Eastbourne artist Maja Jones has overcome chronic illness and family struggles thanks to her love of creativity and the support of the mental health charity Holding Space.

The graphic designer and collage artist has decided to show her appreciation for the help she received from Holding Space by organising monthly Collage and Wine evenings for parents.

Maja is the latest artist to feature in the Beacon’s Instagram series, Creatives by the Coast.

“I’ve been going through a lot of health issues recently and have been recovering from a couple of operations in lockdown,” Maja explained. “Chronic illness can rob you of your creative identity and I was determined not to let this happen to me.”

Maja re-ignited her love of collage, which fuses together different materials/images to form a new piece of art. She found great support for her and her family at Eastbourne-based charity Holding Space and decided to re-pay the team through her creativity.

“I firmly believe that we are all creative and I am really passionate about spreading that message,” Maja continued. “We all need creativity, especially at the moment. My collage and wine evenings are a great way of connecting with parents who have experienced a rough time during the lockdowns.”

It was through attending parent meet-ups and shared experiences that Maja realised the importance of the human connection. “Many of us have become islands, dealing with a lot of issues on our own. I think it is so important to share our experiences and admit that we are sometimes not ok, we are not always fine,” she said.

Maja is originally from Montenegro, but has lived in the UK all her adult life. She has lived in London and Brighton, but Eastbourne is where she and her husband have put down their roots.

“I love being by the coast. There is something for everyone here,” she explained. “The variety of beaches, the chalky cliffs and the green hills of the South Downs, it’s all so mesmerising.”

And she has special praise for the Eastbourne art community. “Everyone is just so passionate about the town, but we need our voices to be listened to and the support of the townspeople,” she said.

To see Maja’s Instagram feature, go to https://www.instagram.com/p/CdG1pgZg2Id/