In 2012 designer Jill Bliss sold her house and the bulk of her worldly possessions and did what many of us only dream of doing – she escaped. She said farewell to her past life of living in big cities like San Francisco, New York and Portland and resurfaced on a small island in the Pacific Northwest – the Salish Sea to be exact. The lush environs of British Columbia and Oregon now provide Jill with the inspiration that has given her life and work a new focus.
Jill makes a living creating illustrations based on the flora and fauna of her immediate surroundings. “I’m a painter, and in my studio when I’m waiting for paint to dry, I would go for hikes and collect things I found in the forest and I started making just color studies of the things I was finding, and it ended up being mostly mushrooms.”
The variety of shapes, textures and patterns that Jill discovered in the local mushrooms motivated her to start a photographic essay on the subject. And what an investigation it is. Artful compositions of mushrooms, mosses, and leaves expose nature’s resplendent spectrum of colours – from subtle jewel tones to flushes of vivid pigment. The smooth domes of the mushroom caps juxtapose their variegated underbelly fans of light and shade. Upon first glance, the images catch you off guard. Eventually, you realize that you are looking at a seductive arrangement of actual specimens.
A calendar of Jill's mushroom assemblages will soon be published. “Color is everywhere, these beautiful forms and shapes are everywhere,” she says. “You just have to look.”