eye do

Ok so with only 25 days to go it is really crunch time at HML headquarters. Beck and I had a long conversation about handmade holidays on Friday and this year more than ever we're making gifts not just because we are compulsive craftaholics but because we are too poor to go and buy them.It's crazy out there in ecocrisis land and although our offerings may be small the recipients will know that their gift was made with love and with them in mind.

This wheat and lavender patchwork eye pillow is for my lovely friend Miss S -who, when not working very hard helping Altzheimers patients and their families, likes a good lie down and a dream.


Pirate of the week

avast me hearties!

It was young Thomas' first birthday this week, (Hooray and Happy Birthday little man!) and as a result I have been frantically trying to get the handmade element of his birthday present finished before he and Max have their belated birthday playdate tomorrow. Thankfully, with the architect away on business and some excellent Glee inspired television viewing (I can hear Ramona belting out her show tunes from here)tonight has been the night that the pirate penguin has finally transformed from this...

to this...

Just the ticket for young Mr T. to recline upon while watching the morning installment of In the Night Garden. Let's hope he likes it!



the princess diaries

With only a month to go now it's a little crazy here at the HML Christmas Cave. I have decided to concentrate most of my efforts on the kids in my life this year - because lets face it - Christmas is really about them. My niece Alani  is gettting this Princess and the Pea set...

It looked so easy in the book. Brisbane based designer Sarah Bowe had written great instructions and her princess was an uncomplicated tube. a couple of hours easy!

But really once you factor in making 12 mattresses with stuffing, a blankie, a pillow, a princess and a pea it took me a whole weekend.  But I love the result, and I hope little Alani will too!

My mattresses certainly aren't as neat as Sarah's and my fabric choices came from the scrap cupboard (not the gorgeous Japanese fabric in the book). And I didn't do the little collar, just finished her off with a bow (I ran out of time and energy).

Now I just need to find a little book to go with it. Certainly my favourite present so far!




The ladies of HML have been touting the exhibition space C3 at Abbotsford Convent all year. Suffice to say we havent actually managed to make it to an opening. But this week all that changes with the group show OMFG! promising to be jam packed with some seriously clever (and funny) contemporary art. We'll be there at 6pm tomorrow night to toast the participants - including two of our faves Dell Stewart and Adam Cruickshank (whose work above made us rofl).




For those of you that can't make it down to Lab X for the opening of  Three of a Kind I thought I'd give a sneak preview of some of the Irene's work. These beautiful hand beaded porcelain pieces are so delicate.

And quite different to her darker more gothic work. A collection of them would be perfect in a quiet corner

It's going to be difficult for me to choose - I am partial to the large square one with the flying duck!

Here's the lovely lady herself installing - not easy when you are 7 months pregnant and its 500 degrees. We were very grateful Lab X was air conditioned to sub zero temps!



Good as Pie

The ladies of HML are beside themselves this week with the discovery of the embroidered portraits by Jennifer Andrews. Her Twin Peaks Series has made us a little weak at the knees and if we had the money we'd book a flight to Austin Texas to see the opening of her show. Instead we have to make do with her brilliant blog Children Playing With Fire

Our first blog was actually called Log Lady so we would have to buy this one and share it!

The French knots on Killer Bob's beard are just amazing. And he is just as scary in thread!

The Man from another place would calm our fears. He'd tell us "You are already in Texas, be careful of the owls!"
Genius people. pure and simple.



Connect the Dots

These fresh faced creatives are the recent graduates of the NMIT Product Design course. They've created work as diverse as lighting to jewellery and are displaying their final pieces at Off The Kerb Gallery in Collingwood. We were particularly taken with this Family Tree neck piece by Samantha Phillips which is very sweet. A good interpretation of carrying photos in your wallet, carrying your history. We think she could go into business with commissions of these things. Show runs to the 27th  - which is sooner than you think.



south of the border

It takes quite a bit to get us to cross the Yarra River and head to the other side of town. Luckily our friend Irene from Iggy and Lou Lou is enough to lure us to  Lab X Gallery down in St Kilda. Irene, Maddy and Beci are three of the most talented and prodigious artistes in town so its well worth the bus fare south. The Gals have a blog going for the show and an unrivalled media campaign (but remember you heard it hear first folks!)

LAB X Gallery

40 Pakington Street St Kilda AU 3182
opening night fri 20 nov 6-8pm 
weekday hours: 8.30am – 6.00pm
weekend hours: 11am – 3pm



stitch and bitch

as with most things I undertake I seem to make mountains where molehills would be perfectly adequate. So here I am sitting with the over cooked yet still half baked results of what should have been a doddle... hand stitched christmas baubles. Really I shouldn't complain, once they've got their red ticking backing, red ribbon and are filled with gingery, cinnamon christmas spice mix they'll be delicious. It's just that as usual I started stitching one circle on each and couldn't stop becuase 1. sashiko stitching is so bloody addictive, and 2. I working on the stitchwork was giving me the most excellent excuse for watching loads of bad television.

