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International Women’s Day – Celebrating with Linda Jane Smith

International Women’s Day – Celebrating with Linda Jane Smith
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To celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to shine the light on our female artists to discover what inspires, drives and motivates them in their work. In the lead up to International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we are sharing mini-interviews with our artists and designers which we hope will empower our followers to champion women and take action for equality.

Today's interview is with artist Linda Jane Smith who has designed some of our best-selling jigsaw puzzles for over 20 years.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I've worked with everyone at Gibsons for over 20 years, and really enjoy discussing ideas together and thinking of humorous situations for the cats and dogs.

I'm Linda Jane Smith, and to be honest I've always enjoyed drawing and sewing. As a child I made animals and insects out of scraps of material, placing them in secret worlds, making them look aged, as if to be a found treasure. Miniature worlds fascinate me, so making tiny things for my dolls house was a joy.

I studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Bournville School of Art. Designer's gouache became my favourite medium, and I still use it to create my detailed work. I stated to sell work to The Halcyon Gallery Birmingham, and The Stable Gallery London, having several major exhibitions. When Washington Green Fine Arts was formed in 1985 I was one of the two artists whose work  they chose to launch the company. I went on to produce Prints, Books, and Ceramics, worldwide.

I always carry a small notebook in my bag to use for colour references and drawings, but  have been known to draw on bus tickets or bank stubs in desperation! I've recently created a series of life drawings using pastel in neon bright colours, with flashes of carmine, fuchsia, and lime.

Scouring junk shops for old stuff and vintage clothes is my favourite thing. I love the fact that the objects have had a life before.

I like to think that my work is loved for its nostalgic quality, detail, and most of all humour!

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I had no doubt about it; I wanted to be an artist or a writer! My favourite teacher at junior school was Mrs Greenaway, and she encouraged my love of art and reading.

Q: Why did you choose to become an illustrator?

A: I can't remember a time when I didn't look at colour and form; for example a spider plant leaf, or a tiny insect. I also collected cards and pictures of work by artists such as Margaret Tarrant, and Mabel Lucy Atwell. I love detail that makes you look again.

Q: What motivates you to work for yourself and be an entrepreneur?

A: I like to be in control of my time and creativity. I still have to do accounts and paperwork, but I don't mind that at all. I like to look forward, and plan new projects.

Q: What’s your biggest achievement?

A:  I've been fortunate to have many exhibitions, and designed for ceramics, jigsaws, prints, and books, that have sold all over the world. My greatest joy however, was that my parents were able to see what I've achieved, and share it with me.

Q: Who is a woman you admire and why?

A:  There are many people I admire. Mary Quant, and Barbara Hulanicki; they changed the face of fashion. Beatrix Potter; who wasn't just a great illustrator, but a forward thinking business woman who saved large areas of the Lake District for the future.


View our Linda Jane Smith collection.


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