farewell my lovely


Taking a break on Wednesday to act like tourists in our hometown, a favourite hml activity. We popped in again on the Colin and Cecily Rigg show, picked up a kozyandan print from Outre Gallery, squeezed in a toastie 'n' chai at St Jeromes for afternoon tea and finished up with another look at Elfrun Lach's exhibition Correlation at the fabulous Pieces of Eight.


And after a seemingly endless month the SPOD finally came down. All the care and attention we gave the Spod during installation was turned around and the bump out was decidedly less careful. It culminated in an quick and unceremonious dumping of all Spod related objects into the boot of Ramona's car so we'd have enough time to enjoy a morning coffee and canoli at Brunetti's before work. As you can see people it's all about priorities for the ladies of handmade life.

That being said we'd like to send out a BIG thank-you to everyone who posed, participated, helped out, visited and/or commented on the SPOD. The SPOD was all about community and your kind words and assistance really made us feel like we're part of one.

Of course we already have new and exciting things planned for the second half of the year. We are very excited to have been choosen for Morphe 2 - an exhibition of toys at Nest Studios in Adelaide. We were lucky enought to see Morphe 1 last year and were blown away by Carly Schwerdt's studio/gallery/shop/creativity hub in the leafy suburb of Croydon. We're going to make an alphabet soup. Above is 'N' for Nelly and below is a link the the NEST Website.

Nest Studio

You can also read Ramona's full review of the Elfrun Lach:Correlation Exhibition at

Craft Culture


hands up in the air


Is there anything nicer than spending a cold sunny afternoon indoors making hand puppets? Yes probably, but even we were surprised at just how animated this wacky one turned out. It may not have the panache of others featured this week but what we lack in skill we make up for in enthusiasm. Having stick-on goggly eyes helped and no one can argue with the handmade beauty of spotty felt and pinking shears...


pulling strings


The world of puppets is a mysterious one. The hml team have had a weird week exploring this little understood but age old craft. There is some magical stuff out there, the stuff of dreams and nightmares.
We were most taken with the website of Cleveland based puppet maker Scott Radke. His marionettes have that offputting quality that makes you think when the lights are out they all have a party at your bedside. They are exquisitely crafted, jaw droppingly beautiful and just a wee bit disturbing too.

We were so impressed we wrote Scott a fan letter. He wishes he was here for the carnival and we do too! So instead we'll bring you to him through this mystical portal knows as handmadelife.

Scott Radke Website


Noble Beasts


These crazy critters are the work of knitter extrodinaire and uber crafty chick Gemma Noble, and we can't get enough of them! Available locally through Craft Victoria and online through Georgie Love they're cheap enough to by a handfull. They're a great alternative finger warmer to the mitten or glove and we challenge you not to start making eh eh eh monkey noises or weird snuffy trunk calls once they're on.

Craft Victoria

Gemma's page on Georgie Love


put your hands where i can see 'em


It just wouldn't be Melbourne or Monday if we didn't have yet another festival to announce. But it is unusual, even for us to feature two Big Tops in a matter of weeks. And in this case festival isn't the right word. Its a carnival folks! And we are all invited..

The International Puppet Carnival rolls into town and we are thrilled to bits to finally get to peek inside the cute tent that has been set atop the Fed Square car park. We're planning on attending a play evocatively titled 'Sad Bird Boy and other Dreams of the City' on Saturday night.

Our youngest staff member (feisty reporter, age nearly 12) will be participating (or coolly observing, depending on the mood) a workshop mysteriously called 'A Conference For the Birds' on Sunday afternoon.

All HML staff will be in attendance on Wednesday for 'Shadowplay' to try and pick up some tips on how to make magic with just a circle of light and a pair of hands.

Like all good carnivals (not festivals) there is almost too much to see; but it's a great opportunity to investigate this old and magical handmade craft in action.

Makes us wonder what these folks do the rest of the year...

International Puppet Carnival Website.


A horse with no name


This weekend's special project was promoted as an accessory moment straight out of the eighties, but with all the late nights this week watching the boys play soccer we decided that a caffeine related activity was probably more appropriate.

Speaking of which, we've had to kick out the Brazilian blends, Swiss mixes and Italian roasts from our coffee repetoire due to our newfound aussie allegiance and have been on the look out for a good New Guinea highland brew, figuring it's a safer regional bet.

With this in mind we dedicated the weekend edition to getting to know the local barrista, which in our case was at the apparently nameless but fantastically decorated new cafe on our High Street strip.

