FEATURED MAKER: Jill Bliss

FEATURED MAKER: Jill Bliss #artist #interview
I’m super excited to have Jill Bliss as our Featured Maker today! I first met Jill when I moved home to Portland in 2009 and signed up for one of her drawing classes. Her work is amazingly detailed and I love her lush nature-inspired works. I’ve been in awe of her off-the-grid lifestyle and love following her on all her adventures on Instagram. Be sure to check out her website too!

FEATURED MAKER: Jill Bliss #artist #interview

Jill Bliss – west coast migrant

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

I’ve been a professional nature-based artist and designer since 2000, and a teacher of the same for almost half that time. I spent my seminal childhood years on a farm in northern California, while my adult life took place in the big cities of New York, San Francisco & Portland OR, until two years ago when I sold most everything to travel and reconnect with the slower natural pace and living things I knew & adored as a child. I’ve been living, working, traveling & exploring amongst the Salish Sea islands of Canada & Washington State ever since.

What do you make and sell?

Mostly notecards and posters featuring my artwork, but I’m working towards creating storybooks again. I self-published two books back when I graduated from college, but then geeked out on stationery goods for the past decade or so.

What made you decide to take the leap and start your own creative business?

I didn’t make a specific decision to begin a business, my life-long hobby of making things just evolved into what I do to pay the bills. Some years it pays the bills more than others.

Jill’s tent studio.

What does your workspace/studio look like?

In the past two years I’ve moved among various short-term rentals and house sitting jobs. As long as I have a table next to a large window for lots of natural light I’m happy!

Jill's cabin studio overlooking the forest.

Jill’s cabin studio overlooking the forest.

Is your business your full time job? Or do you have a day job?

I have assorted part-time jobs also! Living in a small island community there’s always varied work available. In the past year I’ve helped organize the island historical files, cleaned & organized cabins, housesitting, care taking, etc. Lately I’ve become the island signage making person. I’ve also recently become a certified Salish Sea naturalist, so next summer I’ll be working on tourist boats and/or in the parks on one of the larger islands out here, which is perfect complimentary work to my artwork made in the off-season.

Jill's water studio! Sooo jealous...

Jill’s water studio! Sooo jealous…

How long have you been making art? Where did you first learn about it?

I’ve been making and drawing things since I can remember. Drawing is my primary way of experiencing the world, it helps me understand how things are put together and how they interrelate.

Where do you find inspiration?

As cliched as it sounds – everywhere! When I was working on my Marmot Anima piece, there was a blank-feeling little spot and I was sitting at my art desk looking out the window, wondering what I could put there. An eagle flew by. Bingo!

Wild fox

Visit’s Jill’s website and follow her on Instagram!

Thank you so much Jill for sharing your story with us! Want to be our next Featured Maker?
Visit our Contribute Page for more info!

Comments

  1. says

    The Salish Sea! I want to visit so badly. It must be such an inspiring place to live, especially when you draw so much of your inspiration from nature.

    I love your work, Jill. My husband is a big octopus fan, so I bought him one of your gorgeous octopus prints from a Portland store a few years back. It hangs proudly in his office. I was also very much in love with your daily planner (which reminds me, I need to buy a new one!).

    • jill says

      Thanks so much Lindsay! The planners are out of print now, but maybe there’s a few left on buyolympia.com/jillbliss