2017 5 Session Workshop Series with Bonnie Christine

2017 5 Session Workshop Series with Bonnie Christine - student project

***As I work on this project new work will appear first, just scroll down for the entire process.***


I have been sick and I was unable to finish the Working From Sketches workshop on time. I'm still struggling to get back to work but yesterday and today I managed to pull together these three patterns. As I worked I was remembering all of the great sheets that we had from the sixties and the seventies. I wanted to evoke that feeling with this set of patterns. These were inspired by a song that my Mom used to sing all of the time - Daisy Bell.

I hope to revisit some of my ideas from my Fly Away Home inspiration board soon- especially the butterflies!

2017 5 Session Workshop Series with Bonnie Christine - image 1 - student project


I have a large stack of sketches but I am going to post photos of three different ideas/groupings. I began my sketching with a lot of mark making. My inspiration board deals with movement and travel over distance so I wanted a way to express that.

There is also an element of handmade and stitching. Quilting and sewing were a large part of my childhood and that can be expressed in marks as well. I drew lots and lots of currents to represent out creek. I used to sit for hours watching the water rush by - it was a constant - moving all the time yet never changing. I also drew the pebbles and rocks that shine like jewels in the water.

I plan to use the butterfly shape in a pattern and I thought it would be fun to till the wink shapes with simple hand drawn patterns. And words seem really important - is there a way to incorporate text?

2017 5 Session Workshop Series with Bonnie Christine - image 2 - student project

This grouping is from a series of memories of mom and I sitting in the pasture with the grass and flowers as tall as our heads. She used to sing Bicycle Built for Two and showed me how to make a daisy chain and tear the petals away one by one...he loves me...he loves me not...

2017 5 Session Workshop Series with Bonnie Christine - image 3 - student project

I'm not sure how this idea will play out in pattern form but I really want to play around with the phrase 'as the crow flies'. It's such a part of Appalachian culture - when you travel by road you have to drive miles and mile up and down the creeks to get somewhere that is only a short distance away if you only knew how to thread your way over the ridges and through the gaps. It's a way of saying that things aren't so far away as they seem. That's an idea I'm holding tight.

I began sketching a fairly accurate print of a crows foot and then began abstracting it into more geometric marks and shapes. As I worked I thought about the Flying Geese quilt pattern and am wondering if there is a way to create that effect - maybe a cheater quilt pattern?

2017 5 Session Workshop Series with Bonnie Christine - image 4 - student project


2017 5 Session Workshop Series with Bonnie Christine - image 5 - student project

When I put this board together I was remembering the big box of pictures that my Mom has kept for years. To have that same nostalgic look I quickly built a simple Polaroid template in Illustrator which I cropped all of my inspirational photos into. I like that it framed them all and it also gave me a way to naturally incorporate my words and phrasing.

I have never created an inspiration board using solely my own images before. I normally source Pinterest and my boards are often comprised of the work of other artists. This feels a little scary but also kind of exciting. I'm not sure what images will happen in the sketching phase. This board feels all encompassing - almost as if a few collections are hiding in here so I may pull together some smaller more focused boards as I work.

I do know that I had strong emotional involvement when I was pulling together all of these images and I still feel that response now looking at it and posting it here. So I am going to try and express those emotions in the patterns. We will see how that goes.


2017 5 Session Workshop Series with Bonnie Christine - image 6 - student project


The subject of my first pattern collection is this longing I have for home. I grew up on a farm in Appalachia in a house built by my great grandfather. I married and moved to the city because that's where my husband's career is but my roots are still deeply planted by the creek where I sat and read for hours and hours.

My husband and I are raising a large family - six boys - on less than an acre in the suburbs. I recently realized I have lived here more than half my life. I have struggled with discontentment with our life in the city/suburbs for many years. I don't like to be dissatisfied with our gifts and blessings but I  long so much to go home. I want the boys who still live at home to have the same wide open childhood on the farm that I experienced.

Just last year my husband and I were able to purchase a significant piece of my great grandfather's home place and slowly were are working and making plans. It is still left to be seen whether we will be the ones who get to live there or if it will be one or more of the boys but at least now we have a tangible hope.

I chose this image from early in this reawakened period of my creativity because it felt authentic. I love the color. I like that I chose to doodle and write over a photograph even though I knew almost nothing about digital illustration at the time. The images in the collage are meaningful to me and it pulls at my heart strings just a bit. And of course I just came home from a trip up to the farm and I'd love to be able to fly right back.

I'm going to be building a more complete inspiration board for this collection but this image is the cornerstone.

Amber Benton
Life is colorful!