Jess Wheeler is a set designer and illustrator. As a freelancer, her work can be multifaceted and span a wide range of mediums, most of which focus around the subject of flowers. Read her contribution to Stories within Our Isles to find out where in the British Isles Jess gets the inspiration for her diverse and engaging work.
Through my drawings, homewares, fashion sets and flowers, I aim to remind the viewer of the beauty and fragility of our natural world. For example, in my recently launched range of handmade homewares, I have tried to translate that imagery of nature into my series of ceramics, table linen and drawings.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time camping on the banks of the River Alde in Suffolk. I lived here in the summer for a few beautiful, peaceful months. I tried to live – as much as I could – off the land; catching fish, foraging the riverbanks and growing veg. I also cooked over an open fire on the small, nearby beach with my hurricane kettle – it was unbearably idyllic! I soon set up a studio tent on the riverbank, allowing me to fully focus on making without any distraction. There, I developed a series of botanical studies and started making ceramics. Much of the work I produced was done with limited equipment; I would often go out to the banks and collect pebbles to use as moulds for my ceramic bowls. They turned out wobbly and irregular, which I loved.
Jess set designing for Rixo and their London Fashion week presentation. She designed and planted a giant wild flower meadow for their fashion show.
Photographs by Aloha Bonser-Shaw | @alohabshaw