WebinArt Emerge Member Focus - October 2020

In this Emerge member focus blog post for the 2020/21 WebinArt programme, we are proud to introduce three up-and-coming creatives - Emma Obojiofor, Lucy Hebden and Georgia Kinsella.


WebinArt is Creative Leicestershire's year-long professional development programme for creative businesses. Our Emerge members are early in their career and benefit from one-to-one tailored business mentoring sessions alongside a whole host of live online events and resources.


Click here to find out more about the WebinArt Programme. WebinArt 2020/21 is generously subsidised by our funding partners - Leicestershire County Council, Arts Council England, Derbyshire County Council, Hinckley + Bosworth Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, Blaby District Council + Rutland County Council. 

Emma Obojiofor

Jup Upcycle


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.


JUP actually started as "Juliet's House" in 2017 when I wanted a creative pursuit on my one day off a week from work. At that time I was making beeswax candles in small ceramics that I salvaged from charity shops. I had read something about paraffin wax (in most candles) releasing toxins into the air and decided I wanted to make a natural and healthier alternative. I like to make something unique and that has a story behind it, hence using vessels found in charity shops because this meant that each would be different and have a history. I think people like to feel that they are buying something special and that no one else will have; they want to own something that is unique.


My upcycling interest was soon sparked into a different direction when I saw a friend's mother making twine. I loved the fact that it used up scraps, and because I love the world, the ocean, and care about preserving nature, I took this up as a hobby as a way to use waste. In Sydney (I was there on holiday when I saw this friend's mother making twine) there is an amazing recycling centre called Reverse Garbage. Here they collect items that would otherwise go to landfill and you can purchase it at a small price. They have everything from mannequins, sofas, corks, books, foam, you name it! They also have a huge bin of fabric. I bought a bag of fabric for $5 and started making twine with this. The following year, I went on a big road trip around Australia with my new husband. Well, he did most of the driving and since Australia is a big country, there was a lot of driving to do. I wanted something to do in the passenger seat while we listened to our music and podcasts: making twine was the perfect craft because it requires no equipment or tools. Just your hands. I soon had so much twine that I thought I better do something with it. So then came baskets and plant hangers: for which I learnt to crochet and do macrame. 



Well, making twine from fabric scraps has now developed into my small business, Jup Upcycle. It has not only taught me new craft skills, but has honed my passion for redirecting waste. Since being back in the UK in March 2020, when "Juliet's House" became Jup Upcycle, I have connected with 6 other small businesses who have collected and sent their fabric waste to me to be transformed into twine.  I make baskets and plant hangers from the twine, and have also sold some to two macrame artists. I also make reusable period pads, fabric baskets, cutlery wraps, tea towels; all made from unwanted textiles. My dream is to eliminate textile waste completely. I would love to connect with larger companies and re-direct their waste into something new as well. How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?


I work as a private tutor which is great as I can choose my own hours and it's mostly in the evenings, giving me the daytime to focus on JUP. I do find it difficult juggling both though and am still trialling out different routines. What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?


My main challenge has been to balance JUP well alongside working as a tutor. This was difficult over the summer as I was teaching all day but now that the children have gone back to school, tutoring happens in the evenings. However it is still challenging to get the balance right as if I over-work myself during the day then I have little energy left for my students. I also enjoy and value this work so I must look after myself so that I can be a successful tutor for them. Instagram continues to be challenging for me: it is easy for me to feel pressured to post everyday in order to be seen and sometimes the effort involved in taking a really good photo and writing a thoughtful caption is too much or I rush it and then regret not spending more time on it. The scheduling app Later has helped me to feel more in control of it, rather than being controlled by it, but it still takes up too much of my thinking in my opinion. However, a recent webinar from Chloe Hardisty challenged me to re-frame my thinking about Instagram; she said that she sees it as a creative challenge. I would prefer to have that mindset towards it! JUP has been in existence on Etsy since June 2020 and each month since then I have been in profit which is amazing. It's not a lot and it doesn't pay any bills but it has meant that when I want to buy customized labels or a customized stamp for the business, I've not been left out of pocket. That is my biggest success up to this point and I hope it continues to grow in this manner.


