CREATIVE COQUETDALE FOLK: Multi-talented ‘Northumbrian’ John perfectly at home

An occasional series of portraits of Creative Coquetdale Folk.

By Katie Scott
Sunday, 2nd June 2019, 8:57 pm
John Tait, of Lazy Grace.
John Tait, of Lazy Grace.

Although born in the West End of Newcastle, John Tait is thoroughly Northumbrian.

As a young lad, John would regularly escape the city for the freedom and space of Coquetdale. He felt the pull of the landscape and loved the wildlife.

So after leaving school, he headed for Barrowburn, where he learned shepherding. Later attending Kirkley Hall, he qualified with a National Diploma in Agriculture.

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His great love of the land and its creatures influenced where he and his wife Nicola have chosen to make their home - a smallholding in Elsdon. This is where he is happiest, planting trees, building ponds and ‘fiddling on’.

Since 1998, however, John’s working life has revolved around his creative design agency.

Lazy Grace has grown into a very successful business. It has an impressive clientele.

“We are privileged to work with some inspirational artists and businesses who show just what is possible when talent is combined with determination,” said John.

A natural storyteller, John has always drawn, sketched and written. In younger days, he wrote for Viz and designed and wrote graphic and comic books.

When their children were small and Nicola was the main wage-earner, John taught himself Photoshop. So much more was now possible. He got into website creation when there were only two other people doing this in the whole of Northumberland.

He founded his business, initially called The Donkeys, then JTD Design, later segueing into the more mature, reflective and thoughtful design company, which really does operate with a special kind of lazy grace.

An entrepreneurial spirit is apparent throughout John’s career.

For a time, as a youngster, he was buying old classic cars from Lincolnshire, transporting them to the North East, and selling them for an easy profit as ‘restoration projects’.

John has constantly felt the influence of Coquetdale – its landscape, fauna and flora, and the unique links to an ancient past.

He said: “Northumberland – it’s very deep, very slow. It takes years and years to get to really ‘know’. I feel connected – this is my true home.”

A completely self-taught creative, John Tait is an energetic, charismatic, entrepreneurial, multi-talented man, who has generated a prosperous business from scratch, here in his beloved home of Coquetdale.