Sweet Dominance
We've been long time fans of Nina Oikawa and so we are really excited to see her new show opening this week at Pieces of Eight Gallery. This Japanese native/Melbourne based jeweller has mastered resin casting and taken it beyond the chunky junk we usually associate with the material.
The pieces are both playful and dynamic, sometimes kitsch but always technically brilliant. And as you can see from the pics there is a kind of springtime quality to them which is kind of joyous don't you think?
It seems only fitting that we feature a Japanese maker this week as Beck takes flight (with the Architect as her travelling companion) again this week to the land of the rising sun - taking advantage of those cheap tix to Nagoya (via Cairns) for a much needed break. She better come home laden with wacky craft books, stationery ephemera and a digital camera full of HML gems. Meanwhile Ramona and the Intern will hold down the fort, waiting at the mailbox for the postcards with excellent stamps...
Sweet Dominance opens October 30 and runs thru til November 24
Pieces of Eight 635 Brunswick St Nth Fitzroy.



SPANGLISH Sometimes the ladies of HML get a little fanatical about things. For some reason it was determined that for a long overdue family dinner Paella would be the Plate Du Jour. Hours of research were done into procuring the perfect recipe, Simon Johnson provided the excellent and authentic Paella dish, Preston Market was the hot ticket for all the seafood, litres of homemade chickenstock simmered on the stove for the prerequisite number of hours. Saffron was bought as was chorizo sausage - all was going according to plan...
What a shame there were only 5 for dinner and enough Paella for 10! Excellent leftovers but...



Open House
The ladies of HML imagine many of you have trooped thru or had studios in the much loved Nicholas building. These hallowed halls of creativity, enterprise and shenanigans are open to all this Thursday and Friday eve and we do urge you to avail yourself of the lovely lift ladies and take a peek at the goings on. Beck and Ramona will be donning the neccesary art safari gear (sensible shoes peeps) cameras in hand for some hml exclusives. Maybe we'll see you there?




You never leave Miss PenPen's studio empty handed, or empty stomached for that matter! During our last week's visit we washed down buckets of chocolate coated buicuit balls with enormous cups of tea, drooled over the array of new pieces littering the studio and managed to swagger home with not just a bag of silk scarf scraps for Beck's latest card making expolits BUT ALSO with this drop dead gorgeous vintage curtain and ticking peg bag.


As you all know we are quite the practical pair and embrace solid utilitarian objects whose form fits their function, but this here peg bag, while more than capable of fulfilling it's clothesline duties is way too pretty to be left outside, so for now its hung up at HML headquarters housing "precious things".



Well the ladies hml always get excited when we here that the super stylins of Mr Nathan Gray are on display. We are doubly excited when we get to pretend that we are cool by heading out to Utopian Slumps. Apparently he's done an amazing installation -collage, woodwork, found objects, drawings, basketry, makeshift constructions - sounds excellent doesn't it?
Also on our radar is NZ chap Peter Robinson at Sutton Gallery. The show title 'Concatenation and Dispersion in Project Space' is a little pompous, a litte heavy handed, but we think his work looks pretty playful and interesting...we'll let you know
And to extend the notion of the Handmade the ladies will be paying a visit to the latest at 45 Downstairs 'Propositions and Game Plans' - an exhibition of composers notebooks and manuscripts. Process is always interesting and insight into another craft is intriguing.



double trouble

The architect's sister finally had her twins - Congratulations Daz and Luciana! Beck managed to fulfil her Aunty duties by knocking out not one but TWO baby blankets just in time for the bubbets arrival. Luciana played mum, literally, on the gender so intially there was much to-ing and fro-ing about how to manage color schemes. In the end she settled on a 'warm' and 'cool' color palette (which HML reccomends as a pretty safe bet if you ever find yourself in this situation) As it's turned out the boys, stocky, dark haired Lucas and Rory, a fair wee snippet of a lad suit the colors to a "t". We've reccomended the red/brown combo for Rory and the blue/green combo for Lucas, but of course we'll be leaving it up to the new mum and dad to make the final decision... when they get a minute, which given their current workload might not be for another few months at least!




