Welcome to our new feature Meet the Maker! Every week we will be shinning a spotlight on one of our amazing makers. First up is Jo Want from Hello Sunshine
How would you describe your style?
Bold, bright, cheerful and fun… oh and mostly yellow!
Where do you work and does your location influence your work?
I am lucky enough to have a whole room to myself at our little house in Cambridge, it’s big, airy and bright and also full of all the things I love, random craft supplies, half drunk cups of tea and the odd cat!
It’s definitely my happy place and everything from the prints on the walls to the books on the shelves are carefully chosen to reflect me and what makes me happy, which in turn keeps me inspired and helps fuel ideas for my work.
How did you get started as an artist/designer?
I have always been creative and naturally chose to study art throughout school, college and uni but I always wanted to travel too. So I finished my Decorative Arts degree in 2006 and went off to explore as much of the world as I could afford to at the time.
When I came back I got an office job (to pay my travelling debts) at Boots HQ. I always kept pushing to find the most creative roles within the company but ultimately knew I wanted to make and sell my own work for a living. Whilst at Boots I learnt a lot about brand and business, I also started playing with jewellery making ideas and drawing again in my spare time. I met other creatives in Nottingham through local craft fairs and from there was inspired to start my own business, Hello Sunshine, in 2012. I worked full time at Boots from 2008 - 2014 when I went part time and then finally made the leap to full time Sunshine in April last year! It was a long, and sometimes incredibly difficult journey but worth every up, down, in and out and I’m so happy to be here now, doing my ideal job for a living.
Can you give us an idea of some of your creative processes?
All of my jewellery designs start as scribbles and endless lists in multiple sketchbooks and notepads. Once I’m happy with an idea I start neatening up designs and tinkering with them on the computer to try and build up all the shapes I’ll need to laser cut to create finished pieces. I then work with lovely Laura at Bespoke Laser UK who turns my ideas into all the acrylic and wooden shapes I need. After sourcing findings and packaging materials as locally as possible I then make up each piece of jewellery by hand at Sunshine Towers ready for lovely stockists and customers to give it all a new home!
What is inspiring you or your work just now?
At the moment I’m revisiting some old work (doodles in particular) and my long time love of Campervans for a new project. The whole project is inspired by my Nanna & Grandad’s beautiful old VW Campervan they had when I was very little. I have fond memories of taking trips to Attenborough Nature Reserve in it with them and I used to LOVE hearing stories about the trips and holidays they had in it. The family history and a deep rooted love of Campervans is totally inspiring me right now and I’m very excited about ‘Project Van’ and the new designs and products I hope will come out of all the daydreaming and planning I’ve been doing over the Summer!
Do you have any new designs you can give us a sneak preview of?
I have a couple of peeks at some scribbles, drawings and laser cut samples I’m more than happy to share with you…
What is your favourite thing about Nottingham?
Besides having lots of my friends and my family living in Nottingham I LOVE the growing creative community. There’s always been an underlying creative market in Nottingham but over the past 5 years or so it’s really exploded with new independant shops, the Nottingham Etsy Team and plenty more events and socials. I’m sad to have moved away just as I feel things were getting even better but I love coming back and will always try to take part in as much as I can. Also, coming back to Nottingham regularly means I get to try all the new food spots that keep popping up too!
The best piece of makers advice you have been given or can give to others?
Best pieces of advice I think I could pass on are:
Find Hello Sunshine available in store!