On the first day of BCTF when all of the newcomers in our section were saying their hello's Jessica came and introduced herself and said thanks for helping her out with Terms of Business/Sale or Return which she had emailed me about a few weeks prior. Small world eh? And it turns out she is also good friends with the lady who did the catering for my 40th birthday party and lives in Nottingham too!!
So we have kept in touch since the show and Jessica agreed to take part in my sketchbook peeks series. This is what she had to say....
''As a youngster I was regularly engaged in various craftsmanship and traditional skills, from watering plants to making cakes, to name but a few. After studying at Senior School, I went onto a Foundation course in Art and Design held in Nottingham. Here I thoroughly developed my artistic flair and the love of Silk-Screen Printing became apparent. I wanted to enhance these skills into a career and to be part of a course at a University that had room to explore, create and challenge the properties of art and design. The Graphic Arts and Design BA Hons degree at Leeds Metropolitan University supported this growth as a Designer Maker to where I now stand.
A course programme that touched many elements of art and design such as branding, packaging and web design meant that my skills were not limited but were adaptable to a wider audience. My signature style of fine line drawings and geometric shapes made by stencils became apparent whilst at University.
Transforming this illustrative design via Silk Screen Printing onto fine Cottons and Linens was established within my work and a process I love doing. Inspired by everyday objects, tools, things that we may bypass and ignore are motifs that are significantly involved within my designs. A theory that supports my business statement is Slow Design. This came about whilst writing my dissertation and it refers to the goals and approach of a designer, what is it they really want to achieve. For me it was a Social position. Living amongst a society that is wrapped up into this fast environment where everyone is rushing about, smothered by items such as furniture, clothing and food all made and sold at a disposable rate is what I wanted to tackle.
To be able to produce sustainable items, to make products that are functional yet decorative, to offer a collection that shall bring people together and to be part of the ‘Made in England’ tag are all-important. With the support of The Hive at NTU that I started last year I have been able to launch Jessica Hayes-Gill Printed Textiles.
How long have you been using sketchbooks?
Taking notes and sketches has been something I have done since I was a child. I still have my first jotter. This collection has somewhat developed and grown over time and I do enjoy having this catalogue of designs, retracing the history of my journey is interesting. I couldn’t live without a sketchbook.
How often do you sketch?
All of my design ideas are put down into my sketchbook. Whether they are to be immediately launched or to be cherished for another day, this is the place that I can record my visuals and inspiration. I try and document my designs as much as possible however I do wish that I did sit and draw more often, it is what I love and hope to do more of.
How do you feel about the prospect of starting a new sketchbook?
Oh the first page is always so hard. It reminds me of my first white clean page at school where first impressions to the teacher counted! In time it has become much easier to not be so precious and l am eager to get stuck in! I do try and stick to the same format and paper to stop that feeling of something “new/unfamiliar” happening.
When/where do you get your inspiration for your sketchbook pages?
During dinner at a friends house is a popular one. Their inherited tableware and ceramics that they have collected from past generations or gathered from a car boot, these unusual shapes, prints and designs inspire me. Walking to work, reading magazines, visiting galleries all to play a role too.
How would you describe your creative process?
I draw (and colour)
(something like that!)
Have your sketchbooks evolved over the years and if so, how?
I have tried a vast range of shapes and sizes. From spiral bound books to hard back. When at Uni I was taught how to make books so, I decided to make my own sketchbook. I thought it was a great idea for I was able to produce bespoke item using a combination of paper and card. I was wrong! The well-laboured books that I spent many hours on were useless for I was too scared to use them! This was when I first met the Muji sketchbook that rescued me!
What is your favourite medium to work with?
Whilst at uni I worked at Paperchase, here I found a pen that I fell in love with; a Staedtler fine 0.4 model. I stocked up and still am running on this stash! It is perfect, it has a fine nib that I can produce these detailed line drawings that I make, no other pen can make the marks this can! I would say a Pen and paper is my favourite medium, plain, simple and useful!
Do you have a favourite sketchbook?
I do have a thing with A4 Muji notebooks; they are perfect in terms of size and quality. Since the one in Nottingham closed down I have had to result in going elsewhere (I must stock up when I next visit Muji in London!)
If you had to pick one favourite page which would it be and why?
Designing the Household helpers tea Towel was exciting and fun. I was able to characterise kitchen utensils and make them into people that we were familiar with; a florist, a chef or a dancer. The results were endless and difficult to choose the final piece.