Hello, my name is Jessica Gowling and nature’s my friend; we make art together. I am a traditional printmaker, and I nest and create at my little home in paradise (also known as the beautiful Kootenay Mountains in British Columbia, Canada). I enjoy making art that brings more of the outdoors indoors.
I do what I do because I am filled with endless visual ideas, burning creative passion, and a desire to explore the capabilities of my hands. I wandered away from art briefly after high school when I began pursuing a business degree, and it was a very unfulfilling time in my life. My heart yearned to create, so the following semester I transferred schools to get my bachelor’s degree in fine art. I felt alive, challenged and inspired, and I knew from that moment that I wanted to chase those feelings for the rest of my life.
My work is fueled by the notion of beauty in simplicity. Sunny days sitting riverside watching birds, bike rides next to tall trees, close encounters with furry animals, and reading field guides for hours are a few examples of where my creations start. Sometimes my initial sketches naturally develop into watercolor paintings or graphite drawings; other times, they transform further into layered designs that I carve or etch into stencils. I hand-pull limited edition prints with these stencils on thick rag paper, and use my finished drawings, paintings and hand-pulled prints for my line of stationery, housewares and accessories.
I try to be as involved as possible with every single one of my creations – even seemingly simple products like magnets are all printed, hand-cut and hand-pressed one-by-one, by me. My hands-on approach goes right down to the packaging; I use screen-printed mailers and carefully-selected vintage postage stamps, and write addresses by hand.
Etsy has made many of my dreams a reality. It lets me sell my handmade pieces to conscious consumers who appreciate and understand the love, hard work, and personal touches that go into my work. I have founded a real and viable business using my passion and creativity here, along with accessible tools from Etsy and the supportive customer base that are part of this marketplace.
Knowing that my pieces have been invited into hundreds of people’s homes greatly inspires me. When someone purchases one my creations, it means that my ideas, heart, and hard work become a part of that person’s everyday life – a magnet on the fridge greets them whenever they make a meal; a silk-screened notebook fits in their back pocket for important to-do lists and doodles; a hand-pulled print hangs in a special corner of their room. It makes me hopeful that my artwork will continue to reach plenty of new friends who also love nature and animals!
All photographs by Nature’s My Friend.