Take a tour of Jo Downs Cornwall

Take a tour of Jo Downs Cornwall


Known and loved for their intricate, colour-forward expressions of the landscape, explore the Jo Downs Cornwall galleries, meet the teams and gain an insight into how Jo draws inspiration from the Cornish landscape.

Jo Downs Handmade Glass, St Ives
With two galleries in this iconic Cornish town, Emily, Julie and Lucy delve into what makes this gallery and its locale so special, also commenting on their wider love for Cornwall, as well as their favourite pieces from the Jo Downs Cornwall collection.

What makes the location of your gallery in particular so special?
“Having grown up here in St Ives, I’m definitely biased!” says Emily, a recent addition to the St Ives team. “As a resident, one of the best bits of working in St Ives is getting to talk to the people who visit about what draws them here. More often than not it’s the gorgeous scenery and the art! St Ives is famed for its vibrant art scene, and the beautiful artwork at Jo Downs is no exception to it. Our lovely location right in the heart of the town at market square is a wonderful place to watch the world go by, and brings a bright spark of colour to the town.”
Julie agrees. “I think St Ives is so popular now and has a diverse art scene, ranging from the Tate gallery to the Barbara Hepworth sculpture gallery and gardens. Our gallery is situated in one of the oldest buildings in the town, which used to be the old magistrates many years ago. It is such an iconic building and many local artists over the years have used it as inspiration for their work. I think much of Jo’s work is inspired by marine life and landscape, taking into consideration a number of well known areas, such as Smeaton’s Pier and Gwithian in particular for us in St Ives.”
For Lucy, St Ives is home. “Our gallery in St Ives is in a perfect location, right in the centre of town. I wanted to work for Jo Downs because it isn’t a high-street chain, it’s an independent shop. What’s more, my father was an artist, so I can relate with Jo on the attraction of being here. Helping customers on their journey to find the perfect piece of art for their home, one that reflects the beauty of the town, is something I love to do!”

What do you think makes Cornwall so unique?
“Cornwall is just a magical place to be,” says Julie, “with amazing locations like St Michael’s Mount, Newlyn, Sennen, Porthcurno, to name just a few. Having grown up in this part of Cornwall, I have such wonderful childhood memories, memories that’ll always be a part of me. “As visitors always say, ‘it’s like an escape to a different world’, and I think people feel that when they walk into one of the galleries, especially if it’s their first time. A customer commented recently that they felt as if they’d entered ‘Ocean World’, which I think describes our galleries in a nutshell.”
For Emily, it’s the county’s many moods that make it such a unique part of the world. “The peace of the coastal paths is a wonderfully calming way to escape and reflect. In St Ives, when the sun’s out, it’s a lovely cheerful place to be, but I particularly love the dark colours of the bay when a good storm arrives. Looking out from the harbour and watching the waves crash against the Godrevy lighthouse is absolutely magnificent, and seeing nature’s full power always brings me a sense of wonder, and a deep appreciation, for where we are.”

Do you have any favourite Jo Downs pieces and why?
“Some of my favourites have to be the Wishsticks, and of course the lovely small hearts!” says Emily. “I love how beautifully vibrant the Wishticks are, and the wonderful little message they spread. The way that positivity is mixed in with bright, uplifting colours is a delightful way to bring some joy into decorating both visually and sentimentally. With the small heart dishes, I really like the way the wave pattern flows through them, essentially equating the seaside with love.”
“I think much of Jo’s work is inspired by marine life and landscape,” says Julie, “taking into consideration a number of well-known areas, such as Smeaton’s Pier and Gwithian in particular for us in St Ives. My favourite pieces are those with a sense of individuality – artisan pieces such as the seahorse panels, and the intricate shoaling fish frames. It’s always exciting to see something fresh and different on our deliveries each week, as we know our customers love how Jo is so proactive in creating new things.”
For Lucy, who appreciates Jo’s ability to draw inspiration from Cornwall’s light and colours, and the movement of the coast and land, Jo’s chandeliers are a firm favourite. “As statement pieces, the chandeliers are really grand! I also love Jo’s Twilight & Moon design; my children are adults now, but they’re still fascinated with the moon. I remember when they were little we would sit out on the step and gaze up at the night sky, and this design in particular reminds of those moments.”