Decked out like the hml kitchen, full of horse and bird related craft finds, and sporting a delicious tray of vanilla cupcakes we couldn't have felt more at home... And the coffee kicked butt to boot!

Oh and we found out the cafe is called PALOMINO, and is muchos excellento.

By the way, we also found out a little about the art of the crema swirling that decorates the top of all good coffees...

and a whole flicker file dedicated to the craft of 'latte art'


wake up and smell the coffee.


death defying feet.


... watching human beings do extraordinary things. As we got very excited by our weaving technique and managing to colour between the lines others were defying gravity and we're a much appreciative audience.

Last night half the hml team caught up with the latest Circus Oz winter treat. Fairy floss in hand and almost front row seats made for a very special evening indeed. We were most impressed with the costuming, particularly Strong Woman Mel's battery powered bikini (you have to see it to believe it).

Of course in the small hours of the morning we donned face paint and slippers to watch gods and angels play a truly noble game. We know that you get yellow carded for any handmade action on the field but as Kewell did what we thought impossible, thousands of bleary eyed Australians across the globe joined together in thunderous applause. A handmade morning if you will.




warp n weft

the hml workshop has been a veritable hive of activity this week with freshly minted ideas and products flying from our fingers.

I got my first woven scarf of the season completed, reluctantly modeled and badly photographed. I'm still pretty happy with the result, even though I haven't managed to sew the ends in and my model isnt sporting a rooster haircut and tight yellow trousers.

Ramona and Hope, inspired by Keith Haring went nuts with the interactive colouring book, results below.

PS we all think the model above is tres elegant!


Haring Heaven

We can’t tell you how influential New York artist Keith Haring was on the hml team in their formative adolescent years. There was something about his generosity, the confidence of his lines and the pure joy that translated effortlessly into his work. You can view one of his wonderful murals right here in Melbourne town on the wall of NMIT at 35 Johnston St Collingwood.

Keith has been gone for a long while now, 16 yeas already, but the wonderful Haring Foundation have set up a amazing online resource that is proves that his work is still as fresh and inspiring as it was 20 years ago.

We want to draw (Pardon the pun) your attention to haringkids.com. Particularly at this time of mid year holidays around the world. A site specifically designed for kids it includes fantastic little animated flip books, art activities for rainy days and an online coloring book that yours truly just spent an hour doodling around on.

It’s beautiful. It will make you smile.

check it out.



all hands on deck, we're off at warp speed!


Well we never said we didn't like a DIY gimmick here at hml... We still have our boxes of magic trees, sea monkeys and yes 'the bedazzler' holds pride of place in the studio, but when we saw this little beauty we liked it so much we bought the company! OK, so the budget didn't quite reach that far, but we did manage to scrape together enough to buy one of the new Ashford Knitters Looms last Friday after seeing them in action. Light, compact, and easy to use these puppies are being targeted at women who can't get enough 'fancy'n'funky' feathers type yarn into their knitting, YIKES! But with our collective Celtic backgrounds we just saw tartan, tartan and more tartan... maybe I also saw Rod Stewart in full football kit circa 1974 but then I often do and that's another story.

One of the best things about this loom is it's portability, you can fold it up with your warp on throw it in a shopping bag and take it down your local, pop it open on the bar and start weaving, genius! And much more of a conversation starter than yesterday's knitting circle.

Inspired by Rod and the 'beautiful game' I got the loom out last night for it's first run while watching the Fifa World Cup... And after a couple of minutes trying to remember my heddles from my shuttles I managed to get warped up, weave half a scarf and argue with the referee all by half time.... Excellent


I'd like to be, under the sea...


Correlation by Elfrun Lach June 22-July 15

hml are long time fans of gold and silversmith Elfrun Lach. It was her work that blew us away at the RMIT graduate show last year and we are happy to report that while undertaking a Masters Degree she has also found time to produce a new body of work for her show 'Correlation' which opens this Thursday at Pieces of Eight Gallery.

Lach continues her exploration of the history, materiality and symbolism of coral. She creates beautiful wearable sculptures that highlight this ancient and highly prized natural material. Incorporating silver, felt, glass beads, wood and porcelain, plastics, and on occasion coral itself, the work is always well considered and finely finished. Lach elevates humble materials to create precious objects. Sounds like treasure to us.



Pieces of Eight Gallery 635 Brunswick Street North Fitzroy

Also on this Week...

