Jess Grimsdale

2022 QEST Scholar - Traditional Signwriting

Jess did a foundation diploma in Fine Art at Stourbridge College of Art & Design before completing a BA in Illustration at Falmouth University. She then launched her own business from her studio in Bristol, doing a variety of signwriting and illustration commissions. These include house signs, business signs, shop fronts, narrowboats and restoration projects. In 2018 she worked for Gifford’s Circus, set-building, signwriting (working with QEST Scholar, Amy Goodwin), creating props, and painting wagons. She also regularly works for Carters Steam Fair, assisting with restoration and traditional painting of rides and equipment.

The main component of Jess’ scholarship is a course in reverse glass gilding with David A. Smith. She will learn to make traditional ‘Victorian’ style reverse glass signage, and be taught a variety of advanced decorative techniques, such as oil and water gilding, glue chipping and acid etching, to name a few. She will also do a short course in joinery tuition with master signmakers Ash and Sarah Bishop, and a course in wagon painting and scroll work.

As soon as I discovered traditional signwriting back in 2018, I knew immediately that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Since then I’ve made it my mission to learn and practice the skills needed to keep the craft alive, and I hope that by building on these skills and learning more advanced techniques, I can help it to flourish.