 

Jo Downs Handmade Glass, Fowey
What makes the Fowey Gallery’s location so special?
“To visit all of the galleries is a very unique and interesting experience,” says Adele, “because there is always such diversity in the Art with each gallery reflecting the area they are in. I think our location is unique because many creative people live here. Fowey is famous for its creative history, and the artwork we showcase here at Jo Downs reflects that. It also reflects the life in our oceans, which Jo captures in her designs, and that means that customers are able to take a genuine piece of Cornwall home with them.” Fleur comments "We are in the heart of Fowey, just across from the water. You can see the river, the trees and the sky from the gallery. We see the changing weather and the seasons. We meet people from near and far - and their doggies! It's a very lovely and inspiring place to be."


Do you have any favourite Jo Downs pieces and why?
“What I love most about Jo’s work is that it’s all handmade. It takes time, love and
consistency to create something so special, and I feel there is real value there that we miss with factory or machine-made work. With Jo Downs, you get something that was crafted with passion, which makes it more collaborative, more collectable, and rare, due to every piece having a slight difference due to the human-made process we use.”
For Adele, personal favourites include the Drift of Leaves. “I feel this captures the magic of autumn and the seasons perfectly. Although, I also have a love for the Indian Summer collection, which I feel could cheer anybody up on a dull day.” And for Fleur,  "I'm very fond of the soft textures of the Coastal Artisan range, and the little details of the starfish in the corner. In the very recent work, I love the more painterly yachts and lighthouses. And of course the crab artworks - I'm a Cancerian!"


Jo Downs Handmade Glass, Launceston
What makes the Launceston gallery so special?
The Launceston HQ is truly wonderful. Found between two stunning moors – Bodmin to the west, with Dartmoor just over the border to the east - Den, member of the Launceston team, favours Jo’s pieces that reflect this rugged locale. “Jo’s designs are, of course, heavily inspired by the coastline, however my favourites reflect the rugged interior – Cornwall’s tin mines, its trees contorted by the westerly winds, the golden hues of autumn as the trees shed their leaves.


Do you have any favourite Jo Downs pieces and why?
“Jo’s superb leaf wall installations are a perfect example. For me, my favourite colours are earthy browns, greens and autumnal oranges and rich reds. I love the cosiness these colours bring to your home, and it’s a reminder of walking on the moors, following babbling streams and coming across ancient standing stones.”


What do you think makes Cornwall so special?
Den’s favourite places include Golitha Falls near the famed Jamaica Inn. “It’s a wonderful place to centre yourself and breathe in the fresh air. I think every member of our team around the county has their own wonderful place to work, be it by the seaside, in a busy harbour, or immersed in Cornwall’s countryside. Yes, it rains an awful lot, but that’s what makes Cornwall such a pretty place to visit, especially for me – I love the lush spring gardens along the south coast!”


Jo Downs Handmade Glass - Padstow
What makes the Padstow gallery so special?
“Having lived here all of my life and with my family here too, Padstow holds a very special place in my heart,” says Chloe. “The gallery, like all Jo Downs galleries, is really bright and colourful, so even if it’s a dull and miserable day outside, as soon as you step inside, everything becomes brighter and fun to look at.”
Sarah, who works alongside Chloe, agrees. “Padstow is a relaxed, friendly town with a traditional working harbour. It has a strong community spirit which can be seen during the Obby Oss festival, and it’s home to some excellent restaurants, including Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and Paul Ainsworth’s Michelin starred No. 6. Visitors to the Padstow gallery can capitalise on all of this, spending the day walking around the harbour and visiting the many independent retailers and galleries here, including ours. And from us, they often leave with a beautiful piece from Jo Downs to adorn the walls of their home.”


Do you have any favourite Jo Downs pieces and why?
“We have lots of ranges that are inspired by the beaches and locations of Cornwall, and the colours are matched to their names. Daymer Bay, for example; this range is based on the stunning colours of rippling water and sand.
“I love the new Dolphin range too, especially the frames with their different textures of glass that make the waves stand out more. They also shimmer and catch the light beautifully. The Shoaling Fish frames are another favourite of mine as they come in a variety of different colours as well as patterns, meaning there’s always something different in the gallery to look at.”
Sarah shares Chloe’s love for the Shoaling Fish and Daymer Bay ranges. “The fish look beautiful wherever they are, I love the colours and the shadows they cast. They’re also typical of Jo’s work, all of which is inspired by the rugged Cornish coast, its beautiful landscape and the colours of nature.”


What do you think makes Cornwall so special?
“Although Cornwall is busier during the high season these days, there are still some beautiful, quiet places that are generally unspoilt,” says Sarah, “both on the coast and more in-land. There’s something for everybody to enjoy too. For me, my favourite places are Constantine Bay, Port Quin, Roughtor on Bodmin Moor, and Kynance Cove. I particularly like the hairy cows at Roughtor!”

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