Posts tagged ‘twelve days of christmas’


From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel Griffin

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!

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel Griffin

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.

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel GriffinDo you have any favorite Christmas traditions in your family?

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.

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel Griffin

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.

From 'Twelve Days of Christmas' Illustrations to Hand-Made Ornaments | Barefoot Books and Rachel Griffin


Read the book that inspired the decorations!

The 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)


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 www.concordmuseum.org.

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)