Jackie Roberts, Metal Artist

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Jackie Roberts was born in the UK in 1962. She has lived on Gozo since 2001 and pursues her passion for metal full-time out of her garage workshop and studio at home in Xewkija. Jackie undertakes commissions and exhibitions; shows her work in galleries and bars; and teaches artistic metalwork to private students.

How did you get started?
After doing lots of different and interesting professional jobs I learned welding and artistic metalwork with a group of women called the ‘Arcangels’ at FE college in Edinburgh when I was in my late 30’s. It is never too late to change direction in life.

What genre do you consider your work to be?
I design and make contemporary sculpture in metal which crosses the boundaries between art and craft. I often incorporate recycled metal, scrap and found materials into my work. I use power and hand tools to cut, weld, texture, mark and shape mild and stainless steel, copper and brass; creating colour using a patination technique of controlled burning to bring out the natural hues and tones within the metal.

Describe your work in less than 10 words.
Fanciful and funky; sometimes functional. Always unique and original.

Where was your first exhibition held?
First solo exhibition ‘Go Fish’ at Art…e Gallery in Victoria, Gozo in 2007

How long have you been painting?
I’ve been ‘bashing’ metal and making art from it for the last 18 years

Which is your favourite from among your own artworks?
I have no real favourite but have picked out a few of my wearable pieces for myself. I am delighted when a favourite customer buys a piece of work I am really proud of.

Whose artist’s work are you most inspired by?
Modernist sculpture and painting inspires me. I love Alexander Calder’s metal sculpture, and textile designers from the 50’s and 60’s. Nature and landscape are my main source of inspiration.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I can’t imagine it nowadays but if I wasn’t making art myself I would probably be promoting and representing other makers; or writing a novel.

What is the epitome of happiness for you?
That moment when the inspiration, the materials and the skills all come together in a finished piece of work you are really happy with. Just making things I like.

What are you working on at the moment?
Always have a few commissions on the go but am working on large nature/landscape inspired sculptural pieces for two exhibitions next year ‘The Nature of Metal’ in Gozo and Valletta.

Are you a morning person or do you come alive at night?
It takes me a bit of time to get going in the morning and get into the workshop. I am easily distracted! I try to work from around 9am to 3pm when the natural light is good. I don’t work at night. Night is for relaxing or going out to play!

How many coffees a day? Don’t embellish.
Don’t really drink coffee; maybe one cappuccino per week. Lots of tea.

Sundays can be very productive for some and very unproductive for others. How do you spend yours?
I don’t spend Sundays in the workshop. It is either a lazy day at home or socialising, or catching up with housework. Usually started off with a long walk with the dog.

Wine and cheese. Yes or no?
Yes! Unfortunately wine doesn’t always like me and I’m supposed to be giving up cheese so I’d go for home-brewed beer and home-roasted spicy nuts.

If you were given a million euros, what would you indulge yourself with?
Travel; seeing my family and needy friends alright; a fabulous pair of very expensive black leather boots and a leather biker jacket. Donate some to a cause close to my heart.

Favourite place to holiday?
New Zealand

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Paula Fleri-Soler

Paula has a pedigree in TV and stage production (children's and family entertainment) and a passion for the arts. She's taken the reins on The Artists' Directory - Malta and the relevant content for the site.

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