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Artist Interview - Jessie Dickinson Design

It is so hard for us to decide who to interview each week for our Tuesday Chats with Makers, as there are too many talented makers and creatives to choose from!

This Tuesday we chatted to Jessie Dickinson about her screen printing and embroidery business. We are particularly blown away by her succulents. If you find it hard to keep plants alive, Jessie’s embroidered artworks are a great alternative to keeping your house green and homely.

Did you study textile design? How do you think this shaped your practise?

I studied Textile Design, specialising in Mixed Media, at Falmouth University. It gave me the confidence to pursue embroidery as a career and to also experiment within the medium, to really push my ideas.

When did your business first start and what made you do it?

Jessie Dickinson Design came about after a work placement. I was offered work once the placement ended and I now take on freelance work when I'm needed. Leaving uni I didn't think I could be focused enough to set up my own company, but having done it I don't want to do anything else!

How is your work created from start to finish?

The plants are usually grown from random ideas, where pots dictate the colours or size and I wing the leaf shapes until I hit on something that works. Sometimes I'll have a particular plant in mind, then it's a case of trial and error. Using Wilcom software to design the plants, a Happy Japan embroidery machine to produce them, I then put them together by hand.

What made you come up with your beaded succulents? They are great!

Thank you so much! They began as part of my FMP at uni, where I worked on my own brief that combined plants and electronics. Exploring texture combinations and even 3D plants and LEDs. I won a first prize in the Hand and Lock embroidery competition 2018 for such a piece.

Which digital platforms and programmes have helped shape your business?

The most important one is the Wilcom Embroidery Studio. I'd be lost without it, it's packed with stitch possibilities, the people are super helpful and I find it really intuitive to use. Alongside Wilcom I use Corel drawing programs. They came with my Wilcom install and allow all the photo editing I need. 

Instagram is also proving invaluable for networking and advertising.

What is your favourite commission subject to work on and why?

The plants are my favourite thing to make, hands down. But I've done a few custom patches for customers and they're always fun. I enjoy beading, and gold work, tambour, and I've had a small attempt at bobbin lace. Anything involving a needle and thread, I'll enjoy!

Do you have any advice for those looking to start their own business?

If you've been pondering on it for a while, you are already a leap ahead of me when I started mine, so I think you should go for it! Though I do recommend reading up about taxes or getting an accountant if you're like me and pretty hopeless with numbers.

What does the future hold for Jessie Dickinson Design?

Hopefully bigger and more exotic plants! I want to try some flowering ones, and am desperate to make a full size cheese plant. I am also working on some 3D plant brooches, and some framed plant wall-art.

On the business side, I'd like to take part in more markets. Starting with online markets has been an interesting experience, so hopefully I can go to some physical ones when lockdown ends.

Jessie is kindly offering 10% off her patches on Etsy with code TUESDAYCHAT. This offer is valid until 7th July.


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