Talented artist and Barefoot Books illustrator Rachel Griffin now adds Christmas tree designer to her list of credentials! Her unique decorations (like the one pictured above) are inspired by her gorgeous illustrations from her picture book The Twelve Days of Christmas. By using memorable icons from her book, Rachel’s array of materials and vibrant colors help weave a story throughout the tree.
Rachel traveled all the way from England for this special event! The tree is now available to view at the Concord Museum.*
While she was here, Rachel delighted us by sharing her insight on the finished product:
Now that you’ve finished, do you have a new favorite ornament, or is it still the three French hens?
The French hens are still my favorite individual ornaments, but as a whole I really like the way the “three geese a laying” have been displayed on the tree—the blue eggs look good where they hang! Instead of painting them, I drew on dirt which give them a more natural look. And everyone seems to love the Indian elephants!
What has the entire process felt like for you?
I’ve really enjoyed it! Now that it’s all done, it’s wonderful seeing the final product, though it took longer than I thought to get here.
What are you hoping viewers will get from your Family Tree experience?
I’m really hoping that way people look at the tree will be the way they look at my book. That they will then look more deeply at the details of the pieces. When you see the French hens, for example, you can then examine it up close and see all the fabric and beads that go with it.
Were there any challenges throughout the process and if so, how did you overcome them?
When I finished decorating yesterday, I felt fine about it but not brilliant. Taking it down today and then doing it all over again was a little overwhelming because there was so much work to do! Especially when rehanging the pears for the fifth time. I feel really pleased with it now. It reads just like the book—people can stare at each section and take it all in and then move to the next one. Its eye catching and familiar to the story and the song.
We go out to the moor and find an amazing branch—it takes a lot of time—everyone has their own opinion on what it should look like. I like to decorate it very simply.
Questions from Ambassadors:
Which page of Twelve Days is your favorite and why?
The first one because it was done in France when I was there for three months. I sketched the tree and added a French twist to it.
Rachel, your artwork is gorgeous! How did you develop this unique style?
It took a long time. When I was very little I was always collecting things and I still collect things. When on holiday and traveling, I just collect pieces. The creation of the Oxford calendars is where I really developed my style.
*Each year, the Concord Museum located in Concord, MA fills its galleries with over thirty uniquely decorated trees featuring artwork inspired by acclaimed children’s storybooks. If you’re in the area between November 25 through January 3, be sure to check out the exhibit for yourself! For more information about Family Trees or the Concord Museum visit www.concordmuseum.org.
Read the book that inspired the decorations!
A sparkling version of the popular Christmas song, in a new edition embossed with silvery-gold foiling and beautiful fabric illustrations by Rachel Griffin. This book includes an insightful note from the illustrator, information about the celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas (history, including the pre-Christian tradition, and customs), and the history and meaning of the song itself.
For babies to 10 years; Hardcover ($14.99)
Join the conversation! Add your comments below.