Introducing Jan Cadman, Collage Queen and Chair of the Essex Craft Guild 
I grew up in a very creative family - mum was a dressmaker and grade 8 pianist; I learned knitting, crochet and embroidery from grandmothers; painting, gardening and how to wallpaper and redecorate a room from my dad; had piano lessons and could make my own clothes by age 14. My creativity has always been essential to my well-being - dressmaking, knitting, embroidery, drawing, painting, playing piano, and I am also a published poet. I have never seen myself as an academic but found great satisfaction in achieving an MA in Health and the Arts. 
I originally started to make collages in box frames, often as memory collages, using fabric, lace, ribbons, beads, and memorabilia. I then moved onto using canvases as a base so I could use paints for my designs and backgrounds. I now make imaginative and playful mixed media collages each one being unique, my own original design, and is handmade by me. My inspiration comes from shape, form, colour, textures and my sense of fun and creativity. 
I first heard about the Essex Craft Guild when myself and a group of friends attended glass fusing workshops taught by a Guild member who eventually suggested that I apply for membership. At the time, although I was being encouraged by people to sell my collage work, I hadn’t had the courage to try. Being accepted for Guild membership had a huge impact on my confidence and I started by exhibiting at some Guild events. 
I went on developing my glass fusing skills and applied to the Guild for a second craft and am now recognised for Mixed Media and Glass Collage. I make fused glass pictures, panels, waves, curves, plates, dishes and other unique glass collage art. I am good with colour and design so was thrilled to find another medium to engage my passion for play and creativity as I allow the rich colours and textures of glass to inspire me. 
When I am selling at events my greatest joy is when my work makes people smile. Favourite comments from customers include: “I do love a bit of whimsey”, and “This must be the magic table”. A lot of people comment that my work is different, something new, having not seen anything like it before. Actually, the origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years and collage holds a permanent place in the major arts media together with drawing, painting, printing and sculptures. 
My strengths lie in the area of creativity, intuition, emotions, the Arts, spirituality, colour and imagination. I enjoy exploring different media and as an intuitive artist have developed my own style of craftsmanship. I see Collage as the art of placing one thing against another, making sense and order, like composing a piece of music; collage has shape, form, design, structure, pattern, colour, symmetry and harmony. Collage making feeds my soul and being creative is essential for my well-being - my life without it would be like trying to fly with only one wing. 
I have been a Guild member for 10 years now and really appreciate being part of a community of crafters. I have found support, encouragement, friendship, guidance and a sense of belonging among other gifted creatives who are passionate about their work, whether it be a business or a hobby. 
Jan Cadman 
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