Posted 02 Jul 2019

Illustrating independent Shrewsbury

A new exhibition from digital artist Jessie Hughes at The Hive celebrates our wonderful independent shops. My Shrewsbury magazine spoke to the artist about the inspiration behind her eye-catching designs and asked her why she is so keen to support our fabulous town shops.
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Jessie Hughes has found her path with Theia & Bug, producing illustrative, fun and quirky designs for clothing and accessories as well as personalised commissions. The daughter of shoemaker Brian Pitts (Elfin Shoes), Jessie is entirely self-taught. She (quite literally) doodled her way through various jobs - as a housemistress at Thomas Adams School in Wem, a teaching assistant, conveyancing officer and more recently as a bookseller at Button & Bear in Castle Street, Shrewsbury – but it is drawing that has always captured her imagination. She hand-draws onto a tablet using an Apple pencil. Recent projects have included artwork for Shoplatch Pop-Up Park and murals in Oswestry Hospitals.

Jessie’s business is named after her daughter Theia, who she calls ‘Bug’, now aged five and a half – Jessie’s original intention was to create more inclusive designs for clothing as Theia has a severe squint and Jessie wanted her drawings to feature children with adaptive needs. Jessie’s work was featured on BBC Sport, after she drew the visually impaired skiier Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide Jennifer Kehoe at the finish line of the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.


Jessie’s new exhibition ‘Illustrating Independent Shrewsbury’ captures our wonderfully eclectic town shops, with all their quirky and colourful differences.

She explains: “I love the straight lines – there is something really satisfying about drawing parallel lines and there are certainly lots in the architecture of Shrewsbury even in the quirky older buildings! It’s really beautiful here, there’s a proper community – people say hello to one another - and we have a ridiculous number of independents. Every coffee shop you visit you end up chatting to someone you know. I wanted the exhibition to capture that and to be for the people of Shrewsbury, it’s my way of giving something back to the businesses that give us so much.”

There will be an opportunity to buy Jessie’s prints at her exhibitions at The Hive, Belmont (July 2 – 29) and at The Shrewsbury Coffeehouse on Castle Gates (August 11). Her work will also be on display in the window of Tanners from September 10 – November 15.

My Shrewsbury magazine

My Shrewsbury is our town's dedicated, bi-monthly local magazine, packed with quirky features about personalities, places and events and showcasing the very best local writers, artists and photographers. It has a bold aim to be the best hyper-local magazine in the country and always loves to hear from readers!

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