friend of mine bought one of my first pieces and, when she came to pick it up, told me that her and a few other female artists in town might have an opportunity for me to sell my pieces in a shop. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I had such a great feeling that everything was falling into place… beyond my wildest expectations! From there, I was given an in-person platform to sell my art, and to this day, my art still hangs in what became Sacred Space. An all-female art gallery on Stock Island.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but the challenges I’ve faced in the last year have helped me grow. I suffered from imposter syndrome pretty badly around the time that I launched Blue Tide Drift. In my mind, I had started creating these pieces of art on a whim and didn’t feel deserving of all of the opportunities I was given and the amount of support I received. A few close friends and local artists reminded me that the universe was giving me exactly what I deserved. As I mentioned, I was also laid off at this time from a job I felt I was just reaching my peak at. I felt depressed and alone, but Blue Tide Drift got me out of that funk and gave me purpose. The people I met during this time were and are some of the greatest friends I have now. I feel so lucky for that.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I mostly create wall hangings using vintage, recycled and natural materials. A typical wall hanging that I make has a driftwood base and the hanging materials include natural yarns, sewing material scraps, vintage beads, and charms. On the backside of the wall hanging, you’ll find the year the piece was made and “blue tide drift” burnt into the wood using a wood-burning tool. I also create macrame plant hangers, lanyards, key chains and ornaments using recycled, organic cotton rope. I’m also up for any challenge! I once created a crib canopy using wooden beads, sheer material and cotton rope.

I’m most proud of the development and progress I’ve experienced when creating. Looking at the first piece I made versus my most recent piece, it’s unbelievable that both were made by me! It makes me feel extremely grateful that I was given the time to develop my craft. It was certainly the silver lining of being laid off from my full-time job. I feel that the materials I use set me apart from other artists. Everything is found by me or my mom. The driftwood comes from my travels and are totally unique from each other.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

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