Jessi Illustrates has over 20 years experience working with community art and heritage projects, using her creativity to design and create exciting opportunities for all ages and abilities.
From artist in residencies, to collaborations with other artists, celebration events, to working with adults living with Dementia, I tailor the project to suit the needs of the participants and brief. See examples of past projects below.
Your Story, Your Collection
A 9 month artist in residency project in collaboration with Rugby Art Gallery and Museum and diverse community groups to create a pop-up book telling their stories of living in Rugby. The project involved a range of workshops to share our memories, stencilling, collage and drawing and a final exhibition to showcase the artwork work.
Frogs and Such like
A collaboration with 'Open Theatre' for ‘Frogs and such like’ project as part of the Coventry City of Culture celebrations. The year long project included working with children and young people from the ages of 5- 20 years old in 8 SEND schools and colleges across Coventry, in collaboration with other artists. I created large scale artwork and smaller scale creations, adapting as we went along to suit the needs of the young people and children. Sessions explored drawing and colour blending with coffee filters, inks and water, we also explored drawing onto acetate with posca pens. The project required me to develop a programme of activity yet be flexible to the needs of each school and resulted in a final exhibition.
Quentin Blake Project
The aim of the project was to interpret and enhance the fantastic Quentin Blake exhibition, enlivening the engagement programme for regular and new visitors. I facilitated creative opportunities for schools, families, teenagers, children, young people and community groups between June to September 2023, working with over 500 participants. We excited, delighted and created a place of making, imaginative play and exploration for children, young people and the grown-ups! Through draw-a-longs with the public through to illustration master classes we explored: character development, drawing, painting, experimenting with ink and mark making, colour with pastels and storytelling, birds. I also created schools’ resources, workshops lesson plans, activity sheets and prompt sheets for self-led school sessions.
Arts Uplift, Dementia art sessions
Arts and Dementia Warwickshire is a new arts programme for people living with dementia and their carers living in Warwickshire in the community and also in care homes. It has been commissioned by Warwickshire County Council. Jessi Illustrates is one of the artists running 6 week art and reminiscence sessions, which are gentle, patient, yet fun and creative.
The arts are proven to improve well-being, cognitive mental health and reduce isolation and loneliness. I also run art Dementia cafes for galleries and other organisations. If you are interested in discussing art workshops for you, contact me today.
HAF - Illustration Master Classes
As part of the government funded 'Holiday, Activity and Food' (HAF) program Jessi Illustrates worked in partnership with Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and The British Motor Museum to run a series of Illustration Master classes for young people over the summer of 2023. These included drawing, storyboards, character development and drawing from collections.
Queens Jubilee projects
2021 saw the Queens Jubilee celebrations and I was involved in a range of projects with various organisations. These included giant stamps with adult community groups and schools, gold coin mobiles, queen inspired colouring in sheets to large scale drawing panels. Each workshop was adapted to the groups needs and explored a range of textures, materials and ideas. The Instagram reel below gives you a taste of the program of activity.
Do you have a national or local celebration approaching and need a creative workshop, program or event? Get in touch today.
Escape Arts - Lost Luggage
Jessi Illustrates was commissioned as an artist in residence for the project Lost Luggage –a creative health response to platform stories and personal journeys that advocated positive wellbeing. The overall outcome was an exhibition at the Station Gallery in Nuneaton which showcased the key work produced with 5 Escape Arts adult community groups over a total of 20 workshops. Each workshop explored the themes of lost items, memories, stories and journeys on the railways.
Each session we explored new learning opportunities and developed new skills and explored creative ideas. Sessions included drawing from still life with charcoal and pastels, exploring maps and photographs and creating collage and decoupage images.
The ‘Magnificent Mushrooms’ project took place at an allotment called Boundary way in Wolverhampton, funded by Kew Gardens to collaborate with a year 3 class to create artwork inspired by mushrooms.
After a school visit with a specialist in this area to the allotment to find and learn about mushrooms , students worked with me to carefully look at the shape, texture and colour of mushrooms and we drew what we saw with sticks and mud. We then painted designs onto wooden discs with acrylic, before hanging them together to create an installation. Finally, we created clay mushrooms, discussed their habitat and how they would sit within it… how they might stand, curving and bowing. The completed clay mushrooms were installed onto a large organic log, creeping out from the sides, as if they were engulfing the tree. The creations were added to an exhibition and sharing day at the allotment polytunnel, in which the children could admire their work on display.