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Bonbi Fruits of the Forest Blog — News

100 Days of Celebimals!

If you follow me on Instagram and/ or Facebook (where I am a few days behind my posts on Instagram on this project...) you will have seen that this year for the 100 Day Project I have just completed #100daysofcelebimals !

At Christmas time when we had lots of family gatherings my cousin came to visit and she had just been to a fancy dress party where the theme was to dress as a celebrity/animal...Naturally we started to think up lots more of them and in fact, the conversation carried on for months via text between us and my husband, each time one of us thought of another silly one I put them on a list. They would pop into my head at the most random times...I thought of RENEE GAZELLWEGER just after spotting a picture of a gazelle in town, and BEATRIX OTTER while watching Peter Rabbit with my kiddos!

I just had to do something with them all and so my next 100 days theme was born...100daysofcelebimals

100 days later I have just completed the project on Instagram! 100 Celebimals all drawn with marker pen in my sketchbooks (well, 99 of them...I used myself for the last one and I'm hardly of celebrity status) Some of the drawings are better than others as I had more time to do them each day or got my hand lettering lined up properly! They were so fun to do though and I (think...) my hand lettering skills have improved slightly because of it. Of course there is the bonus that I have drawn so many animals I wouldn't even have thought to draw, or that I even knew about before (who knew about the Cuscus or the Fossa?!)

If you want to see the whole project on Instagram you can do so HERE!! (you will have to be logged in to see them all) Or you can see the "not quite finished yet" album of them over on Facebook HERE!!

I am currently thinking what to do with them...some cards or postcards perhaps. Does that sound good to you? Which ones are your favourites? Let me know!

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Creative Marker Art and Beyond!

I am very pleased and VERY excited to write this post as it is about my first book!!

I have been working on it since September last year and it is finally due for publication on September 7th this year...It is called Creative Marker Art and Beyond and is a how to guide for creative artwork and gifts using the humble marker pen. Creative Marker Art and Beyond - Cover

I have been using markers as a drawing medium seriously for about 18 months now and they have revolutionised my working practise. While I have a gorgeous studio for packing orders, making jewellery and screen printing in, my workspace at home (which is where I usually get to do my drawing when the children are tucked up asleep) is less than desirable. I found it such a faff to put my laptop away to make room for all of my paints and pencils that I just wasn't bothering very often and my artwork was suffering. I do design digitally quite a lot but I missed the analogue of paper and colour and the challenge of making something right when it's not gone to plan and you can't press 'undo'. So when a half price Sharpie offer caught my eye in WHSmith's, my life changed...Creative Marker Art and Beyond - Florals

Scroll back through this blog and you will find 2016's 100 day Challenge that I did via Instagram. I wanted to do a drawing a day using the markers I had bought and #100daysofrandomcolours was me blindly selecting 5 pens from my pencil case and seeing where the colours took me (each day for 100 days!)

Because I was drawing with markers in a hard bound sketchbook I could draw anywhere...no messy paint and water, no pencil shavings, no stylus or screens. My lap and the sofa became my happy art place and everything changed. Since markers came into my life I have been non stop drawing just about every single day, ideas have flowed, way more new stuff has actually been seen through from idea to finished piece and I got a book deal.Creative Marker Art and Beyond - Glass Project

So back to that: The book is choc full of stuff you can do with different types of marker pens and I had such fun writing it. It has creative prompts for when you just don't know what to draw, marker pen exercises to teach you how to get the most out of your markers and step-by-step projects on how to make some pretty useful stuff using your pens...as well as an ideas gallery at the back for when you've got the hang of your pens and want to take it further!

You can pre-order the book on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2u3H9Lw

Maybe markers will change your life too? (Oh, how I love a cheesy sign off...)Creative Marker Art and Beyond - Mandala Hoops

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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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100 Days of random Colours…Week 4

I’ve got a bit behind in posting these updates haven’t I? I’ve been busy working on a couple of commissions lately which I am so excited to share but I can’t yet!

Here’s week 4 of this project. It’s going well, just one colour howler in there of too many dark colours mixed with too many greens…that one was really hard!

