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Bonbi Fruits of the Forest Blog — Inspiration

Got me some new pens…

Got me some new pens, broke out the gouache and got some things down on paper…

I like using mixed media: Biro, gouache, sharpie marker, felt tip and a touch of pencil are my tools of choice for drawing at present…not the most conventional combo but it seems to be working for me right now.

Lots of flowers are happening, new things are one the way!

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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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starryStars are never far from my mind it seems, stars, flowers, horses and trees tend to be my go-to when I am not sure what to draw next. It’s a good job these are my favourite things to draw and look at (caveat: aside from my family of course!) and once again little stars have found their way into my work…

I came across a very cute phrase while researching my latest Valentines designs last year: “No Star to me as Bright as Thee” which comes from the tradition of the Poesy Ring. I’d never heard of these before but stumbled across them while researching traditional love tokens and I absolutely adore the idea of them. They were popular in the 15th – 17th centuries in England and France and are finger rings given to show love and regard with a short inscription inside the band.

Some of the phrases are very sweet and some of them that were probably very sincere 500 years ago are pretty funny now: ” I am your lot refuse me not” and “I like my choyse”

I’ve repurposed a couple of my favourite of these phrases in my new Valentines jewellery which will be available soon…here’s a little taster!

No Star

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May Day

Happiest of Mays to you all..This month of my name and my birth will always be my favourite. The flowers are in bloom and Spring is turning to Summer, a good time of the year indeed!

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Waiting for the garden to bloom…

Bouquet-PaintingsSketchessketches2Spring is upon us and it is my favourite time of year! All that growth budding and all of that colour waiting to emerge…I’ve been painting and dreaming up some new springtime ideas lately and while I wait for the garden to bloom I’ve been seeking inspiration from some brilliant florists over on Instagram. If you like your flowers check these guys out. Such beauty!

1: amandataffinderflowers  –  2: saipua  –  3: nicamille  –  4: the_blue_carrotFloral-Inspiration

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Peachy Sky Inspiration…


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Reach out…

There are two new pieces in the shop: A scarf of hand stalks and a double chain necklace of reaching hands!

Hands are symbolic of so much in many different cultures. To me they are the means of my trade, in making things, my work has what we call ‘the hand of the artist’ showing in many aspects of it, from the hand applied images of the lockets to the screen prints and paintings. In another way they represent warmth and kindness, a hug, someone reaching out to help, holding hands with a beau or giving reassurance to a baby bean. I made these two pieces with those things in mind…

Hand-Stalks---Close-UpThe scarf features stalks, like trees or flowers but with hands reaching towards each other across a sky of stars…I like to think that when the scarf is worn as a shawl it is like a group hug of arms and hands wrapped around you. Ahhhh! It can be seen in the shop HERE.handsThe necklace has a hand on the locket reaching up and a raw brass stamped hand reaching down. It’s all black and gold and has a double chain…ready made and matchy layering!

Find it HERE in the shop…reachinghands1I have also put the prints from my last blog post in the shop too, they are available framed or unframed…head to the originals section of the shop to have a look!

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Sketching to print…

The Cornwall Design Fair has been and gone and as usual it was a lovely event! The prints I created for the curated exhibition received so many lovely comments and a few are off to new homes where I hope they will be enjoyed and live happily ever after.

When I designed the prints I decided I wanted them to have a combined graphic and watercolour feel which meant I would have to plan them very carefully and for the first time ever use more than two or three colours. Normally when I make a design it very quickly goes from quick biro sketch in my sketch book, quick drawing in photoshop to finished drawing and then onto the screens, but these needed a bit more than that so I decided to paint them out first…

The finished prints use five colours which is a brave new world for me, I even had to invest in some screen clamps to get the registration just right (a common piece of printing equipment in most studios I am told, but not in mine where most lining up is done by eye!) and designing them with solid colours and halftones to get the effect I was after was a challenge to be relished for sure.

Here they are on the left with their corresponding sketches on the right…

Standing/Thinking:standingthinking1standingthinkingGrazing:TrereifeTrereife2Apple Eaters:apple eatersappleeatersI am so pleased with them and I have loved comparing the prints with the original paintings. Paring down the colours was actually very fun and creating tertiary colours with layered halftones was eye opening for me. Cue a hundred and one new ideas about screen prints that I am itching to try!

I printed each design in an edition of 10, all signed and numbered, and will put them in the shop soon…

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Of late…

The seconds and samples sale launched last week and lots of pieces went super quickly…There are still bargains to be had though so head on over and have a look in the sale section of the shop if you are in the market for something perty to perk up your outfit!

I mentioned in my last post that things have been pretty busy around here and it is still all go! I like being busy but there has been time for play too, especially with the Rubes around to fill my time and heart…here are a few favourite pics from the last few weeks. They are all taken from Instagram so apologies if you have seen them before!

A few snippets of work but generally things I have found inspiring and am thankful for lately…

jun14a jun14b jun14c jun14d jun14e

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I painted these two paintings for the Girls Who Draw Masquerade Postcard book last year and they have recently returned to me from travels to various exhibitions. I forgot how much I liked these two and seeing them in the flesh again has reminded me, they were a bit of a departure but REALLY fun to do. At the time of making them I sketched down various other themes in my sketchbook and I am going to paint more of these nature masks, there’s so much possibility and I love the idea of masks made from limitless environments and elements: the ocean, a forest, thunderbolts, sparkling cities, dry deserts and entire mountains!

Forest Floor and Under Sea are both original paintings in Gouache on paper, come framed and are priced at £75 each. Available HERE.

Forest Floor Original Under Sea Original

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