Tue | Dec 10, 2019

Tracy Jackson Blake: recycled masterpieces

Published:Sunday | May 26, 2019 | 12:09 AMRocheda Bartley - Gleaner Writer
Celebrate life with this amazing quilt that Jackson Blake calls Beach Life.
Here’s a necessity for cocktails in the garden with your friends.
The Canadian native has surrendered wholeheartedly to her ingenuity, creating unique pieces, especially for children.
The craftswoman is famous for her earthly themed drawstring bags.
Tracy Jackson Blake is fuelled by art.
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Tracy Jackson Blake is a clever, creative woman who is ingeniously making masterpieces from recycled fabrics. An educator by profession, the Canadian has surrendered wholeheartedly to her ingenuity, allowing it to take control as she produces intimate and admirable pieces for your satisfaction.

‘Because it is For You’ is the title of her one-year-old enterprising venture, and one you need to develop an amicable relationship with. Initially, it served as a recreational activity, filling a void that expanded each time she failed to find a perfect gift or art form that pleased her. Over time, Jackson Blake was coaxed by her family and friends to establish herself as an entrepreneur. They saw greatness within her and knew it should be shared. Now her quilts and bags are the talk of the town.

“Although my training is in early-childhood education and I love working with children, I’m energised by the arts. I’ve always loved art and I have an irresistible creative urge. My products developed when my children were young and I couldn’t find what I needed in the stores. That’s when I realised that I was making a lot of the things that I needed,” Jackson Blake vehemently explained to Outlook.

Her audience includes both adults and children.

QUILTING

Her pieces are handmade. Quilts are popular in her home country. She admired the Mennonites, a group in Canada that makes quilts as a cultural tradition. But as an Anglican, and like others in her homeland, Jackson Blake does not share the same culture. As such, she had not thought of learning the craft until arriving in Jamaica 15 years ago. Unemployed at the time, yearning to find her way in a new country and wanting to give back, she joined the Canadian Women’s Club and other groups that helped her to discover her strengths. That’s when she learnt to sew, along with mastering a number of other artistic forms.

“When people sit and quilt, they have time to talk, de-stress and negotiate what they want to do next. So it’s a like a Zen zone (relaxation opportunity) for me.”

She continued: “My pieces are all one of a kind. Since I’ve been here, I’ve observed that everybody is interconnected. And I have found that people are more attracted to things that are individualised, rather than mass production. I make everything unique, this is my niche.”

She acknowledges Jamaica as one of the “coolest places in the world”, and so Jackson Blake has grown into a big supporter of Brand Jamaica. The clever go-getter also finds it fitting to incorporate the Jamaican flag in a number of her products. This, she says, is intended to remind you of what you need to cherish.

She asserts that the quilts are power pieces that will help you cope. Each beautiful design has a meaning, so be sure to get the insights. Her bags are just as beautiful and are testament of her talent. Whether you like totes or handy drawstrings, there is a bag under the Because it is For You line that’s waiting for you.

INTIMATE WITH HER PIECES

Intimacy plays a significant role in the development of Jackson Blake’s pieces. She is determined to save planet earth, so being resourceful in selecting the materials she uses is a major aspect of the design process she executes. For instance, it could be a shirt her husband no longer wears, or jeans pants that her children have outgrown. She works with anything that is available. And at the end of the process, she has gorgeous pieces that will absolutely resonate with your soul.

Jackson Blake even says she has formed a bond with a number of the items she makes, and admits that at times, even after they are sold at “incredibly affordable prices”, she visits the creations.

“It’s to see the life they have developed after they leave my home. A lot of thought went into each of them. And a lot of myself goes into them. The fact that they are made from swatches of fabrics means that I can tell you where each come from,” she explained.

For more information, contact Tracy Jackson Blake at 876-877-5730, or visit her on Instagram @becauseitisforyou.

rocheda.bartley@gleanerjm.com