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.)

I spent my seminal childhood years on a farm in northern California, while my adult life as a designer and artist took place in the big cities of New York, San Francisco & Portland OR. Until I sold my house and most everything I owned in 2012 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 a new life chapter – I’ve been living, working, traveling & exploring amongst the Salish Sea islands of Canada & Washington State ever since.

Modern nomad of the Salish Sea

Since committing my art work to my specific bioregion, I am not able to work in my studio creating art year-round. Out of financial necessity, I take on other types of work as well. Sometimes these jobs relate directly to my ongoing bioregional studies, other times I am doing work to help others in my small island community. These jobs allow me the breathing room to create the art work I feel most compelled to do, while also constraining the time in which I have to create it.

I relish the spring and summer months working with other people in my island community and our seasonal visitors. In the summer tourist season I primarily work as a naturalist and deckhand aboard M/V Odyssey in Friday Harbor on San Juan island. Summer is my season for working with others, learning and sharing my knowledge about the natural world here in Cascadia and encouraging visitors to explore and learn about the natural world that surrounds them wherever they live.

Gentle adventures in art & nature

I equally relish big blocks of time in the winter to draw, paint, think, explore. 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

This winter, 2016, I’ve plunked down my life savings for a modest half acre of cleared land on a small island of 30 full-time households to live out the rest of my days in tune with the natural world. I am looking forward to building my own natural homestead and gardens while observing the seasonal and yearly changes tied to a specific place in the Cascadia bioregion. My own small piece of land, my own homestead, my home island, my home – and radiating outwards from here. As another islander artist remarked, “This will be your biggest art project of all!”

Support for localized, resilient communities & organizations

When you purchase my artwork or wares, know that you are supporting my ongoing studies & work, my small island community, and environmental and social justice organizations. Nature is my church, I share 10%+ of my earnings each year with organizations doing important work in the world. Thank you all!

2016 Donations:

SeaDoc Society
Friends of the San Juans
Long Live the Kings
The Whale Museum
Center for Whale Research
Kwiaht Center for the Historical Ecology of the Salish Sea
The Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network
Heiltsuk Tribe Efforts in Oil Spill Clean up
Puget Sound Mycological Society
NRDC
Earth Justice
Sierra Club
Oceti Sakowin Camp
Sacred Stone Camp
Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council
Lakota Youth Against DAPL
Free Red Fawn Fundraiser
Veterans for Standing Rock
Democracy Now
Unicorn Riot Media
ACLU
Planned Parenthood
Southern Poverty Law Center
Wikipedia
Daily KOS

More to see and read

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


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

2016
Nature Drawing Workshop at Decatur Island School, Decatur Island, WA

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