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Jessica Palmer gave up a TV production career to rekindle her first love of art, gaining an MA in Illustration at Kingston University at the age of 49. Her work appears on a variety of book and album covers and in book designs and websites. She is much in demand for her illustrations and recently created the herb and vegetable drawings for Bistronomy - Recipes from the Best New Paris Bistros by Jane Sigal (Rizzoli, New York). For more about Jessica's illustration work, go to www.jessicapalmerart.com. Jessica is widely known as a papercut, collage and paper sculpture artist, making pieces for private commission as well as installations and exhibitions in the UK and USA. She is now a visiting artist in galleries and museums in London, Bath and Bristol, including the V & A and the National Portrait Gallery.
Where were you born?
What is your educational background?
Lots! I did an Art Foundation year, then a Grande Diplome Culinaire in Paris, then BA Honours in Journalism, then an MSc in Politics and, much later in life, an MA in Illustration!
What first got you interested in craft?
I am an artist and illustrator. Although I've done many other things in my life, I love making things. I always come back to drawing but, along the way, I have learned about drawing by studying paper cutting. Drawing with a knife led me into collage and all kinds of paper sculpture. Just like many other people, I find that art and craft seem to satisfy the longing to create beautiful objects.
How long have you been crafting?
I have been making art and drawing and making things all my life.
Where do you get your materials?
All kinds of places. Paper is my main medium. I go to paper specialists like Shepherds Bookbinders in London or Papercutz.
How/Where did Search Press discover you?
I held an open studio. A neighbour, who is a bookseller, came to have a look. He said "You should do a book!" And then introduced me to Search Press.What were your first thoughts when asked to write a book?
I thought, Phew! I am glad this is happening now (and not before) because I have enough images and enough to say to fill 143 pages! I had been teaching art workshops for about 6 years and this gave me an insight into what readers would want to know.
Has publishing a book changed your life in any way?
Yes. More psychologically than materially. It is a seal of approval on your work. It is a passport into other opportunities. It gives me a sense of achievement and completeness.
Any tips for beginners?
Put your faith in your Search Press Editor. They know their business. They will give you support and freedom to be creative. Work hard on the structure and the content of the book. Be open to suggestions.
What is your favourite craft tool?
I have to say my trusty little Swann Morton scalpel handle with a 10a blade.
Have you travelled for your craft?
I travel to workshops around the UK and I am now starting to make paper art and drawn pieces for exhibition in the USA.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Stuff just tends to bounce into my head. I then talk about it a lot with my very close friend and my husband. I then think about it on long walks and when I am falling asleep. In my studio, I surround myself with images, curiosities and beautiful found objects like shells and feathers.
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