What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


My plan has always been to teach workshops rather than sell products. The products are for sale on my Etsy shop because I'm making them anyway and I love to make them; however what I really want to do is teach other people the skills to upcycle fabric waste. Due to the pandemic, this has not been possible in the way that I imagined via workshops in person in an art gallery or community hall. I expected to be making contacts and connections with such venues. Instead, I wish to make these available online but I am yet to decide exactly how to do this. In truth, I have been procrastinating on this because it involves skills that don't come naturally to me and the task feels very large at the moment! In the long term, I would love to conduct travelling workshops teaching twine making and other upcycling projects with fabric around the country. I would make contacts with small businesses in each community who produce fabric waste, so that the participants of the workshop know that they are reducing the waste of their own community. My husband is currently building us a campervan to be our home so the dream is to live in that, therefore giving us the freedom to travel and work at the same time. How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?


Being part of WebinArt means that I intentionally take time out to learn new things through the webinars and to reflect with other creatives through the online meet ups, all for the benefit of my small business. I actually cancel or re-schedule my tutoring sessions in order to attend them, so I do see them as valuable. If I didn't go to them, then I would miss out on advice and tips from other creative people who are walking a similar journey to me. Being part of a community like this helps me to feel connected and less alone in it! Some things that I have picked up or learnt range from Instagram tips, how to schedule social media posts, how to value my time and how to build routine when you're a freelancer. Sometimes it simply motivates me to keep going and this is powerful in itself.


What has inspired you recently?  During lockdown I started reading 'Everything is Figureoutable' by Marie Forleo. Just reading a few pages of that is enough to motivate me into gear again.  I also listen to Jordan Raynor's podcast "The Call to Mastery" which is for Christians who want to be masters in their field in order to glorify God through their excellence. The podcast is relevant for any listener as the guests often give really good advice about routine and disciplines that they believe have contributed to their success.  What also gives me constant inspiration (but also can be a cause of distraction if not used wisely) is the community on Instagram who are sharing ideas on how to shop more ethically, with less plastic, swapping products for eco-friendly ones. This (when I'm in a healthy mindset) motivates me to contribute to this community and to be a champion for the planet. My contribution is making things out of textile waste and therefore saving it from landfill; Instagram reminds me that this is valuable. 


See more of what Emma does here - Website (etsy shop): https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JupUpcycle Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jup.upcycle/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jup.upcycle YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF7dgZM2dxBqAGnx3o6RZ3w?view_as=subscriber

Lucy Hebden

Lucy Loves Design


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.


After 15 years of teaching Art & Design in secondary schools I was itching to start developing my own creative work, rather than always supporting others with their artwork. When I finally got both my daughters to school, I had the time in my week to start developing my own art and Lucy Loves Design was launched. I create printed textile and surface pattern designs. These are usually placement prints or repeating patterns that can be applied to fashion fabrics, interior products, soft furnishings and stationery. I start by creating motifs using drawing, painting, collage, printmaking – basically any 2D art technique. These are then scanned, and I create digital repeating patterns using Photoshop.

How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?


I am a mum to two small girls, which as every parent knows sucks every spare minute you have! Now they are both at school I have found the juggle much easier as I have 2 clear days (if you can call 9am – 3pm a ‘full’ day!) to focus on Lucy Loves Design. There is still a lot of multitasking and I often get them painting and drawing along with me when I need to get some design work done.


What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?


Learning about new technologies has been a big learning curve! Anyone who knows me knows I’m terrible with computers! I studied Printed Textile Design at Loughborough University School of Art & Design but since I graduated the industry has changed massively due to advances in software and digital fabric printing processes. I knew that if I wanted to relaunch my design work, I would need to update my digital skills. The fundamentals of textile design are still the same but to ensure I was working to current standards I took three online courses from Make it in Design, which helped me learn to develop my work digitally.

When I licenced my first design, I gave myself a virtual high-five! This was a small success but the result of lots of little steps to move to the point of having a functioning design business. When I list what I have achieved in the last 12 months I’m quite surprised; graduating from 3 online learning modules, a new portfolio of design work, a brand identity and a website to showcase my work.


