Artist: Jill Schiller

Artist Jill Schiller creates designs and uses them in different formats and on various products. We spoke to her about her small business and the strategies she uses to grow.


Paintings by Jill Schiller. See her artist profile at


ABI:  What is your background, and how did your experience lead to what you are doing today?

JS:  My mom was an elementary art teacher, so when I was growing up there was always art around the house. As a kid, I was amazed at my mom’s ability to sketch cool patterns on scraps of paper while on the phone. I always wanted to doodle like this, but all I saw was the blank piece of paper and didn’t know where to start.


Pen and Ink drawing by Jill Schiller. See her artist profile at


That changed when I started to combine symbols I had drawn for an alphabetic code with the Ukrainian Pysanky egg decorating technique my mom taught me. I found that by taking one or more of my symbols as a starting point, I could build patterns around that base.


Embroidery work by Jill Schiller. See her artist profile at


My first doodles were sketches that I later used to decorate eggs. I quickly found that I enjoyed drawing the designs much more on paper than an egg’s 3-D surface. Eventually I started to sketch designs for specific people, adding a background color, and turning them into a card for that person.


Rainbow blanket by Jill Schiller. See her artist profile at


Upon seeing a Swedish weaving embroidered piece done by piece my great aunt, I was intrigued by the geometric patterns in the stitching. I began to research Swedish weaving embroidery, and found patterns for embroidering blankets. My first few blankets were gifts. When I decided to try selling my artwork, everyone encouraged me to bring the embroidery to the craft shows too.


Swedish weaving embroidery by Jill Schiller. See her artist profile at


ABI:  How have you leveraged your designs through creating different products?

JS:  In my first year selling my artwork, my main products were greeting cards that featured my designs. However, as a vendor I found that few people were interested in purchasing cards. This led me to look for other ways I could feature my designs.


Design collage of work by Jill Schiller. See her artist profile at


By talking to other artisans and researching online I learned how to use prints of my designs to turn out magnets, jewelry, and most recently, coasters. Being a vendor at art festivals is helpful because customers have the chance to tell you what kinds of products they would like. If enough customers are looking for a particular product, I will do the research to see if I can find a cost-effective way to produce that product. The primary reason I now carry embroidered tote bags is because so many customers who were interested in the embroidery on my afghans and table runners asked if I had any embroidered bags.


Tote bag with embroidery by Jill Schiller. See her artist profile at


ABI:   What have you found to be the most lucrative ways to sell your artwork?

JS:  Currently, I sell my artwork mainly through arts and crafts shows. I started applying to art shows in order to help promote my business and start building a name for myself in the art community. Every show I’ve attended has been a great learning experience, both because I am able to talk directly to customers and because I’ve been able to meet other artisans who have been happy to give suggestions and advice.


Mosaic painting by Jill Schiller. See her artist profile at


Many artisans have provided me with new avenues/resources I hadn’t come across before. I have been focusing on art fairs in the Rochester and Finger Lakes areas in New York State. Keeping up with the inventory needed for the craft shows is a full-time job at the moment, but I do hope to expand in the future. I’d like to apply to shows outside these areas and look into online and brick and mortar channels where I can sell my artwork.


Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • Posterous
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter