Cornwall LivingIssue #148

Poetry In Glass

Jo Downs reveals why Padstow and the Camel Estuary are such an inspiration.

The words of Sir John Betjeman’s poem, Seaside Golf resonate with fused-glass artist, Jo Downs, “Lark song and sea sounds in the air, and splendour, splendour everywhere.” Padstow and the Camel Estuary have long been an inspiration to artists and writers and Jo Downs is no exception. “Padstow and its stunning estuary have always been inspirational to me,” says Jo. “For over 25 years now, the atmosphere of the harbour, the blue waters across to Rock and Daymer Bay are idyllic to me and are a constant influence on my work. I still feel the thrill on days when I bring work from the studio down to my gallery, the first one I opened in Cornwall.

“People come here to appreciate the light, and the colour in the landscape, and the unique beauty of Cornwall, and that’s what my work is all about. We are surrounded by such a stunning landscape – that’s what drew me here – and people want to capture this beauty and bring it to their homes and celebrate it. I hope I can make that happen through my artwork,”

“My customers want to express their personality, and their passions, through their design choices. A beautiful home should reflect the character, the cultural interests and the aspirations of the people who created it. A visit to our Padstow Gallery often results in a commissioned work which are a reflection of the client, and it’s my job to create work which they feel strongly connected to. There is a huge commitment in terms of time and energy with private commissions, but each project is all the more rewarding for that. It’s a totally fulfilling experience for me to see a project through from my very first drawing to the final installation, and for my clients, nothing beats that moment when their exclusive artwork takes pride of place in their home,” adds Jo.

The Padstow Gallery also offers an abundance of coastal-inspired artworks, from the popular Shoaling Fish wall installations, which were initially created for an architect designed home in Padstow, through to striking fold form vases there is something to suit almost every taste. And for anyone nervous about installing one of the striking multi piece artworks, Jo’s hand-cut and crafted Shoaling Fish are also available as framed wall art. These delightful art frames feature a plethora of darting fish in beautiful colours and many different sizes.

Jo’s gallery also plays host to number of collections that are exclusive to Padstow. “Right now, Padstow has several exclusive designs from our Artisan range that are designed and made entirely by members of my lovely glass fusing team. Artisan allows them to go wild with their creativity. Each work is individually designed, so you never know what will be on show. The Artisan project is a wonderful example of free creativity, and it’s thrilling to nurture new talent” says Jo. “Giving my artists their own voice adds a new layer of beautiful work to our offering. I think it’s so important to let our artists showcase their brilliance, and it’s been fascinating to see them conjure up these new works.”

All of the stand-alone Artisan works are available as part of Jo’s large interiors collection, and include bowls, mirrors, vases, multi-piece wall installations and a particular emphasis on framed artworks. Many are experimental works that include new textures, shapes and colour combinations, inspired by anything and everything from rainbows, seashells, moonlight, clouds and sunrises to soft pastel hues and powerful abstract patterns. Padstow is home to striking circular wall panels that capture the atmosphere and beauty of Trevose Head and pretty art frames featuring the iconic fishing boats in the harbour perfect for anyone wanting to take home a memento of the Camel Estuary.

With almost all her and her team’s bespoke works, the one constant is Cornwall – its special colours, shapes and textures. Customers with homes in Cornwall or across the whole of the UK really appreciate the special qualities of this area. It’s unique beauty aptly expressed by Sir John Betjeman’s words: “And splendour, splendour everywhere.”

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