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Bonbi Fruits of the Forest Blog — In the studio

Insta Round Up: Outdoors inspired...

This last week seems to have gone so fast...all I seem to be posting here is the weekly round ups of what I have been Instagramming! I have been working on getting the printed pieces for the new collection underway, making lots of screens and having some very long printing sessions in the studio...There is a sneaky peek of part of the new collection in this post and I will share more next week!

I have been carrying on with the #marchmeetthemaker challenge too, here's the next few days from it:

Day 6 (above): Today is all about raw materials...There is a whole world of raw materials that go into all things Bonbi, from the card I like to draw on to the hundreds of jewellery components I gather (and hoard) but the most fun to take a picture of are my screen printing inks...Yay for colour!🌈I mix them all myself using highly concentrated pigments and binders and have them stored in towering stacks of pots. Nearly all of my clothes have ink on them somewhere...

Day 7: This day was all about how it's made...There are so many processes involved in all of the things I make but one of the most satisfying is screen printing as it's so drawn out. Aside from making the actual design, colour separations have to be made then screens are stretched and coated with light sensitive diazo emulsion before being 'burned' under UV light and washed. Finally the printing can begin! This process alone takes a couple of days! The lightning bolt florals are the peek I mentioned! They are sleeve prints on the (last ever 😭) Bonbi slouch sweaters in my newest limited edition collection which launches later this month!! ✨❤️⚡️

Day 8: Today is all about 'where' (Bottom picture)...This is one of my favourite spots in the world and it's a 5 minute drive from our front door...I live in an area that other people come on holiday to, aren't I lucky?! It's one of 4 very local beaches in our corner of the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. I grew up in this area and after moving away to study in Brighton where I stayed for a few years after university finished, the draw of the homeland was too great so my boyfriend at the time (now my husband!) and I moved back. We love it and are so grateful to be able to bring our little beans up in such a special place 🌊💕

Day 9: This day was all about how it's made...I've posted lots of bits about screen printing so far so here's one about something else: Personalised pins! Here is a little pony pin being branded with someone's initial. I whack a letter stamp with a hammer, give it a wipe of gilders paste to make the letter stand out and pack it up for shipping...

Day 10: Today is the day to recommend a maker! I found it really hard to just pick one so I have tagged a bunch of really great makers who live and work in our beautiful, rugged, almost sea locked county of Cornwall...Click HERE to see the original image and tap it to see the makers I tagged. We have such a great and diverse creative community down here...

Day 11: This day was all about post! The images is of our tiny village post office and shop that all of your Bonbi orders ship though...I use the Post Office Drop and Go system which means I have a pre paid account and can literally just drop it off and leave. My postmaster is great and lets me just put my bags behind the counter without having to ever queue which has been AMAZING for time saving...they have told me though that there have been times where customers can't get into the freezers in the shop because they've had all of the Bonbi mail spread out in the tops to count it all!!Here's a few other bits and pieces I posted this week...Spring pendants for the new season, hurrah! and roll on Summer!!Here is a page from a journal I made for Compendium who are an American company specialising in inspiring stationery products, kids books and kits. It was a really lovely project to work on and I will post more about it really soon...Lastly here are a couple of bits I made inspired by the sea glass that is taking over my life! A little wooden plaque and shapes for the first part of the Make Art That Sells Art Bootcamp!

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Insta Round Up: #marchmeetthemaker

How did March get here so soon?! Not that I'm complaining, we are into my favourite time of year and the clocks go forward later this month which I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to.

All of this month I am taking part in an Instagram challenge called #marchmeetthemaker where lots of creatives respond to prompts set out by illustrator Joanne Hawker. It's a great way to meet other creative types and have a peek at their processes and working spaces!

I know not all of my followers are on Instagram so I am going to share my posts about it here in these weekly round ups...here are the first 5 days!Day 1: So this is me (the one on the left obvs, that's the youngest of my offspring, Ellis on the right) I'm Lee and I illustrate and make artwork which I screenprint onto textiles, apply to jewellery and turn into pin designs! I live in Cornwall whose beauty and colours seep into my nature inspired work...I have two children (rascals the pair of them!) am an avid beachcomber (it's more of an obsession...) and lover of horses (dressage is my thing!) A couple of random facts: I'm named after my Chinese great grandad and use my middle name of May in my professional name so that people don't presume I'm a fella when they see my name written down, and I once accidentally ruined an arcade machine game of Who Wants to be a Millionaire for hip hop act Cannibal Ox by hitting the wrong button on their machine... (Girrrl?!)

Day 2: All about a favourite thing to make! My very favourite thing to do is DRAW as all of my designs are based on my drawings and artwork...but screen printing has a huge part of my heart too, especially making new designs, figuring out colour separations and making limited colour palettes work to optimum effect. Seeing it all come to life in ink on fabric is the icing on the cake, especially when they come out as well as this 'Indian Summer' scarf print I made last year! 🌸🌅🌿(I think it came out pretty well anyway...)

