Dog Project

Last month at a party in London and  I was asked by Anne Coggle, a friend of the hosts, if we ( Steve my husband and I) would like to make a piece of work each for a charity which she supported; when she explained that it was the Dog Project, ( information available at I accepted at once. I had seen the earlier Dog Project which was for Great Ormond Street Hospital, Boil, the dog was originally drawn by a child being treated there. I was delighted to be offered the chance to get involved apart from the obvious enjoyable contribution to a good cause – most of the currently fashionable artists and designers had made works for the last project, as well as many children from the hospital.

first doodle for making Boil into a fox terrier.

The new charity is for The Evelina Children’s Hospital which features on YouTube. After a few weeks 2 packages arrived for us, each containing a small stretched canvas with an outline drawing of Boil, and there were  several more copies on very good quality drawing paper –  to practice on, how thoughtful; plus  lots of information and illustrations of other works inspired by Boil.

From the moment Ann mentioned the project I knew I had to embroider him, but how? My first idea was to make him into a Wire Haired Fox Terrier and I immediately started doodling on the letter head as I was checking the package out. But Boil had too much character to be dismissed so easily.

drawing for a crazy patchwork version of Boil.

I considered what a strange shape he was and realised that he could be made up in patches, so a crazy patchwork was the obvious answer – and as it is a children’s charity it would make a cheerful, colourful and hopefully saleable work when  eventually auctioned

Meanwhile Steve got on with his version, he saw him as a sort of Henry Moore sculpture on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London – aren’t imaginations amazing?

drawings and reference for Boil aloft on the 4th Plinth

when I look at the finished works they are so amusing and telling. Here in response to the exact same project our two completely different visions and characters are illustrated; he is all cool, finely modelled academic drawing..

Boil on the 4th plinth, pencil drawing. Steve Jacobson

while I am all clashing colour , riotous pattern and wonky decoration….

Crazy Boil embroidered patchwork Janet Haigh

but both works exhibit various aspects of the good humour we share.

If you are interested in getting involved in working on a dog portrait for this project please contact Simon Freeman on for more information and please say you heard it from here.

3 thoughts on “Dog Project

  1. I recognize that patch of dusky pink fabric – a scrap of 1980’s Laura Ashley left over from a dress that I made for my daughter! How pleasing to see it adding to Boil’s colourful environment.

  2. Hi there – I wanted the picture to look kind of 1960’s funky so I am only 20 years out – as per usual…..but the mad swirly pink green and orange print is a real 60’s fabric. I really enjoyed making Boil so I am expecting you to do one as well, he could become a sort of smooth fox terrier?

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