Jill Bliss

About Me & My Work

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!