December 9, 2014 by lovenellie
At the end of last week I was lucky enough to head over to meet the Out of the Dark team. Their workshops are based just down the road in High Wycombe and its no coincidence that High Wycombe was historically the centre of British furniture manufacturing with amazing brands such as Ercol and G plan being made there.
Out of the Dark is a charitable social enterprise that creates uniquely designed and beautifully crafted furniture. They recycle, restore and revamp pieces discarded or donated by others; in the process they train, educate inspire and employ young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Most of the furniture they work with is the traditional Ercol, Parker Knoll, G plan etc which is all quality stuff but it just may have lost its way slightly in the current style stakes. Don’t worry though if its one things the guys from Out of the Dark seem to have, its bags of Style. The clever thing about what they do is they have realised that quality never goes out of fashion and these pieces were made to last they just need a bit of a kick-start again in the style stakes to make them current and desirable.
Out of the Dark was founded in 2010 by Jay and Jade Blades and I can see why the young people who come to them are so inspired to change, they are passionate about what they do and also look über cool in a way that perhaps their Chemistry teacher at school doesn’t, so young people immediately feel that they want to be part of their gang.
Out of the Dark sought to teach young people work skills, and to be a self-reliant social enterprise – doing great work, while not depending on Government funding, it exists to support disadvantaged young people, help them achieve a better life and steer them away from crime. In their time with the charity, young people learn craft, life and work skills, develop self-esteem, self-discipline and confidence, so that they become life and job-ready.Being part of this project literally transforms their lives.
Out of the Dark are not just up-cycling furniture, they are up-cycling lives helping transform characters that may have temporarily lost their way, giving them skills to be proud of and a feeling of being part of a team, well more of a family actually. Check out this cool video which shows you a bit more about what they do.
I was shown around the workshop by one of their team Travis, who was a star explaining to me how it all works and showing me some of their up-cycled furniture which frankly is done to such an amazing finish and with such style that it would not look out of place in a designer shop on the Kings Road. Travis told me about how they went to an old people’s home to meet an old man aged about 90(ish) who was an expert in furniture restoration so that he could teach them, he died shortly after teaching but Travis spoke fondly of him and said he thought the old man had enjoyed passing on his skills as much as they had enjoyed learning them. You see, that’s another amazing thing about this project, ‘Out of the Dark’ is helping pass on the artisan skills to future generations not only is the furniture up-cycled but so are the skills.
So if you have an old piece of much loved but tried furniture lying around, you can get in touch and they can transform it for you, not only can they restore and repair but they can turn it into a funky designer piece using their own range of brightly coloured paints or upholsterer it with some amazing fabric. It’s a chance for you to make an old piece of furniture totally your own a bespoke repair and designer service all in one!
Or if you need something a bit special and are bored with the boring things usually found on the High Street give them a call and see what they have in stock, you will be able to get a unique piece and support an amazing cause at the same time. I am loving the pink socks on this Parker Knoll Chair!
I am so thrilled that i will be working with Out of the Dark in my up-cycling section of the Henley House and Garden Show next year, they will be running some workshops where you can all go and learn a few tricks of the trade and be inspired so watch this space for more details. The gang will also be bringing some of their furniture so you will have the chance to buy something amazing.
If you don’t need something up-cycling at the moment but still want to support them and their amazing work please see how you can become one of their FRIENDS, its such a lovely concept and I for one will be recommending their amazing services to my clients on future projects.
Right folks off to a school Carol Service, I love a good old sing-song! Hope all plans for Christmas are going well and that you have managed to get the Christmas decorations down from the attic and untangle the lights for the Christmas tree!!!!!!!!!! Hate that job!