Cass Furniture and Product Design graduate crowdfunds to support creative classes for vulnerable adults with their Haus Of business.
Date: 28 May 2019
A socially engaged start-up business run by Cass alumna Elise Harrison with potter Rachel Godin has launched a crowdfunding campaign. HAUS OF is a furniture and pottery workshop offering classes to vulnerable adults such as people living with homelessness or mental illness, as well as the general public.
Elise, a graduate of our Furniture and Product Design BA (Hons), met Rachel Godin in 2018. Rachel has previously worked in the charity sector and has been an enthused potter since her dad showed her the ropes at a young age. Realising that they shared similar ideas about the potential of creative healing and art therapies the pair came up with the idea of HAUS OF and in January 2019 they started to turn this idea into a reality.
HAUS OF is particularly important to Elise and Rachel because they have both suffered from mental illnesses and addiction – they found solace in their creative practices and want to pay it forward by offering pottery and furniture upcycling classes to vulnerable adults, giving them confidence and new skills as well as a healthy fix.
Elise did a test run of her furniture upcycling class with a group of friends that have ADHD and depression and describes the feedback as amazing. “The class was supposed to last for three hours but ended up running over by two hours because no one wanted to leave! They were all having such a great time, chatting and creating in a safe space away from alcohol. Everyone was given a dining room chair to clean, sand, paint and reupholster. They all got stuck in and the results were fabulous. One student said, 'This has been the best Sunday I have had for a long time. I spend five days a week sat down staring at a computer screen and today has made me realise how important it is getting creative and using your hands!'”
HAUS OF recently won an award at the Big Idea Challenge Competition 2019, a London Metropolitan University programme helping entrepreneurs realise their business idea potential. Talking about her time at the University, Elise added: “It was thanks to the great creative faculty at The Cass that gave me the tools and knowledge to turn my passion for design into a reality.”
Elise and Rachel have found a workshop in east London, which will be the base for HAUS OF and have until 1 July to raise funds to pay for their deposit, rent, tools and equipment. You can help make the project become a reality – in exchange for beautiful work by the two designers – by supporting the HAUS OF indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
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