Christmas card archive

Many artists, whether well-known or unknown, create their own Christmas cards, not for any commercial purpose as such, but as a gift to family and friends. I like to do this and it is something that I really enjoy thinking about ahead of time. The cards may be a little unusual and sometimes contain enclosures or three-dimensional elements. Or they can be very simple indeed. They always focus on just one element of Christmas. 

The media used varies from year to year, but a consideration is that several need to be made, one after the other, so something like a lino-cut, or a stencil, or a hand-made stamp can be useful - although I do sometimes hand-paint a design onto each. I make about 100 cards of these each year. 

Here I will archive the cards, documenting fourteen years of the designs.

More coming soon .....

Snip Dance Snip - Christmas 2014

Snip Dance Snip - Christmas 2014

Hand-painted illustration painted with acrylics on green card, mounted onto white scalloped A5 folded card. 'Make Your Own Snowflake' kit containing concertina'd sparkling, white tissue paper, two green card strips with holes punched at top, pink satin ribbon to hang completed snowflake and full, hand-drawn instructions printed onto silver A4 paper, then folded. All pieces for the kit were sealed inside a transparent, cellophane bag with sticker.

 

For the first time I decided to design a Christmas card that ties in with a book title. I selected a spread from my new Christmas book entitled When When When will it be Christmas?  The spread features a mouse in a pink tutu, snipping paper, to make snowflake decorations for Christmas. I thought it would be fun to devise a kit from which the recipient could make their own snipped, paper snowflake. After much engineering and several prototypes, I made one that worked well. The most difficult job was creating a set of instructions and carefully drawing them out to be printed.

It was all a lot of fun, but took much longer than I expected.

It became an interactive card as many people sent photos or tweeted/texted images of their completed snowflakes!

Snip Dance Snip - Christmas 2014 Snip Dance Snip - Christmas 2014 Snip Dance Snip - Christmas 2014 Snip Dance Snip - Christmas 2014

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh - Christmas 2013

A hand painted, abstract, mini-canvas and part painted wooden mini-easel. Hand painted, white hammered card with minimal, simplified, 'Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh' design. Both acrylics with gilding and fluorescent yellow. Sketch/exposition insert.
The items were wrapped in red, gold flecked tissue and sealed with a heart motif sticker.

This is the second Christmas card that I have based on gold, frankincense and myrrh. This time I have simplified the three into elements, colours and shapes. The canvas is abstract; the card illustrated with three icons. Both use a palette of primary colours plus black and white and gold. Both contain the same recognisable shapes. 

I was inspired this year by my visit to Matisse's chapel at Vence in Provence and wanted to try using bright, primary, stained glass window colours and simplified shapes to illustrate a theme. It's a great deal harder than it looks. 

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh - Christmas 2013 Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh - Christmas 2013 Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh - Christmas 2013

Star of Wonder - Christmas 2012

Multi media collage on white foam board. Stain-glass style, stencilled background. Materials include leather, copper sheet, animal print fabric/paper,gold lining fabric, die-cut wood, Indian hand-made embossed paper and glitter craft card.
The collaged card sits on hand painted die-cut card easel and I inserted assembly instructions. All were wrapped in white and gold tissue.

 'Star of Wonder' describes this card fully. A simple, collaged illustration of a 'huge, bold and wondrous star' above a small stable. Unintentionally, I have used the same theme as the previous year!

Star of Wonder - Christmas 2012 Star of Wonder - Christmas 2012

A Star Appeared Over A Small Building - Christmas 2011

Photo mounted on scalloped card with transparent star. Enclosure containing a lino-cut image printed onto a jig-saw in a cellophane bag. Digital design for jigsaw done on iPad using Brushes App.

The idea for this card started with a snowy black and white photo of my studio, taken in 2010. I thought about the small cold barn in Bethlehem and the star that appeared above it, to mark it's significance. So it became 'A Star Appeared Over A Small Building'. This card is actually about the creation of something and creativity itself. And the card was also created inside this building. I enjoyed making the same image with different media, but printing a four part lino-cut on an uneven blank jigsaw is difficult!

A Star Appeared Over A Small Building - Christmas 2011 A Star Appeared Over A Small Building - Christmas 2011 A Star Appeared Over A Small Building - Christmas 2011 A Star Appeared Over A Small Building - Christmas 2011

Paintbox For Christmas - Christmas 2010

Hand painted, wraparound 'paintbox' design in watercolour and gold paint on white folded card. Hand painted 'Christmas tree' tag with green/white vintage string. Card and tag insert wrapped in brown Kraft paper, taped with green/white, 'fir and owl' Christmas tape and tied with green/white vintage string.

I had been using a new watercolour paintbox, which was a gift. I was thinking about what to paint with my brand new paintbox? From this came the idea of a 'Paintbox For Christmas' theme. I thought it would be fun to ask the recipients of my card, this question -  "If you recieved a paintbox for Christmas - what would YOU paint?" So I painted for them, a paintbox and a Christmas tree tag and wrapped it like a gift. Many people replied with their ideas, so it ended up being an interactive card.

