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Interview: Sarah Louise Jay

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Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Sarah Louise Jay. I’m an artist, jewellery designer and the Arts and Health Officer for Blackpool Council. I make laser cut jewellery and textile installations and I am passionate about working with different community groups to promote the benefits of creativity to our wellbeing.

What is your background?

I grew up in Blackpool and left to do a degree in Fine Art in Cardiff. I started off by painting and moved away from this by using paper to create miniature installations. By the time I moved onto my MA at the Royal College of Art I was creating room sized textile installations. During my MA, I was always passionate about art as therapy and started the journey to becoming an art therapist after completing my MA. Seeing as I no longer could afford a studio, but still needed to be creative, I joined a jewellery making course with a friend and this led me to making this part of my practice.

I worked on acute physical, mental health wards and with art therapists to gain the experience to train as an art therapist. I was offered a place at Goldsmiths to study art therapy, but declined the offer to concentrate more on my creativity. My current roles offer me a balance between my passion for therapy and creativity.

Tell us about your work currently for sale at the Grundy Art Gallery.

My new Winter Gardens collection is inspired by the beautiful Winter Gardens building in Blackpool. The collection is made from laser cut walnut; the beautiful shapes are hand painted with an art deco seaside palette. I quill ribbon to create different shapes, which the delicate walnut pieces are sometimes layered onto. Each necklace is made in Britain and treated like a wearable piece of art. Beautiful, one-of-a-kind, handmade guinea fowl feathered brooches and head pieces are part of the new collection. Inspiration from Blackpool has always been hiding in my work somewhere, but it feels really nice to acknowledge this in my new collection. You can buy my new collection at www.sarahlouisejay.co.uk and follow all my inspirations there too.

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What memorable responses have you had about your work?

I had a lady buy the Rosa necklace and she commissioned me to make a braclet to go with it, she said it was a birthday present for her sister and that she might find it difficult to give to her sister as she loved it so much. I thought that was lovely because I always feel like that when I’m giving presents to my close friends!

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

My old tutor Terry Setch was an amazing inspiration. Whilst doing my degree in Fine Art at Cardiff, he encouraged me to always keep sketch books, which made me feel free to experiment without worrying about ‘final pieces’

Professionally, what are you goals?

I’d like to exhibit at Electrum Gallery in London, sell my jewellery at Anthropologie, Dover Street Market and Shop @ Bluebird to name but a few. I want to expand my range of products and just keep making and being inspired.

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I’ve just found out I’m going to be exhibiting at Yorkshire Sculpture Park  as part of their ‘MADE applied arts showcases’ in June.

Sarah Louise Jay’s latest collection is currently available from the Grundy Art Gallery, Queen Street Blackpool, FY1 1PX. Prices range from £15-70.  You can also purchase her pieces from her website.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
  • Show Comments (2)

  • Claire Griffiths

    I would love to photograph this – its amazing stuff. Get in touch with me x

  • Sarah

    That would be amazing! thanks so much. You can contact me on [email protected] x

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