Little Creatures


When you are lucky enough to be taught the craft of clay by well known ceramicist Jane Sawyer even at the age of 12 our youngest staff member can intutively build a beautiful bowl...

But of course then she remembers that shes 12 and that weird sea creatures are far more interesting...


a bird in the hand



What's not to love about Jonathan Adler, gay jewish potting misfit, his life reads like a Will and Grace script... only sweeter. He is more than enough to rekindle anyones love for ceramics even those scarred by the memory of Moore and Swayzee gettin' busy at the wheel. And his work is way cool. A man after all our hearts, with a manifesto that includes such words of wisdom as:

We believe that your home should make you happy.
We believe that when it comes to decorating, the wife is always right. Unless the husband is gay.
We believe in carbohydrates and to hell with the puffy consequences.
We believe minimalism is a bummer.
We believe handcrafted tchotchkes are life-enhancing.
We believe tassels are the earrings of the home.

My brother(bless his cotton proverbials) bought me my first Adler (above) for Christmas last year. No doubt that if we ladies of hml make it to NYC next march we'll be heading straight for Barneys and adding to the collection, toot sweet.


Go Figure


Given that we have far too many ceramic pieces to limit our craft finds to just the one day this week, we'll be bringing you a different flavour each day for your viewing amusement. Today it's the ceramic figurine...

You should all know by now that both ladies of HML are devout op-shop treasure hunters, and not just because we're cheap! We have a number of favourite haunts in which we search eternal for those very special chip free ceramic objet d'art (aka nonna dust-collectors) that find there way into our homes and stare silently at us from shelves in our studios.

Ramona favours the small blue thing...

While I favour quaint Heidi styling, regency garbed gels and hubba hubba cocktail kitsch.


Achtung baby


According to the press release Andreas Tesch's solo exhibition 'Man Made' will form a landscape of 40 large-scale ceramic objects across all three gallery spaces. Though based in Berlin, Germany, the Melbourne-born artist continues to draw on the flora and fauna of Australia as a source of inspiration. Tesch's experimentation with organic shapes results in sculptural profiles reminiscent of bodies, vessels and architectural forms. Techniques honed over a twenty-year career, transform clay into a dynamic material, able to recall the look and feel of bleached bone, slate, rubber, burnished metal or even skin."

Good enuff for us, and we've been looking forward to seeing this work for months, Tesch's work is big bold and beautiful. The exhibition is also part of Victoria's State of Design program which you can find out more about at: http://www.stateofdesign.com.au/.
But that's a whole other story.

The exhibition opens at Craft Victoria this Thursday at 6pm, but if you get in early (5.30pm) you can catch Tesch speaking about his life and workA.. a rare treat indeed.

Andreas Tesch MAN MADE, gallery 1,2 and 3 . Craft Victoria 31 Flinders Lane Melbourne 3000

p>Now that we've got the high craft out the way, let's get right on board the low. In keeping with 'Germanicanic ceramic' theme of today's entry, I'd like to introduce my current favourite grouping of East/West German vases, currently on show in my loungeroom, Northcote 24/7. I've been collecting for quite a while, but in a nod to Japanesenese idea of displaying objects on a seasonal basis, I only keep a select group out at any one time. Of course the fact that my partner thinks them overly gaudy op-shop abominations has absolutely no bearing on this decision whatsoever...


pencil pushers


Seems team HML has managed to make it thru a drawing themed week without actually producing a drawing. Well, not quite. I managed a five minute mouse picture for illustration friday, and Ramona is well known for her doodling during important phone calls, of which she made many this week. But it's true, again we had grand plans for a pencil fueled revolution which came to naught - but let's face it we've been up to our eyeballs in gingham and denim again making these letters! Thankfully we can say that as far as the alphabet soup project goes, this is...

Really. we promise.


draw your own conculsions


ok so yesterday we promised you all a drawing for this weeks illustration friday theme 'match'... and clearly this is not a drawing. We apologise, really.

At least we managed to get this in as the inaugral handmade life entry on the IF website.

And we agree that our entry is pretty literal, but we also think it's literally pretty, and it would be such a waste to have developed a stuffed fabric font and not use it, wouldn't it?


drawn and quartered


It's not like we ladies don't already have enough pots on the boil and deadlines seem to loom eternal over our humble studios try as we might to clear the decks. But one project we continually find ourselves putting our hands up for is Illustration Friday.

