Jay Blades chats about his new year goals

Our columnist welcomes the opportunity a new year brings for fresh inspiration

Jay Blades tv personality restorer furniture designer

For many of us, the start of the new year tends to mean setting resolutions. While I don’t usually make resolutions, I do have a few goals for 2020. I’d like to learn at least three new skills before the year is out. There are a number of things that I’m interested in trying – glassblowing being one of them.

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I would also like to take up crochet or knitting – mainly because I’d like to make myself a scarf, and I’ve seen some little knitted animals that I’d like to try my hand at. It’s all about finding the time to explore these new crafts though. I film six days a week, so I don’t have a lot of time off, but when I do, that’s what I want to learn. 

One thing I’m really looking forward to this coming year is changing location. I’m moving out of Wolverhampton to a place called Ironbridge, a town in Shropshire. Recently, I’ve wanted to feel part of a community, rather than be a standalone designer. The workshop I’m going to have there is also home to a group of other artisans. It’s a collective of craftspeople – candlemakers, upholsterers, people who paint furniture, and more. Surrounding myself with fellow creatives inspires me to create more. My studio space there is going to be massive, so it’ll allow me to have more interaction with people and be able to hold workshops, among other things. I’m debating starting a supper club, where people come together, have a chat and get creative. 

I’d like to feel part of a community. Surrounding myself with fellow creatives inspires me to create more.

This time of year is when a lot of people search for motivation to reach their goals. Personally, listening to music helps me to stay enthusiastic while I work. I go into the workshop, put on some tunes and that will be it – the creativity just flows. I take quite a childlike approach to motivation. If you ask a kid to be creative, they probably wouldn’t know what to do at first. But give them a crayon and they just start drawing. When they finish the paper, they turn it over and draw again. Then they’ll look for more. For me, that’s the perfect way to create. If you ever watch a child play, that’s exactly what I do. I just have fun with it.

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My advice to anyone looking for new year’s inspiration is to reflect on what they’ve done and then ask themselves how they can improve. Whether this be in regard to design, family or lifestyle. Anyone who buys antiques and upcycles is already doing good, but we could always do so much more. Ask yourself, ‘How can I do better?’