Day 3: (Pictured in the quad of images below) Today is all about workspace and I work from two different places...My studio, where I do all of the screen printing and order packing and keep all of my stock is a little barn that we converted at my parents farm nearly 10 years ago (😱feeling old...) It's lovely and bright with high A frame exposed beams and lots of big work benches. I also work from the rather more cramped 'procrastination station' under the stairs in our cottage. I do all of my drawing, planning, admin and digital designing here. I usually have to pick my way through a myriad of toys strewn on the living room floor to get to it. It's not ideal but means I can work from home in the evenings when the kiddlywinks are in bed (and the living room is once again tidy!) 🎨💕

Day 4: This day is all about tools...Here are the main tools of my work (computer, scanner and heat setter aside...) My screen printing squeegee, I have three of these, two small ones and a big one which I have had for ages...I love the layers of ink in the handles! A couple of pairs of my jewellery pliers, I have snips and round nose ones too, and this very small representation of my myriad of pens...I've got hundreds!! It's a bit out of control...

Day 5: Today is dedicated to boomerangs! The little video sort, not the thing you throw of course...I have been playing with glittery paint pens this week, so much fun!!! Picture 5 is a still from my boomerang but you can see the real thing HERE!I also posted a couple of my more successful sketches, another affirmation from the team at Make Art that Sells and a fish sketch. Art bootcamp starts this week and I can't wait to get cracking!Lastly I got some new pictures of my Mama Bear pins...perfect little trinkets for sweet mama bears!

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Insta Round Up: Florals Galore!

I have quite a varied bunch of things in my Insta round up this week! I have been making lots of imagery for new things and turning some old sketches into finished pieces. I am thinking of offering some larger posters of some of them in a new series so watch this space!Among other new things on the horizon are some more Pony Pins...I have them in pink still but there will be some new colours soon. The general consensus on Instagram was for mint green and peach which I very much like the sound of.New business cards...I freshened up the business card offering with some of my more recent drawings alongside my favourites from the last batch. It's funny seeing them all together, theres a heavy emphasis on pink and red isn't there?!I also shared a mirror I drew for fun, they don't get any easier to photograph!!Lastly I made this image in response to a positive affirmation prompt from the Lilla Rogers and the team at Make Art That Sells...They offer positive affirmations every Monday for artists to illustrate and I was delighted to have this drawing featured on their Instagram account! It looks like I am mostly horses, stars, moons, lightning and florals at the moment...

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Insta Round Up: Work in Progress

I try and draw every day if I can. Even if its just a quick sketch or a little bit of work towards a larger project I will draw something. It keeps the ideas flowing and my hand in tune with my eyes...It's kind of like a muscle that needs to be kept exercised for optimum results!

I have had quite the productive week this last week with lots of successful drawing being done for the new collection as well as a few other fun pieces I made in my sketchbook! I shared a few of them over on Instagram as well as a digital snippet of some work in progress for the new collection and a little stone I made...

I hate it when things are spelled wrong and after drawing this piece late at night and then posting it the following morning, I was mortified to have it pointed out to me that I had only put one 'o' on the first 'too' I thought it looked wrong but had that blindness you get when you have looked at something for a long time! A quick patch later and here is the result. I kind of like that it isn't perfect now, because lets face it, in art it doesn't go totally right all of the time, especially with non erasable pens!

The digital work in progress snippet!

I also took my paint markers to a piece of coloured paper and I REALLY like how it came out! I'll be doing more work in this line for sure.

Lastly, of course it was Valentines Day too and a happy customer shared this sweet image from my now discontinued Lovebirds Card range. I really need to make more cards for the shop, they have always been so popular!

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100 Days of Random Colours… Week 1

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen that I am taking part in this years 100 Day Project (#the100dayproject) which is a project where you are invited to think of a theme and create something along that theme every day for 100 days…I almost didn’t take part as I couldn’t think of a theme that I would want to stick with for that long, 100 days is a looong time and a lot of elaborations on one subject! Then about 10 days ago I was about to embark on one of my (almost) daily sketchbook scribbles and I decided to pick three colours at random from my pencil case, the resulting image was made with colours I wouldn’t normally choose and I really liked the challenge and process. So my idea for my own 100 day theme was decided upon right then!

Each day I am choosing three sharpies (I have a lot…), one fine point felt pen and flicking down a colour on my 4 colour bic biro and seeing where they take me…

Here are the first seven days:

Day 1: Easing in gently with some florals of course.#100daysofrandomcolours Day 1 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 2: So not my usual colour choice (no pink! No orange!) but it worked well with this little horse…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 2 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 3: Colours chosen by Ruby, which is as good as random considering she is three…can you guess what her favourite colour is?!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 3 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 4: A heavy orange and purple bias but with a touch of black biro it came good!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 4 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 5: Trying something a little darker…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 5 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 6: Though it was a beautiful sunny day these colours compelled a stormy scene…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 6 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 7: Pink and purple made for another floral number!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 7 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestIt’s not been too hard so far, the choices have been kind, but I am kind of looking forward to the sludgy colour day…Follow me on Instagram (@bonbiforest) to keep up with the daily challenge or check back here next week for the next instalment!

