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!

FEATURED MAKER: Katie Smith of Punk Projects

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview
We are excited to have Katie Smith of Punk Projects talking with us today in our new series, Featured Maker! Katie is a talented artist and crafter. In addition to running her blog, Punk Projects, she also makes and sells awesome hand-painted shoes, mixed-media bookmarks, and custom painted tote bags. Be sure to check out her Etsy shop too!

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

I’m Katie, I’m from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas. I’m an artist, a DIYer, and canvas shoe designer. I’m also a cyclist, gardener, nerd, and tea lover.

I started my blog, Punk Projects, in 2009 to share my art but now it’s become so much more. It is where I write about all of my projects. Every Monday, I post “Make it Monday” on my blog, where I share tutorials written by other DIY bloggers. The rest of the week I post anything from a DIY tutorial to photos of my most recent scrapbook layout or journal page.

What do you make and sell?

I create custom canvas shoes and sell them in my etsy shop. My most popular shoe design is definitely my Minion shoes. I made a pair for myself and everyone asks me if I sell them, so now I do! I’ve also started selling both custom canvas tote bags and mixed media bookmarks in my shop as well.

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview

Hand-Painted Shoes by Katie

Where do you look for inspiration?

Everywhere! Pinterest, blogs, stores, magazines, etc. Some of my favorite blogs to read for inspiration are:
A Beautiful Mess, Balzer Designs, and The Crafted Life.

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview

DIY Card Table & Chair Set made by Katie

What does your workspace/studio look like?

Currently I don’t have a separate room for my studio. We have a pretty big living room so we have a bookcase splitting it up almost into 2 rooms and half of that is our studio.

What are some of your favorite tools or techniques?

My favorite tool is probably my Crop-A-Dile punch. It comes in so handy!

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview

Mixed Media Bookmarks made by Katie.

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

My business is my day job. It’s a dream come true. I’m lucky to have amazing parents who let me live at home while I work on building my blog and my business.

What does a day in the life of Katie look like?

I get up about 6 am every morning and the first thing I do is make a cup of tea! I check my email and facebook then I usually go for a bike ride and then come back and do some computer work/blogging. After lunch I get to crafting, working on design team projects and blog projects. While I eat dinner I usually put on a Star Trek episode and play facebook games.

Do you have any favorite books or resources you’d be willing to share with someone interested in learning how to sell their work?

I have recently gotten a copy of Mollie Makes: Making It! book, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in selling their handmade goods.

Featured Maker: Katie Smith of Punk Projects #artist #crafter #interview

Fantastic DIY Flamingo Decor made by Katie

Visit Katie’s blog and Etsy shop.

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

FEATURED MAKER: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview
We are excited to announce a new series on Adventures In Making called Featured Maker! We ask an artist/crafter/maker some questions so that we can get to know them better. I’m so happy to have Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy (formerly Peace Owl Forest) talking with us today. I’ve been a huge fan of her work for years. Her art is oozing with hippie flowers, free spirited surfers, and happy thoughts.

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

My name is Rachel from sunny south Florida, a big lover of the sea and flower power. I have been painting and doing art shows since 2009. I formerly was called Peace Owl Forest but recently have changed to Surfy Birdy. My art represents a love for the sea and the freedom it makes you feel.

What do you make and sell?

Paintings done on scrap wood or cardboard, prints, tote bags, baby tees, adult tanks, ceramic things, and more. Lately I have been painting a lot of surf art, longboard surfers, lady sliding, hanging 10, and dream homes like a treehouse, A-frame home, VW van, or tent with some fun waves out back. I also do inspirational quote art and other art that hopes to brighten your day.

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview

How did you get started and when did you launch your business?

I started back in 2009 when I saw a chance to paint live at a local music festival. I had been painting and decorating my walls and for friends and family and decided to try painting at this festival with my Peace Owl character and from there I was hooked. I started my etsy shop right after and have done many different craft shows, art shows and little music festivals in Florida.

Do you have any philosophies or ideals you try to represent with your work?

I just want to make people smile to feel warm and to inspire adventure.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I get my inspiration from the sea and road trips and adventures and daydreams.

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview

What does your workspace/studio look like?

I live in a little cottage that feels like a treehouse. It is small with a wood ceiling and marble floor. It has the feeling of living in a camper and it is just perfect for me and my pup Shelly dingo. I craft next to where I sleep and I eat next to where I craft. I like to live simply and have the option the pack up and go if adventure calls.

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview

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

Right now I just do my art on the side. I work at an office with my family. I dream about one day creating full time or even part time but for now it is a balance of work, sea time, and craft time.

Featured Maker: Rachel DeJohn of Surfy Birdy #surfybirdy #artist #interview

Visit her Etsy Shop and follow her on Facebook and Instagram!

Photos by: Ryan Pinder Photography

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