What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


My WebinArt mentor Chloe, from Cotton Clara, encouraged me to write goals for the next 12 months during our first chat. This has proved really helpful as it’s given me a focus (and an excuse to buy new stationary for lists!) Short term, I am aiming to find representation – an agent – to sell or licence my designs as I love the creative side of designing but would love someone else to do the selling and contracts. Also, on my list for the next 12 months is; a portfolio review with an industry expert, raising the profile of my brand through entering competitions and design challenges, and further developing my website and Instagram account.

Long term, when I am selling enough work, I aim to cut back my classroom teaching further so I can spend more time designing and developing Lucy Loves Design.



How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?


As mentioned above, WebinArt has given me a focus for the next 12 months and enabled me to make a clear plan of action. I am also hoping it will enable me to meet other local creative practitioners once we are able to mingle more freely again.

What has inspired you recently? 

  1. Botanical Gardens – a great source of inspiration for my designs – I love the one in Cambridge where my mum lives but also Kew Gardens.

  2. Book – Flower Colour Guide by Darroch and Michael Putnam. I think this is intended to be a helpful reference book for florists but the photography is beautiful so it’s a great resource to paint and draw from.

  3. The Flower Plant – I love visiting this shop in Sileby. Not only does it sell beautiful flowers and plants but the presentation of the shop is always really interesting and inspiring.

You can see more of Lucy's work here -


Website: www.lucylovesdesign.co.uk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lucylovesdesign

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucylovesdesign/


Georgia Kinsella


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.


I am a Midlands based painter and installation artist. I graduated this year from De Montfort University in Fine Art and my practice has developed during my time there.


My current practice is influenced by my final year research into painting and it’s relevance today. ‘Contemporary Painting in Context’ by Anne Ring Peterson outlines two attitudes towards painting; one that “has been inherited from the 1960’s and implies that painting is a burnt-out institution” and the other that painting is still going strong but “has been fused into innovative hybrids.” My work aims to explore the latter by separating ‘painting’ from canvas and from frame by using different materials to create works of surface and colour that can be applied to various spaces. I create both paintings and installation work using paint, vinyl and various other mixed media that encourages the audience to feel and become part of the artwork.


How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?


The Inspiration for my work comes from my surroundings so I am constantly looking for interesting colours or shapes that may stand out in my day-to-day life. I am currently searching for a job and work experience in the arts exhibition field but in the meantime, I am focusing on trying to create a studio space outside (although the cold weather is putting me off!)



What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?


In light of everything that has happened this year, I would have to say getting motivation to continue with my work has been my main challenge. I miss being surrounded by creative people and having my own space to work. I feel like my biggest success is creating my final year work in my sisters bedroom. Due to the pandemic, I was sent home early from University and had to try and think on my feet. I created the installation ‘Jellybean’ (2020) using models and paintings I had already created as guides and the materials I had to hand, as all the shops had now closed. This piece is my favourite work so far because it not only became part of my degree but has now also been featured in ARCCA Magazine and Arthole Magazine, Arthole: 3.



What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


I am very passionate about bringing art to the wider community and so would love to have a career in the exhibition and arts events field. Right now, I am focusing on finding a space to continue my practice and working on my branding and social media pages whilst searching for work experience opportunities.


How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?


WebinArt has welcomed me into a community of like-minded people and it has benefitted me by putting me in contact with this community. I’ve had separate email conversations and zoom meetings with fellow creatives who have been able to offer me help and advice about how to gain work experience. The Creative Focus chats have been incredibly helpful as you get the chance to learn about everyone and their practice, and it is comforting to see that we are all in the same position in light of the pandemic, but we are all working together.



What has inspired you recently? 


‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. I was recommended to read this by a lot of people in one of our Creative Focus chats and it doesn’t leave my bedside.


‘THE END OF FUN!’ by Krištof Kintera currently being exhibited at the IKON Gallery in Birmingham. This was my first time seeing an exhibition since Lockdown, so it felt great to be back seeing artwork.


I have recently launched my new Instagram page and the responses I have received has inspired me to get started on some new work. It is always encouraging to receive positive comments about your work, and even more so when people actually want to get involved.


See more of Georgia's work here -


Website: gkinsellaart.wixsite.com/website

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gkinsellaart/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gkinsellaart

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