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Junk Jodie chats to Love Basingstoke

Local Artist, Junk Jodie tells Love Basingstoke about her inspirations and what she's been up to as part of Basingstoke's Green Week.

Tell us a bit about yourself and where Junk Jodie came from?

I was born and raised in Basingstoke. I studied for a national diploma in Art and Design at Basingstoke College of Technology and also a diploma in Performing Arts at Queen Mary’s College. I then trained at East 15 acting school in physical theatre. Once graduating I started up a cushion making business in my loft, called “Love of Clash”. I have always had a love for colourful art very much inspired from many childhood visits to South Africa, where my family are from. I got to witnesses some incredible, colourful art made from recycled materials.

I was soon approached by Proteus Theatre Company to organise and run arts and crafts workshops for primary schools. I got to visit many scrap stores to source materials for these workshops and loved it! It was during this time that I realised how much usable junk there was and that being creative with these materials could be such fun! All you needed was a little imagination! Furthermore, not only was it limitless and cheap it was also good for our planet! My imagination was bouncing off the walls! I had so many ideas and materials to play with and this is when I became “Junk Jodie”.

What is it like being an artist/performer in Basingstoke and Deane?

Its great! I love being a local artist in the area I grew up. Basingstoke and Deane are very supportive to us local artists, providing some amazing creative opportunities. I have built a great rapport with many families over the past couple of years who have attended many of my outdoor workshops.

What was your inspiration behind using recycled materials / junk for your creations? 

Many visits to South Africa and local scrap stores. I love encouraging young people to be creative. I started up a YouTube channel called Junk Jodie recycled art and storytelling at the start of the pandemic, as all my work got cancelled. It was important to me to keep creative and positive through the tough times! Also, to offer that to young people. It’s great to think of lots of families following my creations without it costing them a fortune. This is why recycling materials is so wonderful, it encourages us to take care of our planet whilst giving your junk a second, third or fourth life. We must look after our world, after all we only get one and young people are our future. If I can make just an ounce of difference inspiring, spreading awareness and encouraging people to recycle and take care of our planet then I feel hugely fulfilled.

How do you think up your ideas for models?

I often start with a theme, once I have a theme my creative imagination gets going! It’s fun turning junk into models and toys that children can play with, with their imaginations. Like turning milk bottles into elephants and toilet rolls into a rockets.

Tell us what you’ve been up to for Green Week?

I’ve been working with Basingstoke and Deane Climate and Emergency Team. I was commissioned to make a giant Pledge Tree using recycled materials. I had lots of fun making the tree and I finally got to use all the recycled cereal boxes in my house!

On 24 September I ran workshops for Basingstoke’s Green Week Market, which took place at The Malls Shopping Centre. We added pledges to the tree and made Bee Kind bees and Be Kind flowers from recycled materials. The tree really came alive!

I am also running workshops on 1 October at Basingstoke’s Discovery Centre. I’ve made a giant Planet Earth from buff willow and papier mâché which the families can come and help me decorate with recycled materials.

What’s your pledge for Green Week?

To keep appliances off standby.

Have you been inspired by any of the pledges you’ve seen?

Yes! I was very impressed with the pledges made! The willingness the public showed in wanting to try and make a difference and seeing all the pledges on the Pledge Tree was extremely motivational. A huge difference can be made from making just one pledge, some of the families made more than one, which was lovely to see.

We know that your work also focuses on wellbeing. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Yes, I offer workshops in storytelling and well-being with a focus on mindfulness and positive mental health for children. I’m extremely passionate about mindfulness and the benefits it has on your wellbeing.

I have a storytelling show called ‘Rainbow-LICIOUS’. I first performed it at Basingstoke Festival 2022. It’s a 30-minute show, supporting well-being and recycling. I tell the story of Beverly Butterfly (one of my recycled toys) and how she becomes Rainbow-LICIOUS through mindfulness. You get to meet lots of my recycled friends throughout and the show will to inspire you to make toys from recycled materials and bring them to life with your imagination. It includes singsongs, rhymes and all the colours of the rainbow.

You can follow Junk Jodie on her Facebook page and view her videos on YouTube.  

September 2022

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