november love it...jill bliss!

the first time i walked into o'suzannah, i knew immediately that it would become my favorite store, in part because, holy moly, there were so many handmade goods by artists whose work i'd only ever seen in my online travels. among those represented, it was all the lovely jill bliss merch that sent me over the edge -- the cloth wallets, the paper products, the bags that i had previously only been able to imagine were there before me. it was a little slice of jill bliss heaven.

when i think of jill's work, my mind divides it into two categories which often merge and overlap. the first is the fabric goods, and in particular the wallets and checkbooks she creates out of what must be an AMAZING stash of vintage sheets. she gives these linens a new life by sewing them into carefully crafted credit card and change pockets. my mom's been rocking her mini pocket wallet for nearly two years now!

and then there's jill's stunning illustration and design, which focuses on the natural world around her, whether it be undersea specimens or the native flora of the west coast (and even the occasional californian banana slug). there is an incredible amount of detail in jill's work, and it seems to almost vibrate with color.

not only are we thrilled to always have jill bliss originals in the shop, but we also carry many of the products produced through her collaborations with my favorite mirror, ipop, and chronicle books. most recently we received a nice big box direct from jill containing her 2009 gathered together wall calendar and the floral leaves datebook. come check them out, and i hope you enjoy reading jill's interview below! xoxo, jessica

what was your first job and how did you end up making all of your amazing goods?

my first job was helping my mom make christmas crafts to sell when i was a kid. we lived on a farm then, and got paid once a year, in january, for the summer prune and fall walnut harvests. by october we'd be low on funds, so i'd help my mom make raggedy anne and andy's, quilts, pom pom tree decorations, and, my fave, spice ropes!

most of the things i make these days are a result of something needed by either myself, my friends, or my customers. i love paper, i love fabric, trims, notions, beads, small things, and i love organizing things, and i love pockets.

what is your favorite piece/group/series in your work?

i love them all equally like children! but i secretly love the newest things a little bit more than the rest. right now my mom is teaching me how to crochet. you'll see the results late this year!

who or what inspires you?

i'm inspired by little natural or colorful elements i see when traveling, hiking or walking. i like to challenge myself to recreate these elements in drawn form or with various pre-made items or fabric in my studio.

what three websites do you visit daily?

uh, i must confess i'm not good at keeping up with the blogs or news online. i prefer to talk in person or email and text my friends. and i like to watch news on tv. i do visit google, google maps, and pretty much every day though. oh, and now i can watch tv shows and movies on my laptop while i sew!

we don't have this piece, redwood sorrel, in the shop, but i couldn't
resist showing it to you! it's an original drawing available on jill's site.

describe your ideal sunday.

it's overcast and misty raining in the morning so me and my dog sleep in. we get up, have breakfast, water, weed and harvest in the garden. by then the rain has stopped, so we get on the bus and the light rail and go to forest park for a hike. we get back home in the early evening. lucy [my dog] has dinner, and i leave her home and ride my bike to meet a friend for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, navarre. i meet up with other friends for after-dinner drinks at a bar somewhere, and ride my bike slowly home about 11 pm.

what do you see outside your studio windows?

my vegetable garden!