The 6th Annual Melbourne International Animation Festival gets underway at ACMI this week and one member of staff is going hardcore and has bought a season ticket to this 5 day event. Highlights of the festival include a screening of the Aeon Flux collection and a Studio Focus on Nukufilm - probably the finest puppet animation studio in the world.

We know this may mean nothing to some of you but remember that much of the fine art of animation is still done by hand and heart. Even those mega productions like Finding Nemo and Cars begin their lives as a series of hand drawn character studies.

The festival gives us all a chance to see animation from around the world. There is even a kids showcase so there is no excuse for not getting down there.


Festival runs June 20 - 25, blink and you'll miss it!


on the hunt


Here's the HML team on the lookout for new stuff for next weeks exciting episode of HAND MADE LIFE. We found that there's a lot out there... we'll be featuring The Animation festival at ACMI, covering the launch of Elfrun Lach's new show at Pieces of Eight and hitting you with a weekend accessories project straight out of the eighties. Next week should be a blast!


you wear it well


Scarf, scarf and more Melbourne Scarf Festival...

People making scarves, people buying scarves, looking at scarves, talking about scarves, doing workshops related to scarves, complaining about scarves, celebrating scarves... the only thing they didn't do was eat scarves, and we think we may have spotted a three year old sucking on the end of one about 4pm today, so that will probably happen as well.

Our picks for the best worn scarves of the festival so far go to:

L-R Hope, Rosie and Peter


Angel Baby...


regular readers of Handmadelife may recognise our youngest member of staff from a previous entry highlighting the now famous Sponge Jacket. Just to prove this designer is no one-frock-wonder we thought we'd show you her latest couture offering (and modelling) as part of the Wearable Art Show held on Tuesday night at the Hawthorn Town Hall.

The theme assigned was 'Heavenly Creatures' - and while certainly divine we think you'll agree that the finishing touch of the tartan Chuck Taylor Converse high tops is what gives this ensemble the winning edge.

hml apologises for the poor image. It's a challenge to make out the intricate sequin work, the individually sewn felt ghosts and the sensational lace trim. Our official photographer could not make the event and so sadly it was left up to a hack writer to take a bad photo (never a good idea).

Let's just say the dedication and skill that went into this weeks I MADE IT MYSELF puts the rest of the hml staff to shame.

want more? here's a link to the SPONGE JACKET.


And they called it puppy love...


We know it's called the WORLD WIDE WEB but sometimes it's really nice to go local even when we are online. Georgie Love is a delicious mix of handmade goodness, retail therapy and Melbourne cool and we think it is mighty fine.

This newish online store taps into the current desire for evidence of the artist in the object. Why by a cheap n nasty brooch from Portgirl or Davey Jones when you can pick a set of 3 vintage fabric badges for $10 that come with a guarantee of uniqueness and authenticity?

It's quite a community developing over there. Customers are invited to write reviews of products and can sign up for a newsletter (we love that). The site looks beautiful and is a breeze to navigate. You can window shop all night if you want to but it will be hard to resist the goodies 'instore'.

HML would like to say this necklace by Larysa Ischenko is delicious and is going straight in the shopping cart!

Now get over there, we promise you'll have fun.

Georgie Love

thanks to Georgie Love's owner Sally Morrigan for PIC.


back in yer box


If you are anything like the hml team then you are surrounded by stuff. stuff, stuff and more stuff. There seems to be no end to what we think might be useful. We are like wombles. No piece of string will be tossed, recipes will one day be neatly scrapbooked, sewing stuff will not end up battling it out for desk space with indian ink, magazines, retractable tape measures and pots of tea. Order is not something we are familiar with. So it is with pride and disbelief that we present you with one corner of the studio. Yes everything is labeled (sewing, tools, painting, spod, receipts etc) and it's the most delightful thing we've ever seen. This will last about 24 hours before chaos reigns again. But isn't it lovely?

So we thought this weeks Craft Find Of The Week would be these Ikea boxes - at $8-$12 for two - how can you go wrong? Uncle Bulgaria would be so proud.

any excuse to go to Ikea (shelves from there too!)


And the Award Goes to...


Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award

There is a distinctly competitive vibe in the craft universe this week. Well not really, who can be bothered with that nonsense? But there are a couple of shows that do have pots of gold (or at least sticky gold stars) to lure you in. Who are the best of the best? Who's work reigns supreme? Who makes these decisions anyway? It's all a matter of taste we think and we are certainly not ones to dictate that...

