My QEST by Jay Blades

2nd February 2021
Jay Blades 1800 x 1600

QEST Ambassador & TV presenter Jay Blades tells us how he first heard of QEST and which scholars and apprentices have caught his eye.

How did you become involved with QEST?

I have a mentor called Peter Ting – I have admired him for a long time and I got to know him when he supported me with one of my charities. Peter introduced me to QEST last year and I was like ‘wow’ when I heard about the charity and the work it does. He asked me to join as an Ambassador, and I’m really happy to be able to support QEST’s work. One of my missions in life is to get more traditional crafts modern, and by that I mean get more people knowing that these fabulous crafts are out there and that they can do them.

In your opinion what’s the best thing about QEST?

There are a few best things and it’s hard to pick out one, but if I have to, it’s the ability to offer funding for training. Most people shy away from training due to the financial element, but it’s important to keep learning and this is where QEST can make a real difference to the lives of makers. When some of these skills are dying crafts it’s a no brainer that they need to be passed on.

Stoneware cups by Isatu Hyde

What recent work by a QEST Scholar or Apprentice has caught your eye?

I was really inspired by the work of the potter Isatu Hyde which I spotted recently on the QEST Instagram and I love the teaching aspect of her practice – I’d be keen to take a class with her one day. There are so many fabulous QEST Scholars and I really admire anyone who makes craft works – I’d love to be able to make things as well as they do.

And any that have captured your imagination?

Too many! I love the hat and the shoemakers, and I think the work by globe maker Jonathan Wright who got a scholarship last year is just fantastic. Without a shadow of a doubt, I love the wooden sculptural pieces by Philip Walker – they are to die for, and I’d love a basket from Annemarie O’Sullivan or one of Jason Mosseri‘s amazing chairs too…

Philip Walker with one of his wood sculptures
Elegant silverware by Megan Falconer

Whose apprentice would you like to be?

It would have to be silversmith Megan Falconer. All my life I’ve really admired people who craft works out of metal, and in particular silver. Megan’s work is beautiful.

Which QEST Scholar would you most like to commission?

I came across the work of tailor Alan Moore of Hunter Kingsley the other day – he makes fabulous suits that are crafted in a way my body is made for.

Contemporary tailoring by Alan Moore