Sneak Peek

There are 4 calling birds, there is a partridge in a pear tree...bet you can guess the theme of the handmadelife christmas show that opens on December 12 at fortyfivedownstairs. Those of you that have read this blogzine this year will know that team hml had a tendency to take a big bite out of life and we always end up with far too much on our plate (we seem to spend half the time whining about being behind schedule) but we know that you are all like that too. We hope to see some of our lovely readers at the opening (530-7 on the Tuesday) we'd love to crack open a bottle of bubbly and toast what has indeed been a handmade 2006!


greetings from the workroom


Dear HML readers,
hi there! I am one of the many craft objects now nearing completion at hml headquarters. I don't have a name yet as my creators are currently curled up in a corner trying to take a power nap to cope with what is, yet again, an insane workload. Between getting ready for their teaching stint, organising their exhibition (opening on the 12 December) and frantically making gifts for all those they love it is just a crazy old time here. They haven't named me yet. I know I am for a small person. And I have yellow spots (remember that fabric the printed some time ago?)

Love to you all!


Let the bidding begin...


Shhhh! The Craft Victoria Silent Auction is an easy pick for show of the week. Not only because hml staff member Ramona has a piece in the show (above) as do many hml friends, but because it showcases the work of 80 craftspeople from around Australia. We have had a sneak peak and the show is a doozy.

All funds raised from the auction will be put towards a writing program for Craft Victoria members. It's an amazing show. Bidding has already begun and some items are in fact already sold so you better rush in if you want to snag a special object for under the Christmas tree this year.

The Auction itself takes place this Saturday between 3-5pm. These are some of the items we will be bidding on...

Beautful polypropelyne work by Emma Davies and delicate glass pieces by Lisa Cahill
Excellent Blue Robot by ceramic artist extraordinaire Nid Kelly...

The lovely Po by our blogging mate Shula (he is simply adorable)

And this very special piece from jeweler and artist Anna Davern


how long is a piece of string?

We have seen alotta stuff this past month and after dozens of graduate shows it has all become a blur in our craft-lovin' minds. We have to admit our absolute joint favorite work was from the rmit studio textiles show. All works by Pennie Imeson just blew us away. They were inspiring, well finished, nostalgic and simple. The finger knitted jute string wall installation almost trembled it had so much energy:

While the woven mat piece was elegant, and well crafted cleary demonstrating with the simplest of materials the breadth of her skill.

In a sea of pattern and print, it was a spot of great calm. We really thought it was fantastic.


Wish we were there

A big hml cheerio goes out to all the members of the Umbrella Collective who are having their big christmas event this weekend. Bit like a design market but just with work that you love. We love Brisvegas and have toyed with the idea of emmigrating (sunshine, nice people, tropical fruit) It comes as no surprise to us that this amazing group of makers has banded together (as makers should) and have alot to teach their southern overly competitive isolationist neighbours about how to create strength in numbers. Visit their blog for more inspiration.


needle in a haystack

Sometimes you find the best things while you're looking for something else.
On route to yet another Fresh! exhibition destination hml found themselves face to face with the wonderful world of Sally Campbell Home Textiles in High street Prahran.

Aftermanaging to get our breath back, and after our heads stopped spinning from all the new the decorating possibilities, we forraged around andfound the best market bag EVER! Hand printed spots on the outside and sturdy jute on the inside... we thought it quite dreamy,and there was even a matching sun-hat on offer.


goldilocks and the two bears

We want to sendout a big congratulations to both staff and students of this years NMIT graduate Advanced Diploma Jewellery class. We caught the show at a very busy opening. After being sorely dissapointed by a couple of will-remain-nameless shows earlier in the week we were thrilled to find fantastic work at The Artery Gallery in Moor Street Fitzroy.
Well finished, fully realised, unique work. Great vibe of celebration (rather than panic which we have felt at other shows) and ambition. Well done all!

we had our tiny minds well and truly blown by the mystical stonehenge circle of finger containers, goldilocks neckpiece and glove purse of Polly vanderGlas

and we loved these oversized felt and knit neckpieces by Shio Otani

and we had to give a sentimental vote for the mother and baby bear fob chain by Ella Bird. Aren't you all impressed?


a breath of fresh air

The ladies of HML are in the thick of Fresh Selection Madness! But there is something so fantastic about graduate shows. Over the past couple of years we've really seen some standouts and 2006 has been no exception. Here are some of our faves from the RMIT Gold and Silversmithing Show - of which the most interesting work was neither gold nor silver!:

Jamie Andersson

Danielle Lott

Lucy Blackmore


Lights up!

It’s Official. Limited edition jewelry pieces from Iggy and Lou Lou are now available online as they swing open the velvet curtain on their new and beautiful website.

The best of three collections featured:

Last Romance in Paris
The dueling pistols of Onegin, the everlasting love of Wuthering Heights, the mysterious shadows of Film Noir, The poetry of eighteenth century Paris. Romance has always meant high drama for love lost and found.

Ships in the Night
Unchartered waters hold many mysteries. Let the stars be your guide as you navigate
to lands beyond these shores.

Friends of the Forest
One must be stout of heart to enter the forest. Be brave little one and the trees will protect you. Wear your talismans to guard you against the shadows.

Irresistable. And just a fine example of how a website can really showcase a makers work. Always remember crafties that everyone loves a story!



cut that out!


