Cornwall LivingAutumn 2020
Taking back control
Industrial plastic and disused scaffolding netting arenít usually the first materials you’d consider using in high-end, high-quality interiors.
Yet that’s exactly what textile designer Jo Hague from Lostwithiel uses to create her large-scale 3D sculptural art installations: “Walking on the beach one day, I found some geo-textile matting that’s normally used for preventing coastal erosion. As soon as I touched it, I knew I could do something with it once it had fulfilled its primary function; that’s where my journey into repurposing industrial materials that would otherwise go into our oceans, landfill or incineration started.”
Having spent 25 years as a health and social care trainer, Jo decided to follow the dream she’d had since a young adult and completed a three-year textile degree at Falmouth University. After graduating in 2019, she converted her garage at home into a studio, and started creating eco-textile pieces from disused plastic and other organic, ethically sourced materials. She was spotted almost immediately by an interior design shop in London for one of her intriguing installations, leading to an invitation to exhibit at Bedruthan Hotel earlier this year.
“I was just at the point where I was ready to launch my business; I’d invested a lot of time and money creating numerous pieces when the Covid-19 crisis hit. My exhibition was postponed indefinitely, and I was left feeling really disheartened, as if my dream was being swept from under me.”
Seeing an Outset Cornwall advert on Instagram prompted Jo to contact the team and join their online business start-up programme. “The Outset course has been incredibly useful. From finance to finding your target market, packaging to setting up a returns policy, I’ve used so many of the ideas and suggestions already. The ‘Selling Online’ session was particularly useful in helping me get my full product range online and generating sales, even during lockdown.”
Now having launched her business, Jo is positive about its future; her work is on sale in London again, the Bedruthan Hotel is hanging two of her pieces until the exhibition can take place, and sales and commissions from her new online shop are continuing to grow.
“I believe these unprecedented times have made people really appreciate our natural world, how materials are sourced and the beauty of hand-crafted items. Outset gave me some fantastic ideas about how I could communicate my values and make my work more personal,” Jo explains, but not just that. “Having Outset’s support and time to work on the business side with them was fantastic; it really lifted me and gave me back control of where my journey was going.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Outset Cornwall is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, HM Government and The Outset Foundation.
Anyone keen to see how Jo works can also visit her open studio in Lostwithiel. Here, you can stand outside and see in, as Jo talks you through the pieces she’s creating.
Find out more about Jo and her intriguing work by visiting www.johague.co.uk