Jane Foster has put her creative streak to good use, producing bright and colourful screenprints that take their inspiration from Scandinavian design.
Jane Foster has always had an artistic streak, even as a child, and spent five years in music college training to be a teacher. But her creativity was to take her in a different direction, when she discovered a natural talent for screen printing.
“For years I wanted to carve out a different career from teaching as I knew it would burn me out eventually,” Jane explains.
“I visualised becoming self-employed and working from home so I could spend time with my daughter and do something I really enjoyed. I wasnʼt entirely sure how it was going to happen, but I took very small steps each day in the right direction.”
Today, Jane divides her time between her business and raising her three-year-old daughter with her partner Jim. The family live in a contemporary eco home in Totnes, Devon, where Jane has a purpose built studio room in which to do her design work, screen printing and sewing.
The house itself features furniture from the 50s and 60s, including patterned Formica pieces and birch ply chairs, and Jane takes much of her inspiration from this era for her screenprints too. She says: “My influences come from several sources: designs from the 50s and 60s, Scandinavian design, bits from my parents and simple illustrations from illustrators such as Dick Bruna. I love bold, simple, happy designs, which appeal to children and adults alike.”
Many of Jane’s own designs come to her in moment of spontaneity and she will often sketch out her ideas over a coffee in her local café. She says: “I don’t usually do many versions and the process happens quite quickly. At first I use a 2B pencil and then I go over the design in a black ink pen before rubbing the pencil lines out.” And if a creative rut should halt the process? “That’s normally solved by coffee and cake! A large slice of Victoria sponge cake or banoffee pie usually does the trick.”
Jane is a firm believer in following your dreams and in the early days of self-employment would often write her ambitions in a notebook to help keep her focused. “The list included both small goals and larger ones - ones that at the time seemed way out of my league. One goal was to get my work into Habitat and miraculously it happened the week I became a mum.”
And on the list today? “In ten years’ time I would like to be designing fabrics for IKEA or Marimekko and also other items such as storage tins, mugs and trays.
“I see myself still working in my studio, making items from the fabrics I collect and still doing the odd bit of screen printing, which I canʼt ever imagine getting tired of.”