Saturday, 16 February 2013

Jo Downs (artist)

Jo Downs fridge magnet
A wander along South Street in Eastbourne's Little Chelsea recently led me to Deck The Halls, a lovely giftware shop that also offers a bespoke Christmas decoration service, hence the name. Among the beautiful items for sale, I spotted a cute metal gecko that I might pop back and get for our garden, and lots of handmade fused glass pices in a variety of designs, colours and prices.

The glass is designed by Cornwall-based artist Jo Downs. Her work is very popular in the West Country and she is beginning to make quite a name for herself nationwide as well. I was told that Deck The Halls is the only shop in the local area that stocks Jo Downs glass and they have a good selection. I have had to wait until after Valentine's Day to publish this post because the little fridge magnet I bought is/was part of Dave's gift!

Jo Downs Jumble Bowl
photo from jodowns.com
After gaining a BA Hons in Design in Glass and Ceramics at the University of Sunderland in 1994, Jo gained further experience with established glass artists, including Mike Davies, Galia Amsel and Rebecca Newnham. She set up her first workshop in Muswell Hill in 1996 but I think it was after her relocation to Launceston, Cornwall in 2001 that her work really took off. She developed the giftware range including coasters, hangings, bowls and mirrors, as well as furthering her large scale commissions - designs for the Matisse Exhibition at the RCA, Westminster Tower, and Fulham Methodist Church amongst several others. Now, there is a dedicated National Trust range, a partnership with John Lewis and Jo was commissioned to create unique artworks for singer Joss Stone. Her website shows a selection of the large-scale art and functional installations she has created and some are truly breathtaking.

Deck The Halls, 33 South Street, Eastbourne.
Standard shop opening hours. 

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