Jessica Saliski is an artist full of just the right balance of sweetness and sass, just like the pins and other goodies she designs for Sugar Doilies.
She is a designer, maker and illustrator based out of Atlanta, operating under the name Sugar Doilies.
You'll find her designs on everything from enamel pins to cards and bandanas. Sitting down and chatting with Jessica, it's easy to feel her warmth and passion, but also her fire and drive to stir up a dialogue. She became a freelance designer / illustrator about 3 years ago, drawing her dessert-driven inspiration from her own experience with diabetes. Now, her designs not only acknowledge and nod to her health struggles but also to what it means to be modern woman and friend.
The pieces she creates for Sugar Doilies are not just for the sake of cuteness or trend (although they're so cute and there's no denying that enamel pins are on-trend) but also for the sake of community, female to female support, and the leveling of a skewed gender playing field.
Sad Girl Co: What is the role of females in the Atlanta creative scene? Do you feel that there's a diversity of gender and that women are given equal opportunity?
Jessica Saliski: I think our role now is to embrace inclusivity of EVERYONE, and to keep pushing forward, collaborate more and just keep creating. Because I do think that there is a lack of women and people of color being represented in the Atlanta creative scene. BUT that is changing, I think women/POC are starting to take ATL by storm. I have seen a bunch of female owned companies pop up in the last couple of years/months and it's very exciting.
SGC: Tell me about some of your favorite Sugar Doilies designs and why they're your favorite.
JS: I think a couple of my favorites would have to be the CUNT series, See You Next Tuesday Pins, that I created with a friend along with two other pins, Cute Cunt Crew and Best Cunt (some oldies we no longer make) - it reminds me of friends and the power of women coming together. And then my WuTang Ice Cream Cone pins, they remind me of Staten Island and my childhood listening to WuTang.
Jessica's "See You Next Tuesday" series is all about reclaiming the word that has long been used to demean and objectify women. While it's a word that makes many people uncomfortable, that's what Jessica is trying to change. By empowering this reclamation through her designs, she creates an environment where women support women and where even the smallest things -- like wearing a pin or putting a patch on your jean jacket -- can be a form of activism.
When asked about her thoughts on coming up as a woman in the creative scene, she reminisces on a time before she formally acknowledged the plight of women in the work place, but was constantly finding herself being looked down upon by male equals and her ideas often credited to men. It was experiences like this that pushed her to leave the structured workplace and become her own boss. Now, she's able to dive passionately into her work, explore her ideas freely, and use her skills to empower others like her and to encourage an environment of support among women in Atlanta's creative scene.
Her business has grown and this year her focus is on wholesaling her wares. She has about 30 products currently and is beginning seasonal designs and products as well. In the next few months, Jessica hopes to have her products in multiple stocklists nationwide.
Sugar Doilies is one to watch as the business grows alongside the city's burgeoning scene of women makers and creatives. Keep your eyes on Jessica Saliski.