HML was lucky enough to secure an audience with 'The Founder' this week. We got an excellent sneak peak behind the scenes at the new and improved Flatland headquarters and were much impressed with the set up... one side has a retro minimal Radio One research desk vibe (with top drawer Federation square/Flinders street station views) while the other is all 'Soviet Constructivist' worker bee action. Genius combo really. We loved that sitting somewhere in the middle between Flatlands' two poles were the remainders of a highly commercial commission for some denim clad entity called 'Lee'. What really blew us away however, was the table full of new covetables, straight from the fingers of the master plyman: hinge jaw mirrored skulls, a forest of lop sided firs and whole new vocabulary of Flatlandisms ripe for the picking.

The Founder tells us that in the next couple of weeks there will be a launch party for the new base camp, including a special 'one off' studio sale. We'll be sure to keep you posted on the time and date, and in the meantime, start saving your pennies people.



Busy busy busy!
Ok so we thought we'd just throw everything at you and see if anything sticks. Our advice to you all is to nominate a day of the week where you can just get in the car and see as many shows as you can - bit like a mini festival. After all there is no real reason for you to do the supermarket shopping, washing, gardening, sleeping or sport that usually goes on every Saturday. Trust us when we say Art is Good Exercise both for the for mind and body...
First cab off the rank is the very busy Mary Louise Edwards who is a appearing in a group show at Flinders Lane Gallery (upstairs bit) - opening is on Friday night between 6-8...

Ceramic Artist Kris Coads show at Diane Tanzer Gallery in Fitzroy is aptly titled 'Waiting' -the opening is on Saturday between 3-5. Coads work is always exquisite, poetic and challenging and it will be great to see how she approaches that space. And we will be waiting ever so patiently for the weekend to roll around... Also opening this week and just down the road in Brunswick St is Linda Hughes' show at Studio Ingot. Hughes jewellery is fiercely modern and finely made. We are expecting lots of colourfield play, opposites and geometry.
And don't forget to pop in to see Dell Stewarts logarrific work at the New Alice Euphemia store in Gertrude St (Dell email us a pic wouldya!). It's going to be a great week peeps! For heavens sake get out into the sun and enjoy that hit of Vitamin D.



I see red I see red I see red...
Took a tour of the new Mind exhibition yesterday at Melbourne Museum and enjoyed not only looking at various brains in jars but also experiencing dream sequences, learing the history of mental illness (fun) and attempting memory puzzles and discovering that I have no memory at all... if I did I would have remembered that the Fringe Furniture show was downstairs on the lower ground. Lucky I stumbled onto it on the way to the carpark...
Big trends this year (if you can call them trends) lots of steel, lots of red, peppered with wit -and a much higher standard than some of the cobbled together shows we've seen in recent years. I liked this outdoor table by Tina Sudell and this pop out ply chair by Mat De Mosier...
And it was crafty love at first sight for Elisabeth Lawrence's Shaggy Chair (particularly liked the tartan accents) it wouldn't be Fringe Furniture if the cardboard tube didn't make an appearance but this stool by Troy Backhouse was nicely resolved and pretty...
You are probably all sick of laser cut stencilly type things (or is that just us?) but this table was quite lush. It was made by the very clever Peter McCliskey who created the hml absolute favourite...
... A giant bunny sculpture for the garden. part Miffy, Part Donnie Darko - it fitted all the criteria - 1.red 2.steel 3.fun...
It's free to pop in and see the show so if you are in the area and can stand walking across the windy tundra to get to the museum door it's worth a look.



We thought it might be nice for you all to see some snaps from Katherine Bowmans opening at Warrnambool Gallery on Saturday...

