Season 3,

Jen Collins

March 03, 2020

Jen is an Illustrator and ceramicist who has spent her time between Dundee, Glasgow and Toronto during her career so far.
Her work often notes quiet moments, human connection and the natural world. Pencil and paper are generally the tools of choice, but she occasionally plays with clay, too.

After graduating from DJCAD Jen started making products that she could sell online to build an audience and generate some income. She needed a part-time job at this point to support her creative practice and said that it was important to admit ’In my 1st tax return I had a big fat zero in there’.

After changing her supporting job to working in marketing it led her down to Glasgow. It was there that she decided to go to some beginners ceramics classes. Out of a curiosity for the craft and that she had never really quite got away from the 2D nature of her illustration work. We chat about how these beginners classes are really enjoyable but also a great gateway to learning new skills and developing creative practice. There are some great things going on in this area already in Dundee but running those classes can be costly and time-consuming. Could we get together as a creative community to reduce the amount of work and increase the breadth and depth of the offering to make design skills more accessible?

It was at this point in Glasgow Jen had built a good online following and purely through developing work and selling it online, she was starting to be commissioned for illustrations. It was then time for a big change. She and her boyfriend went off to Toronto for 2 years to work and live. It was here that Jen
joined an open-access ceramics space called ‘The Shop’ where she developed her ceramics work and started collaborating and selling through it. She had her own working space shared with others and managed to find a really good creative/commercial balance. We talk about it as the ‘holy grail’ being creatively fulfilled but not being skint!

Eventually, the lure of Scotland led Jen back to Dundee to continue developing her career and now has a studio at Wasps. We talk about the difficulty with creative spaces in Dundee and trying to find some sort of answer to the empty shop fronts on the high street.

We finish by discussing Dundee in this new ‘post spotlight era’, interesting to see what happens next.

Jen’s website –
Jen’s Instagram –
Jen’s Twitter –
The illustrator –

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