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Part of my heart is made of printing ink…

Lee PrintingThis week has been a busy week of scarf printing…Lots of moons, stars and tiny hearts have been squeegeed (yeah, squeegee is actual word and one of my favourite things about screen printing!) on the printing bench. I even found myself wearing stars while printing stars at one point. I’m surrounded by them! Not that I mind, I like stars.

Scarf Stack

Star PrintingI am a self taught screen printer, one of my biggest regrets when I left art school was never to have ventured into the printing rooms and tried it out. When I started to learn it at home, a few people told me I wouldn’t be able to do it without all of the proper equipment…I’d need hinges and clamps and a big sink, a pressure washer and an exposure unit etc and I almost didn’t try it, but I thought ‘what’s wrong with strong arms, a shower head and a tin foil lined lampshade with a 100 watt bulb?’ It turned out, absolutely nothing! All it took was a call to a screen print supplies company to ask exactly what I needed and quite a bit of trial and error (and inky finger prints where they shouldn’t be) to get me started.

In a way I am glad I leaned to print like that, that my shyness stopped me from using all the equipment at art school. It meant I could start at home on the dining room table without feeling like I needed to be doing it ‘properly’ because I knew no other way.

I still use a similar rustic set up, I hold the screens down by hand and I still use a foil lined lampshade with a 100 watt bulb to burn my screens. These days though I do have the luxury of a studio with a big Belfast sink and long, deep printing bench and I did treat myself to a proper fabric ink heat setter several years ago but the premise is still the same.

Printing Printing Hands Printing 2I LOVE screen printing. I love the possibilities and the limitations. I love working out designs based around what I know about it and what I have yet to learn. I love the trial and error and mixing of inks, the messy sink, ink under my fingernails, the total hands on, hand printed nature of it.

Who knew that years ago when I said out loud to someone that I regretted not trying screen printing at art school that one day it would form a huge part of how I make my living? Man, I’m so glad I learned how to do it, sometimes you’ve just got to take a leap and give something a go…You never know where it might take you!

Printing 1

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Leafy…

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 14.56.36It’s been a leafy, botanical sort of week…

I finally found time to redesign the little origami pouches that Bonbi Forest jewellery is sent out in (more pics soon) and play with colours for a new scarf design for Spring…I say new, I started it last summer before Ellis was born but was never happy with the placement and colours and I found wielding and washing a 60x60cm screen with a 8 1/2 month preggy belly a bit too much like hard work, so I gave up on it.

But Spring is just around the corner and it’s going to be perfect so colour experiments are underway!

In other news the new ‘Forever’ Necklace and Bracelet had a feature in the Guardian Valentines gift guide, so I’ll be hand stamping lots of personalised initials for lots of loved up people this afternoon!

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 14.56.57Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 14.56.46

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No Star to me…

Forever-Necklaces-StudioThey are in the shop! The new jewellery pieces I have been working on went live in the shop last week, a little treat for that person who’ll be with you forever and a day or someone who is the brightest star in your sky…

I mentioned before that these new pieces were inspired by the inscriptions on 15th Century Poesy Rings, of which I picked two of my favourites and had them printed onto Maple veneered wooden charms with fronds of leaves and tiny stars. Each phrase is available as a necklace or a bracelet and you can choose to have two personalised hand stamped initial charms added to the chains too, cute eh?

It’s kind of timed to be for Valentines (I like a bit of romance) but as always I don’t like the idea of limiting the appeal of love tokens to just that of romantic love, so think of these as gifts for other special women in your life too, maybe a sister, mother, daughter, aunt, grandmother or your bestest friend in the world too perhaps?

Have a lookie in the shop and see what you think!

Forever-Bracelet Forever-Necklaces No-Star-Bracelet No-Star-Necklaces

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A catch up…

pile of pendantsThe new pendants are selling like hotcakes, thank you to everyone who has bought one! I have noticed a sudden increase in June birthstone personalisation…are you a June baby? Perhaps one of them is for you!

If you would like to read a bit more about what it is to live and work in Cornwall, about how my work has developed since becoming a mother and other Bonbi things then head on over to the Nomads Clothing website. They were kind enough to feature an interview with me on their blog!

There have also been a couple of lovely blog features elsewhere…the Know Thyself Pendants were featured on Style Cartel over the weekend (lovely aside from the misspelling of my name, we’ll forgive them though…) and my paintings and prints had some big ups on the amazing art blog Artistic Moods which is filled to the brim with inspiring treats for your eyes…

Bonbi Forest instagram followers will be aware that I have new things brewing again…one of them being a new Bonbino baby who is due in August (exciting times ahead!!) and the rest being new prints of stars, florals and pineapples and other bits and pieces. I also have Christmas on the brain but no one wants to hear about the festive season in June, so you’ll have to wait for that…

newdesigns

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Sorting…

I’ve been looking out a few originals that I made last year to add to the shop, including this sketch for ‘Apple Eaters’ which was made into a five colour screen print (available here). It’s one of my favourites!

I’m hoping to have them in the shop soon…

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 11.38.59

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