Today I introduce JilMadeThis, a relatively new addition to the handmade family and a fellow lover of cats! Jil has quickly become a regular seller and a crafty friend. Her printed textiles embrace bright bold designs take me back to childhoods filled with My Little Pony's and Crayola Crayons! Oh and did I mention that she makes fabric button badges? I'm a sucker for anything with buttons!
How and why did you start making your wares?
I have always been interested in arts and crafts from a young age, whether it was designing the cover of a school news lettter or making cards for my family, art has always been my muse. After many years in education and a degree in printed Textiles under my belt, I started playing around with different print processes and creating different illustrations inspired by the things I love. I guess it all just went from there. It grew and many things arrived from my skills and experience, things that I felt personally attached to!
Do you have any successes and failures you'd like to talk about?
I think my most successful things have come from craft events like Craft Candy in Sheffield and Reet Sweet and Handmade fairs in Leeds. The connections you make, the people you meet and the feedback you receive are the things that contribute to success. In terms of crafts themselves, my most successful items are the designs which people can immediately associate with, e.g. tin robot plushes, pencil badges and horse totes. People immediately tell me they remind them of their childhood! This is fantastic as that's how they are derived, from my memories and collections. My failrures are perhaps the events where the customers themselves are not quite right for my items, or where the event has been unusually quiet.
Do you craft full time? If not tell us a little about your day job and how you manage to fit your craft into your day?
I like to think I craft full time, because in my 'real job' I am still creating printed items! I am the manageress of a successful T Shirt printing shop in the heart of Leeds. My job and my crafts work hand in hand. I print and sell and merchandise everyday, be it for myself or the company I work for!
What're your main creative influences and interests?
My main influences are the memories I have, the things I've collected (I'm a hoarder), the people I've met and the way that I think. I love illustration and interior decoration. It's hard to pick just a few influences as there are so many, but my favourite artists/ designers are Rob Ryan, Lauren Child, David Shrigley and Donna Wilson to name a few. I like old and I like modern and I love colour. There are also lots of local crafters who interest me too.
Apart from crafting, what're your hobbies? Do you have any favourite films/websites/books you'd like to share?
Aside from crafts, I like to collect things, charity shopping, car boot sales and general shopping. I love watching films and reading, though I don't do enough of either! Artists who inspire me are Rob Ryan and his amazingly introcate storytelling paper cuts and prints, David Shrigley and his comical illustrations and the mixed media of Lauren Child. I love the Print and Pattern Blog and my favourite films range from The Science of Sleep and The Wizard of Oz to Stand By Me and Amelie.
What're your plans/dreams for the future?
I would absolutely love to own my own successful craft shops selling not only my own wares, but those of other talented goodness. Since I was a young girl, I've always wanted to run my own shop. I am at the moment running a shop, but the ultimate goal is to run my own business they way I want to! I want a large house, lots of cats, surrounded by family and the usual ideals.
Where can we find your work (online or in the "real world")
You can see my work on my website - jilmadethis.co.uk, follow my blog, buy my items on etsy and folksy and I have a an exclusive range of items on sale at The Bowery in Headingley, Leeds. You can always find me at craft fairs in and around Leeds too!
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