Drawing inspiration from the coastal landscape, the advanced fusion techniques of Jo Downs Handmade Glass allow for the creation of abstract designs in iridescent colours that create a kaleidoscope of form and colour.
Larger commissions grace the walls and ceilings of prestigious hotels, cruise ships and private homes, while handmade giftware, wall panels and art frames can be found in five glass emporiums across Cornwall (as well as in Sunningdale in Berkshire). Each offers a unique experience shaped by design, architecture and location, from the very first one opened in Padstow in 2005 to the two-storey headquarters and gallery space in Launceston.
“Each gallery has a different vibe,” says Jo. “For example, Padstow has collections influenced by the stunning Camel Estuary and the nearby beaches of Hawkers Cove and Daymer Bay.” The tea light candles designed for use in Paul Ainsworth’s restaurants are also available to purchase here – they are perfect for gifting or as a take-home reminder of halcyon holiday days.
St Ives is the quirkiest gallery. “It’s split into two, one on either side of the historic Market House in the heart of the town,” says Jo. “The multiple windows allow us to create a different look in each, from rainbow colourways through to opulent ocean blues and greens.” They also act like the facets of a gemstone, reflecting St Ives’ unique light and its surrounding bays and beaches, as well as echoing the town’s eclectic and bohemian buzz.
The Fowey gallery is housed in what was once a much-loved fish and chip shop. “We still sell fish, but of the more decorative variety!” laughs Jo. “Our fish installations and shoaling fish art frames are a favourite here.”
Tintagel in comparison, is compact and bijou, but still has all the favourite Jo Downs’ giftware along with exclusive designs based on the glorious Gull Rock and Tintagel Castle.
Expect to be wowed from the minute you enter the Launceston gallery. “The space allows us to really showcase inspirational designs, from one-off experimental creations to fabulous wall installations,” says Jo. “As it’s also our commissions hub, experienced staff are on hand to discuss anything from splashbacks through to chandeliers.”
Each location offer inspiration for Jo’s Artisan Collections of limited-edition pieces, from St Ives’ white sandy beaches and the mystical, moody atmosphere of Tintagel Castle to the pink hues of a Cornish sunrise, or the turquoise luminescence on the crest of a wave.
“Ideas can come from anywhere and anyone,” says Jo. “Sometimes a customer might ask, ‘Have you ever thought of doing…?’ It might equally be an amazing cloud formation we’ve experienced, or the mist hanging over Bodmin Moor, creating an ethereal quality.
“Every member of the team brings their own ideas to the creative process. We’re lucky as we all live and work in this amazing county, so you’re never far away from beauty. The only limit to the creativity in each gallery is its size.”
Jo and the team keep the look and feel of the Cornish galleries fresh and exciting, with new Artisan collections launched every three to four months, influenced by the changing seasons. Why not travel one from one to the other, on a Cornish glass art trail like no other?
Jo Downs Handmade Glass is based in Launceston, with galleries in St Ives, Fowey, Tintagel and Padstow. jodowns.com