That being said if you want to really get a solid overview of the state of contemporary jewelry, the Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award at the NGV:A is the perfect primer. These shows are always tricky but the curators have tried to go for a nice balance between big names (Susan Cohn, Masche Moje, Marcos Davidson) and emerging makers that are well on their way to being stars on the scene.

We know in our heart of hearts that there are a few people missing from the show (no we aren't going to name names) but given how many talented jewelers there are in this town alone, selectors were faced with an impossible task of shortlisting the show. We were heartened to see David Neale, Stephen Gallagher and Tiffany Parbs included. We can't get enough of their work.

Now why is it called the Design Awards and not the Craft Awards? Don't ask. It's like the elephant in the room. Don't let semantics get in the way of enjoying one of the highlights of the CRAFT calendar....

(image of Carlier Makigawa piece courtesy of the NGV)

Speaking of highlights we would be remiss (and in trouble) if we didn't remind you that this is Scarf Festival week at Craft Victoria. The launch takes place at BMW Edge Federation Square on Wednesday night at 6pm (there'll we be music and laughter and good times).
10 am Thursday the doors swing open at 31 Flinders Lane for the now famous Scarf Lane Market, workshops, forums, exhibitions and general mayhem. This annual event has become quite a ritual, many Melbournians purchase their scarf for the season to mark the occasion. Don't forget it's only on for three days so you better get in quick, blink and you'll miss it.

The hml team have had a sneak peak at this years entries and we can say without doubt that the quality, creativity and finish makes this lot the very best this event has ever seen. There you go folks, we can't give it a bigger plug than that.

Don't forget Spod at the City Library. Yes we will be banging on about it for another month. You'll be as spodded out as we are!






We'd love to say we're spending the weekend somewhere warm to calm down after a hectic week but the truth is the hml team are in a fever of activity. One is busy painting her looooong hallway and the other is building shelves for the studio followed by a short stint on the radio Sunday morn (1030 am 774 abc) to talk up SPOD and the impending Scarf Festival. All this and trying to watch as many episodes of the Fame tv series marathon on cable. The HML team wishes you a wonderful long weekend. We'll be back on Tuesday with more bitesized handmade excellence.


hml team.


we love these niches to pieces


Getting over the drinks after our public forum at the city library last night and recovering from the spods seemingly incessant to-ing and fro-ing photo ops,

Having a morning off to swim, breakfast and spend too much money in the brunswick st bookstore instead of buying shoes.

Congratulations goes out ot Melbourne maker Sally Marsland. This years well earned recipient of the Colin and Cecily Rigg Design Award. We have long coveted Marsland's brooch work and our now kicking ourselves (ouch) that we didn't invest sooner! We are going to catch up with the show now on at the NGV next week.




Well here it is folks. Spod is up and floating... we can tell you that it takes quite a bit of enginuity to get a five kg scarf up and swingin'. 3m should be offering us shares in the company or at least a sponsorship deal for the next show!

"What next **#*@ show?!!!!"

we hear the chorus from our long suffering family and friends. Well lets just say that the ladies of handmade life have started hearing Jingle Bells even though it's June...


born to hand jive baby


It's been a red letter week for hml. We installed our exhibtion, then took SPOD off on a day trip to visit Bert Newton at Family Fued. Later this week we are braving the gaze of the general public by speaking at a forum, and all the while continuing to think of new ways of serving you a fresh dose of handmade goodness every day.

We promise to get back to looking beyond our own studios this time next week but for now we'd like to announce that our website of the week is this one...


See you are soooo cool you're already here!

In the words of Woody Allen "That's enough about me, what do you think about me?" So email us and give us your feedback.

we'd love to know what you think.

HAND TO MOUTH:WHEN CRAFT GOES LIVE People love craft and craft loves poeple. The panellists in this conversation all nurture an audience for their work, whether directly through performance or by creating an online presence for global interaction. But how does craft, with its close connection to the hand and to materials traverse the world wide web and how does craft's relationship to skill manifest during a performance?

WHERE: City Library seminar room

Level 1, 95 Flinders Lane Melb City

WHEN: 6-8 Thursday June 8

COST : Gold Coin Book through Craft Victoria on 9650 7775


presto magneto!


