JoJo Wood is the director and founder of Pathcarvers, a social enterprise based in Birmingham, UK. JoJo is a skilled and highly regarded craftsperson, having worked with wood all her life. She also spends a lot of time teaching, giving talks and spreading the beneficial aspects of craft and how it can help in every area of your life.
Why did you decide to start Pathcarvers?
Pathcarvers came about because I could see how craft can help so much with ones mental health. The act of creating and making can do so much for your well being. It had been extremely beneficial to me, and I wanted to give other people the opportunity to experience this themselves. The project grew from there.
What made you choose Birmingham?
In some ways, Birmingham chose Pathcarvers. As a city, it is one of the most interesting in the country, and I love being here. There is a lot of creativity, and it is a very exciting place to be.
What is Pathcarvers purposes?
To make the beneficial aspects of craft to your health more available to people who would not usually have access to it, whether that be educational, financial or whatever. To apply this as a way for helping with your mental health, and also how this can help with your physical health too. We do this by opening up access to areas of the community who would not usually see craft as a way to help with their well being. We have subsidised courses for people with early onset Parkinsons, have had courses attended by people with autism, depression, anxiety, a whole range of people who have come to us and used craft in this way.
There seems to be more focus on mental health recently, and that is a good thing. We are happy to be creating an environment where people are able to talk about their mental health, and it is great that larger organisations are now taking these things seriously too.
We also see how craft can be used to create an environment where people can excel at being them. We have been involved with creating projects for refugees, projects around knife crime and projects for young people.
We also see Pathcarvers as a potential launchpad for people who can see craft as an occupation. I have made a successful career with craft and Pathcarvers offers support to people who would like to pursue that themselves, from marketing help, to providing a platform to sell.
Pathcarvers is now over a year old (October 2018) ..what is next for Pathcarvers?
To consolidate our efforts here in Birmingham, with more courses in different areas of craft. We are also looking at opening workshops in other areas of the country, which we are in the early stages of already. I do feel, and have seen, that Pathcarvers is making a difference already, and I just want to continue this work.