Day 22: A colourful selection called for a rainbow of course…This one is reflected in a lake of lily pads, though I realised afterwards I should have put a frog in there!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 22 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi Forest Day 23: Another colourful selection, weirdly similar to yesterday’s but with slightly different pens…I’ve never done parrots before but these colours spoke to me of their tropical vibes.#100daysofrandomcolours Day 23 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 24: Golden pony in the sunshine! Despite the brown felt pen, the combination of neon yellow and pink with green biro gave this a surprisingly pastel look…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 24 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 25: This one was HARD! Hence the slightly homework still life vibe it’s got going on…I mean what to do with black, darkest blue, brown and neon green with more green in the biro?!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 25 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 26: So I know strawberries aren’t in anyway in a similar fruit vein to oranges and lemons but that’s what i thought of when I saw these colours so that’s what I drew…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 26 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 27: Two purples, blue and and a tan felt pen with black biro…I thought I’d draw a sleepy cat squashing some flowers.#100daysofrandomcolours Day 27 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 28: Pink, blue and gold sharpie with brown felt pen and red biro were plucked from the pencil case and inspired by a ride to the beach the day before, so emerged this cliff top scene.#100daysofrandomcolours Day 28 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestI’ll catch up with weeks 5 and 6 very soon! In the meantime if you’d like to see more search for me (@bonbiforest) over on Instagram where I am keeping up with these daily!

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Pins pins pins!

Pin badges seem to be having a bit of a renaissance at the moment and I have jumped on the bandwagon with a couple of Bonbi pin designs!

Be Brave has been one of my most popular pendant designs and after a few requests I have turned it into a pin too. It is slightly smaller than it’s pendant cousin but is available in the same gold or silver plate and is another little reminder that in times of self doubt, to take heed of your inner Lionheart…Bonbi Forest - Be Brave PinI also have some Personalised Pony Pins! These guys are already proving to be a hit. They are available as they are in pink or blue and in gold or silver plate or you can have an initial hand stamped in the heart on the pony’s bottom! Too cute.Bonbi Forest - Pony PinsBonbi Forest - Pink Pony PinsBonbi Forest - Personalising Pony PinsAll are available for £8 and with free shipping (Unless you buy something else from the shop too, then normal shipping applies) Head to the brand new Badges section of the shop to see more!Bonbi Forest - New Pins May 2016

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100 Days of Random Colours… Week 2

I haven’t missed a day yet! It’s a really nice project to carry on with this one, I fit in the drawing while I have a brainless half hour after the children are in bed, watching some TV and chilling out before I start a bit more work for the evening…

Day 8: Horses, of course…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 8 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 9: I’m going to be drawing some birds for a project soon so i decided to get a bit of practise in with these pretty colours (I must retire that pink soon, it is really very worn out…)#100daysofrandomcolours Day 9 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 10: These colours were a definite departure for me but this one was FUN!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 10 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 11: The first day that the colours have been hard…Black, dark green, brown and yellow Not pretty!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 11 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 12: A hit of neon pink with dark pink and red redressed the balance after the horror show of Day 11…ahhh…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 12 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 13: We went on numerous beach trips last week so it was inevitable that the sea and it’s treasures would inspire me at some point, especially when that silver Sharpie came out of the bag!#100daysofrandomcolours Day 13 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestDay 14: A little exercise in perspective after discovering that neon yellow is REALLY hard to work with when teamed with dark pinks and purples. It kind of looks ok here but in real life it’s a bit jarring…#100daysofrandomcolours Day 14 | Lee May Foster-Wilson -- Bonbi ForestSo there’s week two, done and dusted! If you can’t wait for next week’s round up, don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram (@bonbiforest) to see each day AS IT HAPPENS. It’s pretty edge of the seat stuff…

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Origami…

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New jewellery packaging alert!

If you have ever bought any Bonbi Forest jewellery you will know that several years ago I developed some packaging based on the Victorian Puzzle purse.

I watched the Jane Campion film ‘Bright Star’ when it came out in 2009 and had an epiphany. In it, a love letter is given which is folded into a little square and the message is on the inside. I thought it was so beautiful I decided I wanted to base my packaging on it and my puzzle purse wrapper was born!

The Bonbi puzzle purse has assumed many colours in the past (why just stick to one when you can use them all?! A branding nightmare…) but it has been well over due a revamp and if you order something now it will come in the new, very leafy 2016 version!

Here’s a peek:

 

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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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New years resolution…

Happy 2016! Last year got rather busy after our little boy Ellis was born on the 6th August hence the lack of posts here…

So my new years resolution is to post more here, I’m afraid it gets a little overlooked in favour of the instant easiness of Instagram but I know not everyone is an IGer so I’ll be sharing those posts here as well as other musings, probably art inspiration, work in progress etc.

Lets see if I can do this!

To start off, here is my first sketchbook scribble of the year…Christmas was SO BUSY I just didn’t get the time to draw for a several weeks so my hand is a little out and the horse is a bit wonky and ill looking but the creative impulses are back to firing, hurrah!wonky horse

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