The work transformed under gallery lights, feeling more like a story, or a photo album. The effect was heightened by the fact that nearly everyone at the opening was wearing black or grey - a strange contemporary reflection of what was on the walls.
Here is the lovely and talented Katherine listening to the opening speech by her friend Nick Bastow (a noble wordsmith!)
It was a lovely time enjoyed by all. Of course the Intern could not be sated by mere art alone and so we took the loooooooong way home to see the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Rd and then promptly turned right and got lost in The Otways - all very nice but I am not the biggest nature lover and the forrest FREAKED ME OUT MAN. I drove for 1O hours. I am still recovering...
We urge you all to go - lovely short way is on the A1 (princess highway) through towns like Terang and Camperdown. Took us 3.5 hours to get there and...6.5 hours to get home. argh!




We'd like to tell you that we've become so super cool that we don't go slightly faint when we see the surgical stylins of artist and bookwrangler Nicholas Jones or that we didnt get excited when we heard he was collaborating with Nat Starr-Thomas on a new show at Third Drawer Down Gallery on the is month until the 3rd of November....
But really when the gallery emails you images this amazing it's hard to remain aloof. In fact we are dancing up and down like idiots in the face of pure genius. The ladies of HML do have a rep for being a little bit OTT when they see work like this... We keep banging on about Third Drawer Down Gallery and we hope you've all made it down there. Maybe take a book on the 246 bus to get bayside, just don't give it to Mr Jones to hold while you look at his work...

SO WHAT? New Works on Paper by Nichloas Jones and Nat Starr - Thomas Third Drawer Down Gallery 32 Robe St St Kilda (open thur-fri 1pm to 6pm and Sat 11-4)



the breakfast club

There's a new kid on the block, Ramona's block, and they're a serious contender kicking some fast breaking goals. Regular readers will know our love of Palomino on High Street, (Beck's local wood lined and ceramic filled morning spot) but now we are happy to report another crafty cafe is on the scene; complete with John Hughes inspired name, menu and silhoutte plateage. "The breakfast club", and they do killer baked eggs. Thankfully Principal Vernon was nowhere to be seen when we tried it out yesterday, although must to admit to holding out for an Estevez or Judd sighting.

and how can you not love a place that does a long stitch, sailor tattoo inspired open sign?

or little matching ceramic milking cow salt and pepper shakers?



this one's for the birds

We have a thing about birds here at handmadelife : sparrows, larks, thrushes, finches, swallows, weavers, blackbirds, wrens, warblers, orioles and owls all get us a little heated. So when confronted with collectable clutter featuring one of our feathered friends our hearts skip and our wallets open.
You can imagine the excitement yesterday when we happened upon this Polish paper folk faux cookoo clock, or indeed the excellently crafted stitch work below. We were quite overcome and fell over ourselves to get some cash on the counter before another twitcher got in first.
Thank god we also managed to snaffle the "i'm a lady" teacups at the same time, so when we got home we could recover from our coniptions with a strong brew and some lemon syrup cake.



Distant Elegies by Katherine Bowman

The ladies of HML are breaking up this week! Well only geographically. One half is heading to Third Drawer Down Gallery (more on that later in the week) while the other half will be bundling the Intern and Mama into the cherrymobile and zooming to Warrnambool this Saturday for the opening of Katherine Bowmans show.
Inspired by a series of Rilke poems and a box of black and white photographs given to her by her grandmother, these beautiful canvases are elegant and solemn - and very much like a poem in themselves. Being the fine jeweller that she is they are also delicately beaded and stitched. Quite stunning
The last time we saw these they were lining the hallway in Ms Bowmans home. We expect they will transform again under gallery lights. We urge you to make the trip. The Official opening is this Saturday at 1230 (so you'll have time for morning tea in Colac if you leave early enough).

Show runs from Oct 2 - Dec 9. Best directions to get there are welcome (we're thinking great ocean road?)

and to read the Rilke poems that were an inspiration head here