According to the welcome from creator Penny Dullagan "Illustration Friday is a weekly creative outlet/participatory art exhibit for illustrators of all skill levels. It was designed to challenge participants creatively. I believe that every person has a little creative bone in their body. Illustration Friday just gives a no-pressure, fun excuse to use it. No clients looking for a particular thing. No one judging the outcome of the work. It's a chance to experiment and explore and play with visual art. So welcome, novices and pros alike"

Nice one Penny.

Almost an illustrators version of whip up, it provides a word as the starting point. It has an archive of interviews, news updates, shop, and an artists forum and at the end of the week, snap! it's all gone and another one appears. It's always interesting to see just how differently people the world over respond to each week's theme, and a great opportunity to link with other picture makers, doodlers, cutters and pasters, mouse masters and fellow pencil geeks.

This weeks theme has been "match", and you'll be able to catch both our efforts on hml and illustration friday tomorrow.


quick draw mcgraw


When I was a kid it was a real treat at the supermarket to get a little toy. Now I'm not talking Barbie Dolls or Tonka Trucks. No no no they were way out of our budget. But no matter because as all crafties will attest to there is nothing finer than the $2 (or in the mid 70's 50c) project toy. I still get a kick out of boxes of crayolas, coloured paper clips -or dream of all dreams The Pocket Spirograph.

The hml team picked this one up at The Warehouse - a barn dedicated to cheap junk that we really really NEED (it's not a want it's a need!) and as it is a week dedicated to drawing I thought I'd crack it open. If we were classier we'd have an etch-a-sketch but I'm afraid things haven't changed much - funds just didn't stretch that far!

This kit is pretty foxy tho. A secret compartment slides out to reveal a small pad, two pens, an array of spiro plates and a fetching orange desk.

And we have to say the elegant and simple mathematical patterns are perfect for embroidery and jewellery designs. Are we onto something? maybe.

Let the spirograph craft revolution begin!


pencil me in


We have nothing to show you, no picture no clue. But you can believe us when we tell you that Nathan Gray is an amazing artist and that his show opens this Friday at Gertrude Contemporary Art Space. While also performing incredible feats of improvised music and contributing to cool magazines, Nathan draws great things with felt tip pens. So we're going to draw thing all week just to celebrate. Find out more about the endeavours of Nathan Gray at undo design.

What else is happening around town?

We're also hoping to make it out to Deakin University ICON Gallery to see David Frazer's perfect wood engraving series 'Mr Vertigo'. That little print above is only 10cm square in real life. Beautiful isn't it?

On the more crafty scene textile artist Tony Dyer has a solo show on the go at Steps Gallery in Lygon Street Carlton called Layered Meanings – Connective Pursuit that we have to see before it closes this weekend.

We'll also be drivin by Pieces of Eight to see Nid Kelly's rockin' ceramic Robots (we will see if we can manage not to but one, but we fear resistance is useless!)


our cup runneth over


Sewing, planning, finally seeing our porthole exhibition in the flesh (there is the great Maggie B looking by torchlight at this wierd and wonderful show at brunswick Arts Space), baking, doing maths, sewing, getting ready for the Rose Street Market again, working, sewing, pinning, sewing, stuffing, and very little sleeping. Hopefully next week will see us taking stock, taking vitamins and hopefully taking a wee break from the sewing machine.

Ramona worked with whirring needles all week and established her badge assisted path to world domination busting out a new range of fabulous springtime tote bags as well as a bunch of new 'Alphabet soup' ingredients.

I clearly couldn't decide if it was 'make or break' week - I finally finished my bunch of Morphe 2 letters above) but think I took the "killer slippers" book a little to literally, busting my big toe in a slipper assisted garden accident...


polly put the kettle on


After spending the greater part of yesterday drooling over the many delights on show at cupcakes take the cake, we decided that it was high (tea) time that we got on board the baking train and made some ourselves.

