My first glimpse of Jenna’s work was at the all together wonderful Simple Knots Craft Club (something I’ll be hollering about more in a couple of weeks), a gathering of makers and creators that gets together once a month in Cardiff. Jenna had the dubious honor of sharing the patch of table next to me and along with being altogether welcoming was working on a drawing of a character from Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononuke, all sublimely crisp line work and the perfect capture of this character both wise and a little creepy. Those bold, clean lines can be found through much of Jenna’s work and the manner in which it propels her characters from the page is what really draws me to her illustrations.
The characters within the art never find themselves over powered by this style though, still conveying their strength or playfulness with a subtlety which brings them to life. This seems to add up to a feeling of an untold story in the illustrations, something the characters put onto paper are willing us to hear the images themselves becoming bookmarks for narratives that are waiting to be told. “My main motivation when I was younger - and still now to some extent - was to put down on paper the worlds and characters I'd been creating in my head.”
As well as story telling, Jenna’s art provides both catharsis and drive, being a place of comfort but also providing a challenge that allows a constant learning process. “Drawing is fun, stressful, infuriating, mediative and so many other things. I usually find the process pretty calming, but there's always the feeling that I want to be better. I want to spend more time learning how to properly draw landscapes and how to use perspective grids.”
The animal world plays a big part in Jenna’s art, from pugs and rabbits, to hens and a beautiful representation the superstitions attached to magpies, the natural world providing endless inspiration. “Currently I'm most inspired by nature, I've got a Pinterest board of loads of different animals that are still on the to-draw list! Doing Inktober made me remember just how much I love drawing different creatures, and how much I have to learn about them. I know I've done a good job when my Dad correctly guesses exactly which type of bird I've drawn.”
Artists and makers also play a big role in inspiring Jenna’s art with a host of names to check out when I asked about some of the artists she adores “A few of my favorites on Instagram are: Painter Audraauclair and Allisonsommers, Sowiesowies & Liliarnoldstudios for their lino prints, the gorgeous dark illustrations of Wolfskulljack_art and Godmachine. There are loads more, it's so hard to choose! Recently I've been looking at a lot of cross stitch and embroidery. I'm also constantly inspired by my creative friends: Alex (Alexana Blott, a SingleMaltTeapot fave) makes beautiful cutlery sculptures, my partner Thierry is a writer and a poet, and I have friends who work with film, photography and ceramics. All of whom I envy for their skills!”
Is there an artist or maker you would love us to hear about? Let us know in the comments below or use the tag #MyTeapotMoment over on Instagram.