thread 2018: q&a with Jessica Smith

thread 2018: q&a with Jessica Smith

thread 2018 artwork revealed!


We are delighted to be working with illustrator Jessica Smith on the artwork for this year’s thread…..a festival of textiles. We caught up with her to find out a bit more about her artistic journey, her work and the inspiration behind her images.

Could you tell us more about you?  Jess Smith 740x370

I’m Jess a freelance illustrator from just outside Oxford. I studied Illustration at Falmouth University and graduated in 2016. I now spend my time between working in a café near my hometown, being an illustrator and running my own modern calligraphy workshops.

Could you describe yourself in 5 words?

Ambitious, decisive, reliable, organised, and most importantly…. dog-lover

You graduated from Falmouth University in 2016 and have already exhibited twice in London, could you tell us more about your degree and your experience as an exhibitor?

My degree was the best decision I’ve ever made, I went into it not knowing what I wanted to do or my goal after graduating. It pushed me out of my comfort zone so many times and made me way more confident within my work and myself. We were always shown new ways of working and encouraged to try new projects and areas of Illustration through out my degree.js resized

Have you always wanted to be an illustrator?

No not always, when I was little I wanted to be a vet, I’ve always loved animals and that has never changed but I was never quite cut out for the academic side of that career choice and certainly didn’t have the brains either! I decided Illustration was for me during my Art Foundation Course at Abingdon and Witney College, and haven’t regretted my decision since then!

Which techniques do you use to realise your illustration?

I often try and sketch my ideas out before I paint, but in reality I sometimes just start painting, scan the bits I’ve painted in and then arrange them on Photoshop so I can easily see lots of different compositions and scales.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Plants and people are my main source of inspiration.

How much time of your day is spent working creatively?

I have 4 days off a week from my part-time job and spend the majority of these days painting and drawing! I find it so relaxing so being able to do something I love so much for my job is honestly a dream come true and something I never saw myself being able to do!

What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

I just love making people smile with the images I create. And working from home is pretty good too!

You are only at the beginning of your career so what are your aspirations for the future as an artist? Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I would love to own my own shop/studio/workshop one day where I can sell my work and other peoples and teach workshops!

What is your favourite thing in the world to illustrate?IMG_1368_1

Plants. Hands down.

What is the best advice that someone has given you?

Someone once told me the most important thing is to make things for your self every now and again. Working on commissions is great and so challenging but I think it’s really important to work on personal projects when you get the time.

If you had one to give to emerging artists, which one would it be?

Have confidence in your own work, you’re often better than you think you are!

To find more about Jessica’s work, visit her website here.


thread 2018…a festival of textiles is on Sat 30 June l 9am-6pm. The day tickets are on sale now here!

Further details on the talk, exhibition, participation sessions and the workshop programme will be added here in the forthcoming weeks. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Twitter @maltingscraft and Facebook to keep up to date with news on the festival as it is announced.

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