We headed straight to Ramona's collection of Martha mags (every issue since 1997!) and cookbooks (all thirty of them!) for a no-fail recipe but after becoming increasingly distracted by other craft projects we decided to head for martha's website and select one of the 53 cupcake recipes on offer.
While we were very interested in the polka dot cupcakes... (orange zest, fabric referenced name and a creamy cheese frosting - what a combo!) we finally decided on Billy's Vanilla Vanilla cupcakes. Not only did they include the prerequisite vanilla cream cheese frosting, but the recipe came with an online video instructional guide, AND they are our cupcakes of choice at our local coffee joint of choice Palomino...

heres the recipe:

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla cupcakes

And of course after all that browsing/drooling we couldn't even crack an egg. That being said Ramona did get her act together to make these cute-as-a-cupcake tote bags for the Rose St Artist's Market this Saturday. Almost good enough to eat!


taking the cake


Cupcakes Take the Cake is the name of an intriguing little blog that salutes this small but fantastic dessert de jour. We don't quite know what has sparked this latest craze but as all the staff at hml can be tempted by a vanilla morsel with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles we are more than happy to jump on board the cupcake express. We also view cooking as a craft , and baking one of the highest arts. And what better bite to go with a hot cup of tea?

cupcakes take the cake


I'm a little teapot


Well what a hoot he is! Regular readers may recongise our owly friend as a gift recently purchased in sunny Queensland. I'm happy to report that the pattern for this excellent creation can be found in the seminal tome Killer Tea Cosies (and how to make them) by Annette Wallis.
Seems so odd that we found this very book in the cooking section of the hml library. Just as well, as a quick squizz on Amazon reveals this 1997 publication now has a tag of $69 US dollars on it!

It's enough to make the ladies of hml sit down with a nice pot of earl grey and a doozey of a cupcake (half missing by the time the photo was taken - no one is owning up, but we have 12 year old girl in for questioning who is known in these parts for dessert pinching).

Ps do you like the cup, saucer and plate? We found an entire four place dinner set in an op shop for 25 cents a piece. you don't come across bargains like that every day.


it's tea time


The Tea Party is exactly that. An exhibition where the table is set, the cupcakes and cucumber sandwhiches are made and 14 guests (in this case artists) have been invited to create little works of wonder for this really intriguing fashion accessories show.

Don't be fooled by the locale. Hoity toity Sth Melbourne is not always our cuppa tea either but Gallery M, tucked in a laneway behind Coventry St, has swung open its doors to host this clever group show and it is well worth a looksee.

We were most impressed with the work of local jewellers Emma Grace and Jasmina Krupic

The jewels Lauren Ferry of were almost good enough to eat and had a gorgeous Alice in Wonderland feel to them.

and who is this Kane Greenhatch and where can we find more of his work?

The centrepiece was by local bakers 'Let Them Eat Cake' which we must confess we did
with a nice cup of English breakfast...compliments of the Tea Party.

The Tea Party on til August 20 Tuesday-Sunday 10-4.
Gallery M
1 Hotham Street South Melbourne


strangers with candy


Normally we fill this weekly section with fabulous craft works we've completed relating to either our latest theme or latest fetish... and while this week we did manage to add to the collection of letters for Morphe 2 - ( see stacks on styled letter pile above) we spent most of the week ensconsed in varying degrees of uncomfortable seating and choc-top induced stupors.

So to be completely honest this week we just either:

made ourselves tired,

or after too many coffees/drinks at the festival club...

made fools of ourselves.


bad reviews


As the hml team enters into yet another dark room with popcorn conversations in the foyers have turned to all the dodgy craft films we've seen through the years. We thought we'd give you our top 3 and let you guys add to the list...

In 3rd place is the cloying 'How to Make and American Quilt' or as Ramona likes to call it "women with women friends" - this film is so sickly sweet that it is considered torture not just for boyfriends but sensible women the world over. Needless to say Australian born director Jocelyn Moorehouse has never quite recovered. I might add that the book by Whitney Otto is really very good, not required reading but it doesn't make us nauseous.

The Craft isn't strictly a crafty movie but given the title and the creativity needed to pull together such terrible faux goth costumes and stage some rather elaborate witchy scenes it qualifies for the list. We think this film was meant to empower young women - instead it makes them look like idiots that are still driven to distraction (and some very poor spells) by boys (oh and in this case The Devil).

Having rewatched this film recently thanks to the joys and high quality of Pay TV we can honestly say it is a cheesy now as it was then. Mind you that apartment was still great...who knew craft paid so well?

