I am delighted to introduce to you the next interview in my series showcasing local makers and let me tell you folks, this one is a blinder.
Giving young people and furniture a second chance, meet Out of the Dark‘s inspirational founders…
Who are you?
Jay & Jade Blades
What do you do?
We run Out of the Dark - a charitable social enterprise that recycles, restores and revamps salvaged furniture as a way to train, educate and employ young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Where is home?
What are your favourite colours?
Blue & yellow
How did Out of the Dark start?
We had been running a youth organisation for thirteen years through which we ran a variety of life skills and fun activity projects. Around four years ago, we felt that it was important to do a project that would teach young people work ethics and work skills, that could potentially act as a social enterprise and become financially self sustainable. Even though we were really inspired by Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant, we didn’t feel confident setting up a restaurant.
Around three years ago, an idea emerged from looking at what we love and what skills we have. I (Jade) used to work for an interior designer and studied Textile Design at university and Jay used to work in the building industry and his dad is a carpenter. We both love antique and retro stuff, and are really in to design. So we came up with the concept of Out of the Dark. Add to this that we are based in High Wycombe – which has a history steeped in furniture making – and the idea seemed like it was meant to be!
Who or what inspires you?
The urban young people we work with – their style, music and fashion really inspires us.
What are you most proud of?
This is hard because we are proud of almost every piece! Each piece has a story and giving them a new lease of life gets us all very excited. We did a commissioned batch of chairs, tables and lamps for Bloomberg last summer which we are all very proud of: we used their waste wire to do traditional crafts such as chair caning, rush seating, weaving and upholstery. Those pieces came out looking amazing.
What’s your favourite item of furniture?
All of them! We have a love for anything British and if it has a High Wycombe stamp on it, wow, that’s a winner!
What are you most excited about doing this year?
We will be exhibiting at Somerset House as part of Walpole’s Crafted scheme in April, and also in April we will be putting on an exhibition in Bath. There are a few other things but we are not allowed to chat about them yet…