All this talk of food is making us hungry! The ladies of hml have turned their minds to xmas cookies a la Martha - nothing tells the mailman/teacher/neighbor/landlord/and in Ramona's case Video Guy (thanks for getting in season 2 of Battlestar Gallactica!) Seasons Greetings more than a little bag of shortbread. You know our intentions are good but we may be buying the old Walkers petticoats squares December 24 like everyone else. In the meantime check out just part of the extensive staff room collection of cookie cutters.

We love their simple sillhouette shapes and have a particular fondness the the Hang Ten foot cookie (insert foot in mouth joke here). You can also see some of our Easter cookies here - just to prove that we do actually bake on occasion (well annually at least...)


fast food nation


Nibbles by Lucy Folk
Regular readers of HML will know we have a penchant for jewelry and a passion for food.We like both to be robust, delicious, inclusive and inviting. All these words can be said to describe the work of Melbourne based jeweler Lucy Folk. A member of the Pieces of Eight stable of stars Folk's new work evoke sensory memories of chowing down on burgers, popcorn and pretzels, cheese and crackers and some silvery sardines.
Incorporating such craft skills as whittling, crochet and carving as well as screenprinting on a series of teatowels and napkins, Folk has gone all out with this spread of treats. All we need now is a good shiraz and our sense of humour before deciding on the cracker necklace or the pretzel brooch...

Pieces of Eight 635 Brunswick Street North Fitzroy

Nibbles by Lucy Folk runs from November 10 to December 2


the fresh prince of fed square


This year hml have made it onto the Phillipo Raphael Fresh Award selection committee... what does this mean we hear you ask? Well, it means the next month will be spent frantically heading out to all the graduate shows trying to scope out the freshest selection of crafty student work. There's big money on offer for the winner ($5000) so the competition will be running hot. Needless to say hml will be run ragged and living on cheap wine and finger food for the next few weeks.

Our first picks are the 'Flat Pack' and 'Blooming Lotus' chairs (above) by Prapass Chairat from the Department of Built Environment @ RMIT Diploma of Arts Furniture Design program which waws on show at Federation Square, and we love em'. Now a disclaimer, just because we love them doesn't mean they're going to win the grand prize, and by showing them here we're not trying to curry favour for them. Our aim is to show you some of the best graduate works around and tell you where you can see them. It's a great time of year, all the exhibitions are free and some of the work will floor you!


run it up the flagpole and see who salutes!


HML has known and been a fan of Deb Sestak's work for quite a while, and we were delighted to run into the lady and her work while scoping the Box Hill TAFE Diploma of Arts, Studio Stitch/Textiles graduate show way over in Mt Waverly. Deb's selection of alternative flags were sensitively pieced collections of reclaimed shirt fabrics, intricately stitched and artfully constructed.They made a big statement without having to shout about it and were easily best in show.


frou frou


Look it is not like us to go recommending stores where fabric is $37.50 a metre. You're much more likely to find the ladies of hml in the bargain bins at Spotlight going ga ga over some slightly dodgy denim and some weird foam shapes (surely we can do something with that? suggestions welcome...).
In our defence before entering the pretty leadlighted, exposed brick, cathedral ceilinged, eastern suburb haven of Calico and Chintz (yes that is the name of the store) we could be found burrowing through the record bins at the Glen Waverly Brotherhood of St Lawrence op shop. But if any of you are textile junkies like us then this place has some pretty high grade candy to tempt your Visa cards out of retirement.

We swooned at the fat quarters, we felt faint at the Rowan book section, we went wild for the bamboo crochet needles, we became obsessed with taking quilting classes! All jokes aside, those of you wizzing by on your way to Camberwell market or the Rivoli cinema should think about making a pit stop...

Calcio and Chintz is at 99 Auburn Rd Hawthorn


one velvet morning...

Kate Rohde's vision of kitsch-baroque excess inspired us to forrage around our own collections in an attempt to find our own high camp versions of exhibitable peacockery. I happened upon my own when I dug out these much loved velvet souvenier paintings from such far flung locales as Guam, Hawaii, Japan and Pompei, the perfect rememberance of any happy holiday.

I think they're super cool, but I fear it may be a dying art as i've been hard pressed to find any newbies on my recent travels... That said, now that i've rekindled my love for them i've decided that they are back on my top five collectable list and i'll be heading straight to ebay, hitting the local garage sales, and heading out to the country op shops to try and bulk up the collection.


birds of a feather


Opening this week is an absolute must see in the window of e.g etal. New work by jeweler and artist Anna Davern, long time hml supporter and all round good egg. Her work is witty, energising and beaut all at the same time. Bit like Anna herself really...

And have you ever had one of those moments where you walk past a window and something stops you dead in your tracks? You can't quite believe what you are seeing, but it must be real because there it is right in front of you. The ladies of hml had this experience last week while wandering up Gertrude Street. There behind the normally austere glass of Gertrude Contemporary Artspace was the current show by Kate Rohde. We were instantly seduced by this plastic fantastic baroque vision. A menagerie of strange bejewelled taxidermy mysteries that really has to be seen to be believed. It's a totally immersive experience. Those of you that can't make it this week will have to make with these images, which altho beautiful can't really express how wonderous this show really is...

Can you spot the HML team in the mirrors?