Installing the SPOD show was going to pose a great challenge. We couldn't impact the walls at all and we had 26 unframed poster size photos to hang. We had known about Magnart for a long time and had been recommending it to everyone facing the same installation challenges. It wasn't until we used it ourselves that we realised that this neato invention had the potential to change the way we hang EVERYTHING!

It's a three part system, an adhesive tab (that just rolls off the wall when you are done) a metal backing plate and then a rare earth magnet. These are super strong and could easily hang much thicker prints or even textiles. You place the work between the backing plate and the magnet, kind of like a clamp system. It meant not only were we not damaging the walls but we werent damaging the photos either. It made a tough job super easy and we had the pics up in a flash.

speaking of flash the Magnart website is supercool and has links to how you can purchase online. We really can't recommend it highly enough


For all you spod watchers SPOD goes live this afternoon on Bert Newtons Family Fued on channel Nine 530pm.

The HML team are speaking at a forum on Thursday Night as part of The Scarf Festival. We'd love to see you there -

People love craft and craft loves poeple. The panellists in this conversation all nurture an audience for their work, whether directly through performance or by creating an online presence for global interaction. But how does craft, with its close connection to the hand and to materials traverse the world wide web and how does craft's relationship to skill manifest during a performance?
WHERE: City Library seminar room
Level 1, 95 Flinders Lane Melb City
WHEN: 6-8 Thursday June 8
COST : Gold Coin
Book through Craft Victoria on 9650 7775


spod on!


We've given you an 'installation day' teaser pic but you'll have to wait until Thursday for the final shots to come online. We are happy to announce that this exhibition is finally complete, up on the wall and ready for your viewing pleasure.

It's been a really interesting process. As regular readers would know we've put the show together in record time, and even we have been amazed at what we were able to accomplish in six weeks and manage to work full time, take care of kids, family and friends all at the same time. But that is what a handmade life is all about isn't it? Finding those pockets of time to get things done.

Having such a tight deadline meant that we had to approach the work systematically in week by week chunks. We made lists, we ticked things off, we got it done. We hope you enjoy it.

Those of you in Melbourne can see it at

The City Library 95 Flinders Lane Melbourne City. Today until June 27.

Those of you interstate, overseas, or interplanetary can view images here at HML as we give you a daily serve of SPOD. To the right of the page are week by week links to the SPOD story - an epic tale in bitesize portions.

The HML team are speaking at a forum on Thursday Night as part of The Scarf Festival. We'd love to see you there -


People love craft and craft loves poeple. The panellists in this conversation all nurture an audience for their work, whether directly through performance or by creating an online presence for global interaction. But how does craft, with its close connection to the hand and to materials traverse the world wide web and how does craft's relationship to skill manifest during a performance?

WHERE: City Library seminar room

Level 1, 95 Flinders Lane Melb City

WHEN: 6-8 Thursday June 8

COST : Gold Coin

Book through Craft Victoria on 9650 7775


pins, plinths and polar fleece


After all the excitement of celebrity spodding last week it was back to the Janome to finish off the last of the pieces needed for installation next week.

We had the onerous task of trying to bind six numbers with red yarn a deceptively problematic undertaking that almost defeated us. It had seemed such a brilliantly simple idea as we filled our basket with craftwood in Spotlight, but proved by far to be the most difficult part of the exhibition. you know that saying about working with children and animals, well handmade life now has one about string and wooden numbers.

We did however rediscover our love of polar fleece, and were even more excited to discover that you can now buy fused, double sided polar fleece in contrasting colors... the world is truly a magical place. Anyway the finished product worked out a treat, and for your viewing enjoyment we present the official Spod 'info pod'.


where the wild things are


While taking a break from our rigorous daily routines and ongoing Spod preparations we managed to catch the new NAILS exhitibion at Citylights, right across the road from our favourite creperie. Boy were we impressed. Showing incredible nozzle control, patience and all of the stylistic references of Maurice Sendak, Nails' cat and owl piece is currently topping the HML graf list.

there was also this great brother/sister work on offer

and the juxtaposition of Barry Humphries and Sheena Easton as stencil mates was genius


stitch and bitch

This week as promised we got into some fabric manipulation, in the hope of coming up with something to wear to our forum on craft and technology at the Melbourne City Library on Thursday night next week.
While we may not have come up with the perfect accessory for our next public appearance, we did have a lot of fun, and managed to come up with another six exhibition ideas over the whirr and hum of our Janomes.
first stop some old school ruching

then we did some random circle work

and finally some of the thermoplastic techniques of our sensei.