Meet the Maker - Jess Quinn

Monday, July 14, 2014
We at Made in Bristol HQ are huge fans of colour and quirky design, and it probably comes to no surprise we are HUGE fans of local artist Jess Quinn.  Jess's work has appeared many times in our Paper Scissors Stone shop and last year she was also featured in the Telegraph - yep she's that famous! 
We are are absolutely delighted to have Jess's incredible and varied collection back once again, in fact this year she has her very own 'little Kingdom'! We caught up with Jess to find out more...
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
Hi, I am Jess Quinn an Artist and maker based in the vibrant Montpelier area of Bristol. I have a first class degree in Fine art painting from Glasgow School of Art so all my work starts with drawing, I have piles of sketches everywhere!
I learnt to knit and sew as a child and grew up in a household of makers, My mum was a knitwear and clothes designer, my dad taught furniture design. My creative process involves different mediums, when I want to realise a character in 3D I use textiles of which I have a huge collection ranging from the 1930s to the present day, this gives me an amazing pallet of inspiration.
Apart from creating things what else do you do? 
I love movies and with three children of various ages we enjoy a wide range of viewing, my son and I recently enjoyed seven psychopaths, the girls and I have watched Coraline, Night before Christmas and the Corpse Bride more times than I can remember, we have a StudioGhibli collection for rainy afternoons, we also like pillow talk with Doris Day and House boat with Sophia Loren and Cary Grant, and the cup song from Pitch perfect is practised daily in our house at the moment.
When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
In my first year at primary school I pinned myself under my painting easel and refused to come out, the teacher wanted me to stop painting and join the maths lesson!! I remember a lot of crying and screaming then sitting outside the headmasters office with my parents, I was five years old but I knew I wanted to paint.
 What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline? 
All the usual perks apply, I work from home, as a parent this is essential for me, I have complete creative freedom, I am my own boss, it is incredibly hard work but the constant challenges keep me very driven to always do better. I love that a creative life is open ended, it can take you absolutely anywhere, you set your own goals, you make it happen and life is not necessarily mapped out in an age or gender related set of expectations.
Where does your inspiration come from? 
I love vintage cartoons and toy design, I love contradictions and mix quality fabrics like linen and silk that evoke certain feelings with kitsch imagery inspired by 1950s and 60s toys or ceramics. My influences are diverse from mid century Japanese pose dolls and early cartoons to  artists such as Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, Miro, Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeios, Nicki de Saint Phalle, Frida Khalo, Prunella Clough, the list goes on.
Describe your studio or workspace? 
My kids and I live in a modern house, the main living area is open plan which can be a challenge but ultimately works well as my children are a big part of my creative process, I work at one end of this space surrounded by shelves full of fabric and one large floor to ceiling window. I have three tables to try and separate the different work processes like textiles, paper work, painting and clay work.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Living artist's I would like to meet, Nathalie Lete, Elsa Mora, Vivienne WestwoodMuccia Prada, Paula Rego, David Hockney, Patti Smith, Tim Burton, DavidBowie, Wes Anderson, Steve McQueen, Yoko Ono. If time travel is involved all the artists from my list of influences above, Charles and Ray Eames, BusterKeaton, Jaques Tati, visit the Bauhaus, Velasquez, Picasso in the 1960's, Alexander Calder when he was making his circus, ok so this is another ever growing list.
How would you describe your creative process? 
It helps me to keep the morning routine of dropping the kids at school, walking home, putting on the radio and making a pot of coffee, I then start work, mornings are great for sewing, painting, thinking and experimenting, if I reach the afternoon and I'm running out of creative steam I plan a materials or post office run to coincide with collecting the children. I save less creative tasks for the evening so I might stuff doll bodies or attach arms and legs whilst watching TV. But I always keep a sketch book at hand because as I physically relax in the evening my brain starts swimming with ideas, I love this creative time, just sketching out ideas ready for the morning.
What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
Most cherished hand made possessions would have to be all the beautiful artworks my children have done over the years and my rag doll Sammy made by my mum when I was about three.

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
When in a creative rut I do something else, package orders, go for a walk, pretend to answer all my emails whilst really looking at pinterest or at a push force myself to do some house work!! That last one usually gets me back on track pretty quickly.
Which is your favourite local independent shop or eatery in Bristol & why? 
We live near the Gloucester Road and love trawling all the independent and charity shops along here, Playful toy shop for wool felt, Bamba beads, Billie Jean Clothes for vintage, for a special treat we go to Atomic Burger.
Where would you like to be in ten years? 
In ten years I would like to have a selection of worldwide stores selling my designs, to be in a position to have my own exhibitions and collaborate with companies or other designers and artists, I would like to have published at least one illustrated book. I would like to work in Japan and the US. And last but not least a holiday abroad with my children to relax and plan the next ten years. 

Gosh Jess, you are a talent, and I am sure you will have a book deal and that holiday soon!  You can find Jess' colourful work in our Paper Scissors Stone shop.

Paper Scissors Stone
Quakers Friars
Cabot Circus
Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm

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