Denise Jaques

Denise Jaques

Medium: Mosaic Art

Find out what winning Surrey Artist of the Year in 2016 meant to Denise.

What are you working on at the moment and where do you find ideas for your work?

I usually have several projects that I am working on at once. I am currently working on a body of work using found and natural materials with the working title of ‘Shimmer and Slate’. I am also working on a community project and several private commissions including some decorative garden panels, a large Art Shard sculpture, a Cornish landscape as well as some smaller swaying mosaics.

What medium do you use in your practice and why?

I work with mixed media mosaic. I love working with colour and especially texture. Working with a mix of materials allows me to create contrasts of texture whilst nurturing my experimental approach to push the boundaries of material.

What motivates you to make work, who do you believe has influenced your career and inspired you to start?

I have an indescribable urge to experiment and explore ideas which push the boundaries of the materials. I’m always thinking (often dreaming) and problem solving how to push in a new direction. I love the experimental journey, often less concerned about the destination.

If you could name one, what is your favourite piece of work you have created, and why?

My favourite piece of work is the one I am dreaming of making next. I recently created a piece called ‘Rusted Porthole’ which is a large circular, sculptural wall panel full of organic, flowing distorted reflections mixed with found and natural materials such as reclaimed roof slate and found terracotta pieces. The new piece will form part of the same body of work….I’m a little bit in love with the new work.

If you can name one, what is your proudest achievement?

Receiving the award of Surrey Artist of the Year in 2016 definitely touched my heart. Voted for by the public and the New Ashgate Gallery it meant so much to me and I still pinch myself now. Winning this award came at crucial time in my career. I had taken several years off from exhibiting to raise our family, and we relocated our little family from Essex to Farnham. 2016 was the first year that I opened my studio to the public and showed any new work. I was nervous, lacking some confidence and was just dipping my toe into the creative scene of Farnham. I am really proud of this moment as it helped me gain the confidence I needed to put myself back out there.

What is the most indispensable item or tool in your studio?

Leponitt double wheel mosaic cutter. I have lots of essential tools and equipment, but I use this tool every day.

Where is your favourite place to see art / craft?

Exhibitions, galleries and amazing landscaped gardens, especially for sculpture. There is no substitute for being stood next to art and craft. I am a tactile person, so being able to touch the surfaces is really important.

Why Farnham as a place to practice your art / craft? What is it about being part of a town that is special?

Farnham has become a very special place to me. I feel that I was meant to live here. When we had the opportunity to relocate to the area we looked at lots of towns and villages nearby. But Farnham was my favourite. I could feel the craft oozing out of the cracks in the streets and knew this was the place for me. The town has so much potential and I hope to be part of the future of contemporary crafts that make Farnham such a unique little town.

Can you share a craft ‘secret’ or your favourite hidden craft thing / space / memory?

Not really a secret, but the best advice to other makers who may be starting their creative journey…..

‘Find a niche, and fill it’. Don’t copy, come up with something totally new that you haven’t seen before. Move forward, create new work that is unique to only you, push the boundaries of your craft. Then do it really well and develop your craft to an outstanding level of craftsmanship.

Being part of a community of makers is…

Being an independent maker can be quite isolating, but with so many artists, makers and designers living and working in the area that being part of the creative community in Farnham can be supportive and help nurture collaborations and opportunities.