QUIRKY dolls, unsettling collages and glorious journals literally bursting with colour – stepping across the threshold into the world of artist Jill Carter is taking a trip into a delightful if slightly unsettling fairyland.

Jill, a multi-media artist from Broad Hinton, certainly carries something of the otherworldly with her.

Sitting in the Victorian style living room of the Richard Jefferies Museum, with a clutch of uncanny handmade dolls, some animal skulls by the fireplace and speech bubbles inserted on the black and white portrait photographs, the boundary between animate and inanimate seems quite undecided.

She has a pair of scissors in her hand and is snipping out pictures as we speak – a little like one of the classical goddesses of fate, measuring out portions.

Yet despite the skulls and the sense of the uncanny, the mood here is playful not gloomy. Jill’s work – her own creations, performative story-telling and social engagement projects – are full of life and joy and imagination, even those exploring the darker side of life.

Now one of her sculptures – called The Journeyers – has been selected to appear in the prestigious Royal West of England Academy’s 165th Open Exhibition, which opened on October 1.

“The Journeyers are part human, part animal, part vegetable,” she explains. It’s about metamorphosis and change.”

The strange, striding figures are made from found objects, textiles and natural landscape findings, presented in a glass and lead vitrine box.

Jill was also invited by the RWA to lead a special drawing class at the academy, on October 30 – the day before Halloween.

“The event is called Life Into Death Drawing, and it is on the subject of death,” she explains.

“I will be in the middle of the gallery as an installation myself, with all my talismanic dolls, and I will be talking about how they came into being using found materials and giftings, and how I transmute their use.”

She will facilitate the evening with Hannah Murgatroyd, and participants will draw directly from models restaging some of the most chilling images in the history of art. Hannah will guide people on ways to immortalise the mortal and capture the mood through drawing. Jill will be offering her dolls and bundles are subjects for still life studies.

Jill has worked in the arts for 20 years. After a career as a shiatsu practitioner, she studied art at Swindon College.

“I went to a ceramics class, and the teacher said, ‘you are creative’ and I said ‘no I am not!’” Jill recalls.

“They said to try the access course – so I did. And ended up with a first in fine art.”

Afterwards she did an MA in fine art at Bath Spa University, and then began a career as an artist and in engagement art – working with individuals and communities.

Jill has a particular passion helping people explore the theme of journeys, as well as the stories and cycles of life.

She has worked in education and health settings, and with the National Trust, as an artist in residence in a shepherd’s hut at Lacock Abbey.

The Open Exhibition at the RWA in Bristol runs till December 3. To book your place on Jill’s workshop, please contact sophie.bristol@rwa.org.uk. Visit jillcarterart.com.