Last week i was lucky enough to catch up with two lovely ladies that i went to college and university with, and they are doing absolutely brilliantly! They are two very very talented applied artists, and it was great to catch up with them and see what they got up to with their business adventures. Please welcome to the blog.... Jessica Langford and Lucy Addison!
I got to see their joint studio and talk to them about their self employment and also the joint business they have created from the ground up. It's brilliant to see how motivated they are and how hard they are working, both together and also within their own individual works. People who have followed my blog and instagram before know that i am BIG fans of their work and have bought pieces from both of them - and i LOVE them!
I had loads of fun mooching around their studio at their tools and motivational posters (i particularly liked the one shown above!) It was cool to see where they worked and it almost reminded me of back in the old days at college! I was almost a little envious of their little space and getting to work with each other every day ;)
I got to pick their brains in a little informal interview we conducted....here's what they had to say!
1. When and why did you decide you wanted to set up a studio together instead of seperately?
J – I absolutely loved uni and the creative atmosphere, having Lucy as my bay neighbour getting to hear about Lucy’s projects and I didn’t want that to end when we left. When we were in 2nd year uni we went for a day out to the Ouseburn Studios in Newcastle together and there was this one workshop, I still remember exactly what it looked like, kind of triangular shaped with a big heater and all nice a cosy and creative. There was two girls in there, one was a bag maker and I can’t remember what the other one did but I remember loving her business cards. Anyway! We had a really nice chat with the girls and walked away so inspired and we both realised that was exactly what we wanted.
L – I also loved our work spaces at uni, being surrounded by other creatives really kept me motivated and inspired. Throughout uni I realised doing work at home really wasn’t quite the same as I would lose concentration and basically got a lot more work done when surrounded by others. When we were finishing uni I realised working from home would be hard for me and as Jess has already said we loved the shared workshop spaces at Ouseburn Studios and decided it’d be amazing to share a work space/ studio to continue bouncing creative ideas off each other and to keep motivated. We love sharing a workshop and it’s great having someone elses opinion right by my side when I’m working on commissions or small collections.
2. What is the Creative Village, and how did it come about?
J – We had always both mentioned wanting to do both making products and delivering workshops but we had never discussed doing it together or anything. My auntie, Sue Johnson, has a business called Local Solutions who deliver workshops to help people refine their business idea and give them the skills to be able to make it come to life. The class, including Lucy’s mum and one of our good friends Rachel, all realised a lot of our goals were similar so why not create an extra amazing company together? As time went on other hurdles have got in the way of some of the other members of the group which left Lucy and I to set up Creative Village as a pair, however we still have plans for the others to be involved in the future.
L – Sue Johnson’s workshop was one of the best things we have ever done. It brought to life what we have always dreamed of which is a business on the side of our self-employment which we could teach workshops through. Creative Village is a community interest company that aims to deliver workshops to a range of ages and abilities in our local community. We share our skills learnt through our degree including jewellery & ceramics and also general art & design with younger attendees.
3. Can you tell us more about what you both do with the Creative Village, and what you want to achieve?
J – We are both really passionate about art and want to use it to help others enjoy it as much as we do. We have recently really enjoyed working with Eastern Ravens, a group of young carers, using art to create a way to express and free their feelings. We carefully created activities to build confidence and self-esteem while they had a good old good time! We sit there after each workshop and can’t actually believe that we can call that our job, we enjoy it so much!
L – We plan and deliver the workshops together and we’re always coming up with creative ideas for workshops. Like Jess said our aim is to help others enjoy art as much as we do and express themselves through art. We absolutely love teaching the workshops it is our favourite time of the week and seeing the attendees go away from the workshop happy, full of energy and creativity makes our day!
4. How does your joint business tie in and compliment your own individual work?
J – I personally find it really inspiring and motivating to see others discovering how good art can be and what art can do for someone. The motivation filters through and after each workshop I can’t wait to get going on my own work with 12987347 different ideas going through my head!
L- As Jess has said helping other to be creative really inspires what we do on a daily basis whether it be delivering our workshops through Creative Village or working on our own businesses. We are constantly getting excited to make new collections and getting prepared for upcoming events it is so refreshing to share our love for the creative world with others.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? And where do you want to go with the Creative Village?
J - I see myself completely self-employed and spending my days being lucky enough to make beautiful (hopefully) pieces and along with Lucy, help others to also make beautiful things. From the beginning we have dreamt of growing and having our own building so that would be TOTALLY AMAZING!
L – I also see myself just self-employed and having a successful joint business with Jess delivering our workshops all over the North East. Our businesses both joint and not are growing by the week and the thought of 5 years’ time is so exciting! I hope we are both really successful in the future!
6. Have you got any new projects or ideas for the future, either working together or separately?
J – When we were in uni we got to go and have a look around the British Craft Trade Fair and we of course spent all day green with envy wanting to be in the exhibitor’s shoes and that’s exactly what we will be doing in April 2015! We can’t wait! I bought one of my outfits to wear there today I’m THAT excited!
We also finally got to announce last night our amazing news, we have been awarded a grant by the Big Lottery Fund! We are so proud and excited about starting our project, Be Creative, ASAP! Our funding will allow us to equip and run the project! Thank you to my Auntie Sue and especially my amazing Mum who helped us sort out a load of notes and excitable noises into something really good. I love getting to work with my best friend! I think our personalities and work really compliment each other and I can’t wait for what comes next!!
L – British Craft Trade Fair April 2015, various upcoming craft fairs we do together. Creative Village has a lot of workshops lined up just working on the start dates for those and as Jess has said above we are over the moon with our funding from the Big Lottery Fund! Couldn’t be any happier that our dreams are coming true and I couldn’t think of a better person to have by my side running our business. Again, thanks to Alison (jess’s mam) & Sue Johnson for all their help! We couldn’t have done it without them! Bring on the future!
I'm sure, just like me, you are incredibly excited about the things that Jess and Lucy have got lined up! For young artists just starting out they are doing AMAZING!!! Please click on the photographs below to visit their websites and check out their work! And keep your peepers peeled for the all the news and goss about their upcoming work :)