I don’t tend to watch daytime television because of work but one day whilst sick at home, I turned on the television and came across Repair Shop. It is a show about craftsmen who pool their talents together to restore heirlooms such as music boxes, vases and clocks to prove that anything can be restored to their former glory. There’s a trend to upcycle, which is the process of transforming waste materials and unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality. Let’s hope this trend continues as humans get rid of a lot of waste which ends up on land fills costing the economy and the environment. The way these people are able to sculpt, saw, iron out products into something completely different is not just a craft but an art form. Jay Blades is one of these people and he offered us a glimpse into his life.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jay Blades I'm 48 years old, originally from Hackney and now I live in Wolverhampton. I used to work on a building site for years then became a community worker, in particular working with young people involved in crime, which led to my charity which aimed to give youngsters practical skills. “It was a way of showing them a way to make a living, restoring a piece of old furniture and selling it for maybe £150, rather than dealing drugs or stealing.
2. How did you get into the furniture business?
It’s a long winded answer but the easiest way to put it is that I ran a charity for years and I needed to keep working with the young people and not become reliant on government funding. Setting up a charity that taught young people, how to restore and revamp old furniture allowed me to create my own revenue to continue working with them.
3. What was the first piece of furniture you ever made?
A lovely pair of chairs (photo below)
4. Is there a furniture maker whose work you admire?
There are too many:
5. Where have you travelled that has inspired your work?
My work is inspired by everything I see daily.
6. What's next on your destination list?
To support and show young people, from my neck of the woods, you can do something different.
7. Do you have a quote that you live by?
Walk like you have somewhere to go. Always have a clear destination of where you are heading, even if it's just brushing your teeth. It helps a lot.
8. What advice would you give someone if they're thinking of leaving their 9-5 to pursue a career in furniture or television?
All of us are different. I would say don't do it. You should start a business on the side of your job and see if it makes enough money first. The internet and TV makes things seem really easy but the reality is, it’s not. You have to work hard.
9. What do you like to eat for brunch?
Watermelon for breakfast, sushi for lunch and salmon for dinner.
10. Is there anything else you'd like us to know about yourself?
I’m working on loads of things, mainly private commissions. The most recent project I've done is supplying furniture for the O2 arena in London. You can buy my furniture from my website www.jayand.co and http://bit.ly/JnCoGuardian