Paintbox For Christmas - Christmas 2010 Paintbox For Christmas - Christmas 2010 Paintbox For Christmas - Christmas 2010

Little Piece of Peace - Christmas 2009

Silver string decoration to hang. Multi media pieces pegged onto string with silver mini-pegs. White feather, deckle-edged photo, stamped card, dove design embossed into silver metal sheet and painted with glass paints, white card stamped with silver-inked letter blocks,deckle-edged instructions printed onto transparent grey plasticised paper. Enclosed in cellophane bag and tied with silver hologram ribbon. Posted in silver bubble Jiffy bag.

The theme chosen this year was 'peace'. I wanted to do something delicate, quiet, gentle and subtle. I decided on a 3D hanging decoration with a colour palette of blue, silver and white. Doves feature as symbols of peace and the white feather a symbol of surrender. Each piece is labelled with the words 'Little Piece of Peace' and numbered 1 - 5. I wanted to put in instructions and hoped that they would also be pegged onto the hanging.

Little Piece of Peace - Christmas 2009 Little Piece of Peace - Christmas 2009 Little Piece of Peace - Christmas 2009 Little Piece of Peace - Christmas 2009

Untangling the Christmas Lights - Christmas 2008

Stencilled and hand painted concertina card. Acrylics and metallic green stencil paint on ink blue card. Iridescent glitter.

One of my simplest Christmas cards!

Despite putting away our Christmas tree lights carefully each year, they always had to be untangled and the bulbs screwed in and replaced, before they would work. An onerous task, not necessary now with LED lights. I still prefer the old fashioned fairy lights though! The design features a tangle of lights, plugged in at the wall. It is painted in the dry-brush style that I use in my children's books.

Untangling the Christmas Lights - Christmas 2008

Christmas News - Christmas 2007

Hand painted white card with 3D paper chain kit enclosure. Paper chain pieces cut from gold, red and green card with printed, written and image based, accent pieces. The inside of every strip is printed with Christmas 2008 news. Bundle tied with festive, elasticated string.

A playful Christmas card design including a Christmas paper chain kit in festive colours. When you look a little closer, it is actually a comment on consumerism at Christmas. The card design features a slightly stylized, baby Jesus reaching up towards a colourful paper chain. The paper chain pieces are covered in a wealth of images and the current, topical news relating to Christmas, both good and bad. Plenty for the recipient to read and think about, while they have fun making the paper chain! 

Christmas News - Christmas 2007 Christmas News - Christmas 2007 Christmas News - Christmas 2007 Christmas News - Christmas 2007

Loud Star - Christmas 2006

Royal blue paper circle with satin, royal blue ribbon. Night sky drawn with pastels and embellished with sequins and white glitter. Alphabet block stamps and black ink.

The title 'Loud Star' is meant to suggest a huge and important star, as opposed to a noise/sound of some sort. It depicts the night sky with a large white star on a royal blue circle of card. It is received, folded twice. When you open it up and hang it by the ribbon, it also resembles a Christmas bauble.

Loud Star - Christmas 2006 Loud Star - Christmas 2006

Mini Xmas Tale - Christmas 2005

A mini book made up of coloured, metallic and patterned card. Images are stencilled, hand painted or stamped. Pages held together with red velvet ribbon threaded through single hole in each page.

This is a small, very concise, be-ribboned, mini-book version of the Christmas story and includes the well known 'Baaaah Humbug' pun. I'm not a fan of the shortening of the word Christmas to Xmas, but as this is an exercise in being concise, it seemed right. 

Mini Xmas Tale - Christmas 2005 Mini Xmas Tale - Christmas 2005 Mini Xmas Tale - Christmas 2005 Mini Xmas Tale - Christmas 2005 Mini Xmas Tale - Christmas 2005 Mini Xmas Tale - Christmas 2005

Christmas Babies - Christmas 2004

Stencilled, red and purple card pieces hung on a metallic, purple ribbon plus stencilled, coloured and folded Christmas card and matching envelope. Metallic stencilling paint.

The thought behind this card design is that many notable people were Christmas babies ie. born on December 25th and there are official records that can confirm that they were born on this date. The irony is that, at Christmas, although we are celebrating the birth of a very famous baby named Jesus, no one actually knows his true birth date - many speculate that it is likely to have been at harvest time, but no-one knows. So all the Christmas Babies depicted on the cards, except Jesus,  have their date of birth underneath.

I decided to use the very popular idea of baby footprints, stencilled on to each card. Then I threaded them on ribbon to make a hanging decoration.

Christmas Babies - Christmas 2004 Christmas Babies - Christmas 2004 Christmas Babies - Christmas 2004

Message from Bethlehem - Christmas 2003

Folded, landscape A5 card. On reverse of card is a hand-made laser-printed postage stamp with deckle edge and rubber-stamped postage mark. On the left is an official Air Mail sticker. Glued to the front of the card is a hand-painted wooden baby Jesus, with additional glitter paint finish. Straw for the manger is stencilled with red, metallic paint. Silver faceted star to finish.

I wanted to depict a message sent from Bethlehem as an air letter or postcard, as if the recipient was recieving the news of the baby being born in Bethlehem, at that time. I enjoyed making the stamp and was lucky enough to find the wooden baby blank shapes available commercially. In many ways it is very a simple card.

Message from Bethlehem - Christmas 2003 Message from Bethlehem - Christmas 2003 Message from Bethlehem - Christmas 2003
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