Posts tagged ‘ornaments’

Every year, Barefoot Books selects one of their beloved illustrators to decorate the main tree at a local fundraising event*. With an emphasis on art in all that Barefoot does, our tree is a reflection of the creativity and imagination that runs through all our books. This year Rachel Griffin, illustrator of the brand-new Twelve Days of Christmas, is designing original ornaments based on her book and will be travelling all the way from England to celebrate this special event with us! Rachel’s artistic style includes hand-sewn fabric collage illustrations made from a variety of different materials and vibrant colors. Unlike most versions of Twelve Days of Christmas, she incorporates imagery from various cultures including pipers from India and drummers from Africa. Her artwork and new take on the classic story makes this the perfect book for the holiday season!

The brilliantly gifted artist is hard at work creating her decorations for this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas tree and graciously shared with us some insight into her creative process.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from books, museums, art galleries and my magpie eye always on the lookout for inspiring images.

There is so much detail in your artwork, what has the process been like for you creating these decorations?

The process has been quite straightforward forward as I am using the book I illustrated as a reference to work from, the visual and color scheme work had been done so it is just about using inspiration from the book to come up with 3-D images for each verse. I have sketched out the elements from each verse and created patterns for the birds and hearts, they seem to come together as I am sitting at my desk creating. I have all the materials I need for each verse laid out on my desk and by the time I have finished every inch of my studio is covered with materials: sequins, beads, etc.

Your art features many different materials, where do you find such interesting pieces? Which are your favorite to work with?

I find all my collections of material from travelling, going to antique markets, charity shops, and unusual shops in cities. I never buy online as part of my process is in the collecting and finding. On this project I have found some amazing wool felt which is a dream to work with and the colors are amazing.

How is decorating a Christmas tree different from illustrating a book? How is it similar?

It is very similar to how I work on my illustrations as they are 3-D, so working on the decorations has been a natural progression for me. The only difference is that it’s trying to create each verse in the same way so they hang well
together, whereas in the book they stand on their own on each page.

Do you have a favorite ornament so far?

Three French hens — I love the colors I have used and the 3-D images I have thought of to go with the three fat French Hens!

*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

Read the book that inspired the decorations!

Twelve Days of Christmas

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)


It has been said that the world does not lack for wonders; what it can and does suffer from is our lack of ability to wonder. As a little girl, few things awoke my sense of wonder as much as the Christmas tree that stood in our hall each Christmas. I hasten to stress that the tree was far from being an artistic masterpiece; it was more of a ramshackle assemblage of every child’s rather wonkily-made ornaments; clumps of tinsel; bags of chocolate pennies (these disappeared extremely fast); erratically arranged angel hair; rather garish lights; and a papier-maché star that was usually lopsided. Still, to my young eyes it was an object of deep wonder.

The Statue of Liberty that adorns New York harbour has played in my imagination since I was a small child. But it was only when I went on a harbour tour last year that I discovered the statue was created by a French artist and was a gift from the people of France to the citizens of America. This memory has resurfaced in the past few weeks, as I have liaised with the exceptional French artist, Miss Clara, over her designs for the Barefoot Books tree that is our contribution to the Concord Museum’s Family Trees Exhibition.