Interview: Jodie Smith on Surface Pattern Design, Art Collectives, and Browsing Antiques

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I love chatting to designers and illustrators because I feel like there's such a variety of styles and ideas you can find absolutely anywhere. Today I'm talking to the lovely Jodie Smith, a recent graduate and lady of adorable talent from Hull. Her patterns are playful and brightly coloured, and I can really imagine every single one in my future house on cushions, curtains, and tea towels. We had a quick chat about female art collectives and where she gets her inspiration from...

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Magic & Musings:
Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions, Jodie! First of all, for any readers who don’t know your background, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?

Jodie Smith:
I am an illustrator and surface pattern designer based in Hull. I have just graduated from Leeds College of Art.

Magic & Musings:
If you could describe your design style in three words, what would they be?

Jodie Smith:
Naive, playful, and colourful.


Magic & Musings:
When did you first get into design? Did you study it formally or come across it as a hobby? If you did study it formally, would you say this was a good or bad experience regarding allowing your creativity to flourish?

Jodie Smith:
I studied a BTEC in Art and Design and specialised in Textiles in my second year at college. It encouraged me to use illustrations for textiles as I specialised in print, and not knit and weave like most people.

Magic & Musings:
On Magic & Musings I love talking about female-identifying and non-binary artists and their work. Which female artists, if any, would you say have been influences on your work? Do you have any favourites to look at when you need a spark of inspiration?

Jodie Smith:
Dotty Wren Studio is four creative illustrator and surface pattern designers called Dawn Machell, Lizzie Mackay, Susan Driscoll, and Wendy Kendall. They are all freelance for many markets including apparel, home, stationery, and publishing. They are wonderfully inspiring, I would love to be a part of their collective one day.


Magic & Musings:
Of all of your designs, which are you the happiest with and why? 

Jodie Smith:
This one, because of the colours and texture used and the little ladybird! 

Magic & Musings:
This is a question I like to ask purely because of the variety of answers I get! I’m really interested in how people work and get things done. Do you have a particular place you work or find yourself the most productive? Are there a particular set of things that need to be in place for things to get done, like a milky cup of tea or a particular album of music you listen to? 

Jodie Smith:
I did have a lovely studio at university that I worked in, surrounded by fellow creatives. But I am now a graduate that has just moved back home. I don’t have a creative space to work in as my house is quite small, but I am considering renting a studio space alongside a job. So watch this space!

Magic & Musings:
What do you do if you find yourself stuck in a rut creatively?

Jodie Smith:
I go to art galleries like The Hepworth in Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and antique centres to look at quirky vintage objects. I also do some online research and can’t resist a bit of Pinterest.

Magic & Musings:
What are your favourite tools you use to create your designs? Are there any books on creativity and/or working for yourself you would recommend to others?

Jodie Smith:
I love collaging with painted papers and a scalpel. I can’t seem to collage with scissors! I love all of the print and pattern books, especially the kids one. They are full of lovely designers work and endless inspiration.


Magic & Musings:
Have you ever explored working in another medium?

Jodie Smith:
I spent a lot of my university years experimenting with inks, pencils, paints, screen prints, and lino prints. I recently bought my very own lino cutting tools so I cant wait to use them!

Magic & Musings:
What would you say your relationship is like between your business and the internet/social media? Would you say this has helped you greatly in your success, or not?

Jodie Smith:
It is great through Instagram and my blog. I like to share things visually, so Instagram is perfect for this, and it has helped me get my work out there more.

Magic & Musings:
What one thing do you wish someone told you when you were first starting out working in this field?

Jodie Smith:
That it is really hard and your heart has to be 100% into what you are doing otherwise it is difficult to stick at it, as you sometimes have to do twelve-hour days and work weekends.


Magic & Musings:
Onto a fun question! Can you recommend everyone reading a book you've enjoyed recently, as well as a film and an album or song? 

Jodie Smith:
I’ve recently enjoyed reading about Lucienne Day in her book, called Textile Design. It gave me an insight into her recent exhibition at The Whitworth in Manchester. A song would be John Lennon - 'Imagine'. Very fitting as to whats happening in the world recently!

Magic & Musings:
Is there anything else you would like to say before we finish? How can people find out more about you and your work? 

Jodie Smith:
I have a blog - www.patternperspective.co.uk that I write about all things surface pattern, but also my visits to galleries and cafes etc. I also have an online portfolio www.jodiepsmith.co.uk where you can see more of my work, and Instagram : j0diesmith.

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