Here is my first and only post this week. The last two weeks have been filled to the brim with firings and re-firings and kiln disasters and troubleshooting. But I think, I hope, that we’re back on track. The business plan for the new studio/storefront is almost done, and I am going to check out a commercial space today and I think I fixed my kiln problems, so all is looking up.
And, to top it all off, to make up for my lack of posting this week I’ve got ONE AMAZING post! Jane Foster, printer and designer from the UK, makes brightly coloured screenprints and textiles, much of which is retro and Scandinavian inspired. This week, she generously shared with me some fun tidbits about her life, artwork and inspiration, and sent me TONS of awesome pictures that literally made me squeal with delight. Check them out below the interview. Enjoy, and thanks again, Jane!
Me: Can you tell us some more about how started out as an artist? Were you always really interested in screenprinting and textiles, or was it more of an evolution?
JF: My first taster of screen printing was when I was 14 at secondary school. My teacher let me have my own table in the art room that I could use at lunch time so she must have known I was keen! I was 16 when she let me screen print onto fabric using paper cut stencils. I also remember printing some curtains and tee shirts. I left home at 17 to study at music college before teaching for years and years. I didn’t screen print again until I was around 36! I found a print studio around the corner where I was living in Brighton and was hooked. I had the feeling within minutes that this is what I wanted and should be doing with my life! I then very gradually started to carve out a new plan of changing my career from music to art. This didn’t happen overnight.
Me: How does your background influence you as an artist (personally and/or culturally)? One thing I love about your work is the use of vintage textiles and retro, Scandinavian design elements¬– can you talk about where that came from?
JF: I grew up in the 70s and my parents (my mum in particular) had bold taste. My mum loved bright Scandinavian fabrics and Danish design. They shopped at Habitat and Heals on Tottenham Court Road - these were trendy shops that sold designs for their aesthetic instead of comfort. My Auntie Jennifer lived in a really wonderful architect designed SPAN house in Blackheath and I remember falling in love with 60s design and all her wonderful colourful fabrics, furnishings and ceramics. We visited her often so I’m sure she was also an influence. My parents would also take me to London art galleries such as the Tate Gallery where I was exposed to the multi coloured pop artists and the screen printer Bridget Riley. Although my parents weren’t particularly creative (one taught maths and one taught physics!) I was encouraged to explore all my creativity with music and art. I was also allowed to paint murals on my bedroom walls and make my own clothes!
Me: You’ve started moving into selling glass and ceramicware featuring your designs; Do you have any interesting plans for the future that you’d like to share? Are you interested in designing other types of homewares or objects?
JF: Yes, I’ve collaborated with a company called Make International who use my designs on their mugs and glasses. We’re also hoping to produce other products in the future and in September, they’re launching a Haberdashery range with my toy kits, screen printed knitting bags etc.. Would love to all go into bedding and other products.
Me: Do you see your home as an important space of inspiration for you? Can you tell us about an object that you have in your house that makes it feel like home to you?
JF: Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve managed to get pictures on the walls within a few days! I love making my home a home, filling it with belongings we love and things we’ve collected over the years. I always make a home colourful and happy. One of my favourite areas is the Mantle piece where things my daughter has made are kept, and other precious finds.
Me: Can you tell us about a piece of art that has really inspired you in your own work?
JF: I can’t think of a specific piece but I do think the illustrator Dick Bruna has been an influence as I was brought up with his Miffy books and love simple colourful designs with black outlines.More