Let’s Talk SHOP: Jill Ellen Chambers

Abby Leon, Paradigm Gallery Director

A headshot of the highlighted artist, Jill Ellen Chambers.
Jill Ellen Chambers. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Today we proudly introduce you to the spirited Jill Ellen Chambers! Jill is best known for her exceptionally hand-painted, limited-edition ornaments. She also specializes in a variety of holiday décor, all of which are illustrative and whimsical in nature. Every year we look forward to Jill’s artwork kickstarting the various holiday seasons in the gallery, and this week she brought us her infamous Halloween creations! We are honored to have the opportunity to share a peek into Jill Ellen Chamber’s life as an artist, her process, and a sampling of brand-new work currently displayed in the Paradigm Gallery!

Jill Chambers knew she wanted to be an artist from the very beginning. As a child, she loved to practice and design her own calligraphy styles, and later moved into sketching and painting. All her inspiration came from her surrounding environment in upper, and later central, Michigan. The meadows, the ponds, and the wildlife in her backyard provided rich and stimulating material to draw from.

After graduating with a B.F.A. from Michigan State University, Jill began her own graphic design business in West Michigan. However, she didn’t stop there– she also took up children’s book illustration. The mix of imagination and storytelling was where she found her place: “When I’m creating, I’m also telling a story. All these years later, when I’m designing ornaments and creating Halloween art as my full-time business, I still draw from the same source that I relied on as an illustrator all those years ago. That’s such a positive place for me. When I’m in my studio, I’m smiling all the time. It makes me so happy inside. This is truly my passion and I feel so lucky to do so.”

Jill’s ornaments start as small, loose sketches with the final work drawn in Adobe Illustrator, a vector-based graphics and design software program. The outline of the completed design is then transferred and laser cut into birch wood using special equipment. Lastly, the ornaments are intricately hand-painted with watercolors, paying special attention to the details and working with the wood grain. Most of her ornaments come in signed and numbered limited editions of 60. However, she also has an open line of just-for-fun and souvenir pieces.

Her finished ornament shows two witches, one in black and one in purple, holding hands. Their legs are raised in a dance, and one holds a broom above the others head. In between this a black cat.
Broom Dance, watercolor on birch wood, $56 at the Paradigm Gallery.
A single witch stands with her arms outstretched, in one is a mouse and in the other is a broom. She wears a purple dress and a spiderweb cloak. Her green skin stands out against the black hat adorning her curling, black hair, that is topped by an owl.
Spellbound, watercolor on birch wood, $36 at the Paradigm Gallery. Photo courtesy of the Paradigm Gallery.

To see more of Jill’s artwork in person or to purchase your very own Jill Ellen Chamber’s original, come visit us at the Paradigm Gallery: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm; Thursday 10am-8pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm.

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