Back in November, the design team from homeware brand Habitat, came to Oswestry for a workshop with the community interest company, Designs in Mind.

The two companies formed a collaborative partnership, which produced an exclusive collection of products that have been on sale in a number of Sainsbury’s stores across the UK. The products featured creative contributions from some of the individuals who attend workshops at Designs in Mind.

Based on Cross Street in Oswestry, the social enterprise helps people living with mental health challenges. Workshops are held three times a week and are focused on bringing out the creative side of attendees who have all been referred via their GP’s, a hospital or clinic in relation to mental health challenges.

Sitting in the workshop upstairs, you could feel the creative artistry around you with paintbrushes, paper and materials stacked across shelves. As the workshop began, led by Andrew Tanner (Head of Design at Habitat) and Habitat designers Sarah and Holly, a new angle of thinking began regarding typographic wall art, how impactful sayings are and how carefully selected typography can support the feel of a word.

After a round of sharing our favourite sayings, which instinctively brought out some regional favourites from across the country, attendees got to work planning their size and layout of words. The Habitat team provided inspiration through a short video and some clever examples that felt very familiar through advertising.

Jo Davis, Founder and Artist of Designs in Mind said, “Our collaboration with Habitat has fitted well with Designs in Mind’s ethos of ‘making with purpose’. We’re incredibly proud that we’ve been able to translate our ethos to objects that we all use in our homes. Making and designing is a constant process of decision making, it is an absorbing and healing process outside the questions and struggles we might be facing in our lives. We like to think that every product is injected with a small dose of the happiness and mindfulness that our members channelled in our studio during the design process.”

During the workshop, Andrew Tanner surprised the attendees with a box of some of the products that were a result of the collaboration. “Habitat were able to generate some good publicity for the products, with them appearing in Ideal Home, Fabulous and Homestyle magazines and being stocked by Argos. We want to help start more projects and possibly work together again.”

Designs in Mind has been here in Oswestry some 20 years, but it was only around 8 years ago that the CIC became known as this. They have worked on many projects over the years, and now they are becoming more involved with design commissions for national homeware and fabric companies.

In 2022, they collaborated with Scion (Sandersons), who produced a number of homeware products using their designs based on the theme ‘Happy Home’. More recently in 2022, Designs in Mind moved in to the shop on Cross Street and made it their base.

It is most certainly a community at Designs in Mind and the work they create is both unique and beautiful. Their team of volunteers and staff bring the skills needed to guide workshop attendees with learning new arts and a whole range of medium can be explored.

One attendee spoke of how important Designs in Mind is to them. “I used to come a long time ago when it was called Project Group. I decided to come back because I loved it so much,” Sue told us.

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