Something different came to town over the weekend, Oswestry was full of colour, and everyone was looking up.
The Oswestry Balloon Carnival made the town come alive, people gathered and there were smiles on many faces- the sun helped too.
Since we have opened our shop JOLT we can now participate in the town events in a way that we couldn’t before. It is great to have a front door and feel like we are part of the community in Oswestry, however sometimes we struggle to communicate who we are and what we do.
Designs in Mind and JOLT are not very easy places to define and we can mean very different things to different people. Sometimes words like charity, community, mental health, art often get in the way of people really connecting with us, finding out more about us, or exploring ways of working together.
So this is why we do things like we did on Saturday. We find ways of working that enable us to be who we are and let our personality shine- human, intentional, bold, fresh, vibrant. We are active, and provocative, we will keep pushing for people to do things and see things in a different way, and be joyous in the process.
We aim to surprise- this is exactly where the name JOLT came from. We know our work surprises people, and so we took this to the streets on Saturday.
We wore balloons on our heads and danced through the streets of Oswestry.
Inspired by this dance company in Spain, we knew that we could share a message about the significance of being human and connected.
We rise by lifting others
Our flash mob (of sorts! We were rehearsed, risk assessed and had considered our environmental impact) was meant to encourage spontaneity and spark a reaction.
‘They’re going to take off’
‘It was just so un-expected, I wanted to join in’
‘I’m so glad we did it, I have never done anything like this before’
‘It was amazing just watching the people watching, they loved it’
‘You looked great and added something special’
‘People just stopped doing what they were doing’
‘Everyone smiled, it was great hearing people shout out to us and wave’
‘I felt proud to be part of Designs in Mind and JOLT, even though I was just watching’
‘The buzz of excitement was very evident, both on Social media and at the event itself. I didn't actually take part in the dance only witnessed it on social media. My heart skipped a beat when on Saturday afternoon it was briefly mentioned in the main arena, which inspired me to share photos on the Oswestry pages, and share a little of our Designs in Mind story. I was so proud of my friends that day and it’s been great hearing the good vibes back in the studio today.’
Some of the conversations we have had since...
We are taught from an early age that in order to succeed we must fall in line and adhere to the rules. It takes quite a strength in character to not toe the line, to break out, to dare to be different- but we found in dancing together and seeing the reaction of the crowds, it gave us a new permission, and strength to keep going.
We had to detach ourselves from the outcome- not think about what impact this might have on the shop, on sales, on visibility, or on the studio- just letting joy be the starting point and focus. Joy for us to do this and as we danced the joy we saw and heard from all the people who saw us. If we start with joy people will naturally follow and be engaged. The more we live, the more we learn that things don't always go as planned, expectations can often lead to disappointment. So more starting with joy please and we will continue to exceed expectations.
Why is fun often dismissed as silly? Is silly bad? We were all nervous before we left the studio- are we really going to dance in the streets with balloons on our heads?!! However as soon as we got in the shop the fear disappeared. There was such a buzz in there, more people than usual and smiles on every face. We heard lot’s of ‘Wow’ which is always our favourite word to hear. This elation meant there was no self-doubt, no confusion, no fear. Silliness brings laughter, which builds human connection. The more the film of us dancing is watched and shared- it means it is still growing and building- it’s pretty amazing.
Thank you Oswestry Balloon Carnival- it was a wonderful weekend.
Thank you to Griffiths Hire Shop for donating the helium.
Thank you to The Bailey Head for some much needed water at the end of our jolly jaunt.
A little bit about us, if you have now found us for the first time...
JOLT is the Designs in Mind Shop. We believe that high quality art and design work with a positive social impact has a place on the high street.
We sell contemporary, bold beautiful homeware and gifts that challenge mental health stigma and make visible lives and stories that were once hidden.
We are the perfect place for you to buy your presents.
100% of the sales revenue goes towards sustaining and developing the work of Designs in Mind.
Designs in Mind is a working studio and shop designing and making commissioned artwork and products for retail.
People join the team at Designs in Mind predominantly referred through secondary mental health care. Some people are referred through their GP, through Social Prescribing, and some people walk in to our shop- JOLT.
Our work makes people say 'Wow'! We exceed people's expectations and in turn people living with mental health challenges have a different platform from which to take on the world.