Jill Bliss

About Me & CV

First off: yes, that’s my real last name. (That’s usually the first question people ask me, especially out here where lots of people adopt a chosen island name for themselves.)

Always learning, discovering, sharing

I spent my seminal childhood years on a farm in northern California, while my adult life took place in the big cities of New York, San Francisco & Portland OR. Until I sold my house and most everything I owned for a year-long self-imposed sabbatical to reconnect with the slower natural pace and living things I knew & adored as a child. That sabbatical year has stretched into several – I’ve been living, working, traveling & exploring amongst the Salish Sea islands of Canada & Washington State ever since.

Modern nomad of the Salish Sea

Summer on The Big Island of San Juan with people, people, people and a maxed-out schedule. Most days you’ll find me on daily boat tours educating people about Salish Sea plants, animals and ecosystems. From orcas to salmon to nudibranch, kelp forests & Douglas fir forests – how do all the pieces of the Salmon Nation watershed work together & how can we be better neighbors to our fellow creatures within this place we call home?

Some of my favorite subjects to learn about & discuss: salmon, eelgrass meadows, harbor seals, kelp forests, porpoise (harbor & dalls), tidepools, orca, island farms, humpback whales, coast Salish history, minke whales, off-grid living, river watersheds, eagles, common murres, nudibranch, jellyfish… You get the idea. I’m a nature nerd.

Saturdays I’m selling my Salish sea ecosystem-inspired artwork at the Friday Harbor Farmers Market on San Juan island, or (new in summer 2016!) you can find my art prints and notecards daily (and sometimes me) in a shared artisan kiosk at Roche Harbor Marina on the north end of San Juan island.

Whew. It’s a breakneck schedule, but I love it. Makes me appreciate winter.

Gentle adventures in art & nature

Winters I satisfy my nomadic nature by holing up in various off-grid cabins on small islands, preferably with wild animals and semi-feral people for neighbors, mentors and muses. These are the months for hibernation, quiet reflection, close observations of discreet moments in nature, art making, sleeping, reading, cooking, chopping wood, stoking wood stove fires, hiking & kayaking in the rain. Sometimes in my PJs.

Simple seasonal living

Eventually I’d love to settle down on one island, in one community, on a particular bit of land and live out the rest of my days in tune with the natural world around me. That opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet.

More to see and read

Do you want to see the highly edited pretty version of my daily life? Check out my instagram feed!

Want to read slightly edited stories on what it’s really like to live out here? I’ve begun sharing interesting island instances on my blog¬†when I have the time & access to power!


Selected Lectures / Speaking Engagements

2012
Art Institute of Austin, skype chat with students enrolled in “Small Batch Manufacturing: Designer as Maker” class, Austin TX

2010
University of Oregon, design process presentation for Product Design Department, Eugene OR

2009
W+K radio interview for Handmade Nation with Susan Beal, myself & Kate Bingaman-Burt, Portland, OR
Craft Conversation: Handmade Nation panel, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR
Portland State University, projects overview presentation, Portland, OR

2008
Imprint Culture Lab Conference, Cult of Crafts/DIY community panel, Los Angeles, CA


Selected Teaching Engagements

2015
Nature Drawing Workshop at Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA

2014
Nature Drawing Workshop at Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, WA

2012
Nature Drawing & Locavore Eating Retreat, Portland, OR
Communication Design Studio II #225, Graphic Design dept., Portland State University
Design Business Strategies #367, Graphic Design dept., Portland State University

2011
Summer Sunday Nature Drawing Workshops, Portland, OR
Communication Design Studio II #225, Graphic Design dept., Portland State University
Communication Design Seminar/ Effective Infographics #471, Graphic Design dept., Portland State University
Design Business Strategies #367, Graphic Design dept., Portland State University

2010
Beginning and Intermediate Surface Design, Modern Domestic, Portland, OR
Summer Sunday Nature Drawing Workshops, Portland, OR
Communication Design Studio II/ Generating Concepts #225, Graphic Design dept., Portland State University

2009
Summer Sunday Nature Drawing Workshops, Portland, OR


Education / Certifications

2015
First Aid & CPR Certification, Friday Harbor WA

2014
Salish Sea Marine Naturalist Certification, Whale Museum, Friday Harbor WA

2013
Wilderness Survival Camp, Wolf College, Puyallup WA

2012
Urban Permaculture Design Course, Planet Repair Institute, Portland OR

2004
MFA Design, California College of the Arts, San Francisco CA (Thesis: Visual & Psychological Mechanics of Anthropomorphism)

2000
BFA Illustration/Design, Parsons School of Design, New York NY (Thesis: Possible Evolutions within Medicine, Clothing, Shelter & Culture from the Present to the Beginnings of Nanotechnology)


Books that feature myself and my work

2013
pretty patterns, chronicle books, usa

2011
i heart stationery, rotovision books, uk
drawn in book, chronicle books, usa
adventures in vintage craft, chronicle books, usa

2010
the exquisite book, chronicle books, usa

2009
craft inc business planner, chronicle books, usa
print and pattern blog book, laurence king books, u.k.

2008
handmade nation, princeton architectural press, usa
1000 jewelry inspirations, quarry books, usa

2007
craft inc, chronicle books, usa
the crafter culture handbook, marion boyers books, u.k.

2005
artful cards, lark books, usa


Books and stationery items I’ve drawn & designed

2013
mushroom medley art photo book, blurb books

2012
wildflowers mini eco-journal set, chronicle books

2011
succulents eco-notecard box set, chronicle books
mini journal set, chronicle books for target stores
poppies and berries journal, chronicle books for target stores
butterflies eco-journal, chronicle books
succulents eco-journal, chronicle books
drawing nature journal, chronicle books
sea flowers eco-postcard set, chronicle books
sea flowers mix n match stationery, chronicle books

2010
sea flowers eco-notecard box set, chronicle books
sea flowers eco-journal, chronicle books

2009
flock and flutter calendar with saelee oh, self published

2008
native flower sticky notes, chronicle books
gathered together calendar with saelee oh, self published
floral leaves datebook, self published

2007
native flower mini journal set, chronicle books
native flowers notecard book, chronicle books
forest coral datebook, self published
hidden habitats calendar with saelee oh, self published

2006
native flowers address book, chronicle books
native redwood flowers correspondence cards, chronicle books
native flowers mix and match stationery, chronicle books
native herbs journal, chronicle books
redwood datebook, self published
farmlife calendar with saelee oh, self published

2005
native flowers journal, chronicle books
undersea calendar with saelee oh, self published

2002
treelets with shinpei tanaka, art book, self published

2000
one, art book, self published