All jokes aside if you want to see Really Great Craft in Film go to the Aardman studio website. There you can not only see clips from the world famous Wallace and Gromit series but also all their old ads and short films - it is a brilliant and beautiful site and definitely qualifies as crafty!


point of view


Ok so we know that we should have put a polaroid, or even a Super 8 camera or camcorder as our Craft Object of the week, it being film themed and all. Why The Viewmaster? A mass produced item that first came to prominence in the 1950's and reached its zenith in our childhood (1970's) The View Master is not the first - or even the last thing that would spring to mind when your thinking craft - ah yes but the word we want you to focus on is object.

Because we think this red plastic wonder is one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all objects (we are thoroughly modern millies that worship plastic). We have fond memories of lying on our chenille bedspreads in our wood panelled bedrooms with the op art curtains filtering the hard suburban sun, clicking through images taken from films like The Jungle Book and The Love Bug.

Beck recently found one op shopping that has the delighful reel 'Portraits of Dogs' - nothing is better than a series of studio shots of poodles with bows in their bouffants as seen thru the Viewmaster.

History of the Viewmaster


Cinema Verite


This week is all about the Film Festival for the staff of hml. Yes indeedy, annual leave has been taken, sensible shoes are polished and families are all but abandoned as we enter into the halloweed halls of The Forum, The Regent,The Capitol and er ...Greater Union. Highlights of our week will include 'Metal:A Headbangers Journey', 'The Real Dirt on Farmer John' and 'Jonestown'.

Too many movies just aren't enough. We must confess that we will be straying from the Festival Guide on Friday to visit the Immigration Museum to see the Bollwood Nights Exhibition followed later that eve of new epic 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna'.

Described as the Indian version of 'Closer' we are a bit beside ourselves because it has every single Bollywood actor we love! The brooding good looks of Shah Rukh Khan (cue Ramona swooning), the towering brilliance of Abhishek Bachchan (cue Beck swooning), grandmaster Amitabh Bachan, stunning beauty Preity Zinta and formidable screen goddess Rani Mukerji.

For the unititiated try to imagine a film starring Brad Pitt, Jeff Golblum, and Benicio Del Toro with Angelina Jolie, and Uma Thurman with dance routines and you'll kind of get the idea.

For those of you that just can't live virtually and must see some art in the flesh opening this week at Kick Gallery is ‘Deadline at Dawn', an exhibition of photography by Leigh Backhouse & Jitske Wiersma. This duo have put together a really gorgeous show of photographs that, dare we say it, are quite cinematic. Opening night is Thursday 7-9pm - better get in quick, we think it's going ito be a fast seller.

Image: La Friday Night 6pm by Jitske Wiersma

Kick Gallery Website
MIFF website


surf and turf


Favourite event of the week was the Childers Multicultural Festival, which included some fantastic moments - belly dancing nana's, while you wait diy tie dye, tin can craft, cwa lucky dip, the fairy floss ladies, pluto pops, snow cones and even a lederhosen wearing oomp-pa-pa band.

And who would have thought that the pick of this weeks eating would come from the faux 1950's styled coffee shop at the beach club cafe in Hervey Bay?

Or that us taking a break away from the sewing machines last week would mean that we'd be super inspired to pump out a bunch of crazy new letters for our Morphe 2 'alphabet soup'?

Now that i'm back with bag-loads of new crafty books, finds and ideas from up north we've got our heads spinning again... so much to do, so little time! And as usual hml headquarters is a of hive of activity. We've still got the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Art Fair, Morphe 2 bits to complete and the next Rose Street Market to prepare for. Tonight, Ramona and I are off to the fillum festival doing it documentary style. Saturday brings a morning tea hml pow-pow about next weeks adventures (including the opening night viewing of a new bollywood film again overlooked by the film festival program) and trip to the Art Fair. While Sunday will be given over to more popcorn fueled film festival adventures of the japanese all girl pop group variety...

Excellent. I'm tired already.


a rose is a rose is a rose

It's been a funny old week here at hml headquarters. It's never quite right when 50% of the team has trotted off to warmer climes leaving the other to plod along in an Eeyore kinda way. On reflection we didn't do too badly and we might add the postcards from QLD still haven't arrived! But that owl teacosy will more than make up for the grey week.

Here are Ramona and Hope at their Rose Street Market stand last Saturday. The weather forecast was for hail and rain - turned out to be sunny and charming. We had a fine old time selling cards and drinking hot chocolate from the thermos. Hope has started knitting a market rug to keep our knees warm when we return on the 19th.

And gentle readers, I promise that is the last time I talk about the weather.