Tell us about your work?
I’ve 2 main passions – screen printing and collecting vintage fabrics from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I screen print my illustrations onto paper to sell as prints but also screen print onto fabric to make quirky toys and cushions.
What’s your favourite piece of work?
I particularly love my screen print ‘Bird on the cat’s back’ and my screen printed ‘Tilda’ rag doll.
When did it all begin for you?
I suppose it began around 5 years ago when I did a screen printing course in Brighton. I’d screen printed at school but hadn’t done it since then and instead of pursuing any further direction in art, I went to music college (RNCM) for 5 years instead to study the violin and piano. It was almost 20 years later when I gave up a music teaching career to try to see if I could make it as a self employed artist / illustrator / screen printer. I was also becoming tired of lesson planning all the time, was ready for a change and also wanted to have a child, so therefore carve out a new career that I could do from home around a child.
Tell us about your work space?
We’re lucky in that we live in a very tall, spacious house so have lots of room to suit all our needs. We’ve converted our small utility room into a screen printing room. (not big enough to swing a cat but can work if only one person is in there!) We expose all our own screens and print in there. I also have my own study / studio to design in and a separate room which holds a large sewing machine and overlocker. I spend most of my time in my study which is a bright, light room full of shelves of colourful fabrics and pictures on the walls, not to mention a stock of all my handmade toys.
How do you keep your work unique?
I try not to see what others are doing – this way, I’m not influenced. I think it’s helped not having had any training – I just do what I like and have no concept of wether it’s any good or not!
Describe your day as a maker. Are you organised/disciplined?
Yes, well, chaotically organized! I’d be a workaholic given the chance. I always try to meet all my deadlines and if I’m given a commission, I go for it non stop until I get it right. I use all the available time I have (when I’m not with my daughter) to work. I love what I do and am very driven. I wouldn’t do any of it if this wasn’t the case.
What three tools could you not live without?
Ink pen, squeegie (for screen printing) and my large scissors!
What gets the creative juices flowing when creativity is stifled?
A change of scene – visiting a cafe with a note book and a large piece of cake!
How do you know when a piece is done?
That’s a difficult question! I often look at it in the mirror and see if it works. Also, if I make the design smaller on my computer by 50% and it still looks good, somehow that helps!
What do you love most about being a maker?
I love the fact that in the space of a day I can do a drawing, get the image onto a screen and screen print it in the evening! It’s such a wonderful process and liberating to be able to do all this from home.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
Selling more of my designs to companies to use on fabric, mugs, trays, perhaps even wallpaper! I imagine doing less sewing and making toys and concentrating on doing more designing. Would also love to do a book.
What would you say to any makers starting out?
If you can imagine doing what you love 12 hours a day for years without getting bored then it’s for you! The motivation is mostly because you love what you do, believe in yourself and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Getting rejections is a large part of starting out and is almost necessary.
You can see all of Jane’s makes in her Folksy shop Jane Foster.