Thankfully the vegetable garden in another matter entirely... minimal work, maximum return with even better prospects for the next few months, although if anyone is looking for a few tonnes of cherry tomatoes come december let me know... I may have overplanted just a little.



tall tales and true...

As if there weren't already enough openings this week, here's another one that we assure you will be another corker! Catherine Campbell, aka My Folk Lover, is an artist and illustrator whose collage and watercolour stylings we both admire, and her show opens TONIGHT!, where else but Northcote.

So if you're heading up the hill to do pizza, parties or even hang in one of the many backyard beer gardens on offer wander just a little bit further up High Street and check it out. Those of you who are already fans will know to get there before the doors even have a chance to open in order to snap up an original before the hungry hordes get their greedy mitts on them.

Tall Tales and Papercuts
Friday 13 November 6 - 9pm

Extended Play Gallery
547 High Street Northcote



Oh Canada!

Nothing makes us happier here at hml than mail, especially mail from far flung locales we've always wanted to travel to. Yesterday this postcard winged it's way all the way from Winnipeg, arriving none the worse for wear, bright as a button and sweet as can be. Thanks Takashi, we love your work too and we cant wait to meet you in February!



hey everybody it's dancey dance time!

Ok so we don't normally talk up celebrites here at hml, but this pic of the jolie-pitt crew (or part there-of) in their halloween finest was too good to say no to. All treat, no trick.



get a gander at these

Well, while the trip up North might have proved a logistical nightmare on the technology front it did provide some spectacular op shopping moments, not the least of which was when I found this 1950's set of stackable geese measuring cups for (wait for it) $1!!! People I gasped, how could everyone else have missed these beauties? Obviously they instantly went to the top of the pile of seventies bed linen, multiple and dubious crafting 'how to' books and old embroidered bits and bobs. Maxwell of course also fell instantly in love with them and has taken them to the bath every night since.

Hopefully though he'll tire of them quickly and they can sit all stacked up together on the kitchen windowsill sometime soon. After all they set of the Nigella bread bin brilliantly.



Let's face it, around about this time of year there's a lot on, and the competition for your spare time and spare change is fierce! This week we're staying local, so apologies to all those interstate and international viewers looking for reccomendations: there's just too much on in our own hometown...
bottled up

"Can a ceramic artist bottle emotion?" this is the question posed by Pan Gallery and Craft Victoria's inaugural, annual, award show now on at Pan Gallery. If you're as curious as we are about the answer get on over and  decide for yourself.
November 6-25
Pan Gallery (Nortchote Pottery)
142 - 144 Weston St Brunswick East.

the graduate(s)
We here at hml like to keep things fresh so we'll be heading out to the graduate shows this week (and most probably next week as well) in our search for the hottest young things in craft. Here's just a few that we'll be clearing the calendar for this week.

NMIT Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology- Jewellery
35 graduates, and yes  there WILL be things on sale... last years was a doozy so take our advice and get in early. November 13 - 21 Northcote Town Hall: Studio 1 189 High Street, Northcote.

RMIT Industrial Design
and yes we know this is a pic from last years show but what will be on offer this year is still a big secret, so you'll have to get there yourself - or wait for us to post pics next week.
November 13-25
Guilford Lane Gallery
20-24 Guilford Lane, Melbourne

RMIT Bachelor of Design (Interior Design)
this show includes work from all three years, so should prove an interesting mixed bag at least.
13-16 November
246 Nicholson Street Fitzroy

LaTrobe University Bendigo Bachelor of Visual Arts (Ceramics)
one for the out of towners
November 13 - 27
Phyllis Palmer Gallery and Graphic Design Exhibition space
The Visual Arts Centre 121 View Street Bendigo

RMIT Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Gold and Silversmithing
(first and second years) Curated by jewellery institution Mark Edgoose this one is bound to provide some serious fresh talent.
4–13 November
RMIT School of Art Gallery Building 2, Bowen Street, off LaTrobe Street.

RMIT Diploma of Fine Arts (Furniture Design) and RMIT Diploma of Furnishing Technology
always interesting to see new things to sit on.
11-15 November
No Vacancy Gallery
QV Byuilding 30-40 Jane Bell lane

RMIT Bachelor of Fine Arts and HONS (Sculpture)
surprisingly crafty
RMIT Building 37, Level 1
Cnr Swanston Street and A'Beckett Street

As for next week here's the heads up: don't spend all your hard earned peso's at once, we've still got RMIT  Ceramics, Textiles, Gold and Silversmithing, Fashion to open, as well as the Monash Megathon to contend with. Happy Hunting people.



words and pictures

Making a living from craft/design is not easy. It looks great on the outside - no boss (read no paycheck), no 8am starts (read work through the night if you have to) no saving up holiday days (read no sick pay, overtime, or...holidays). There is also the added pressure of coming up with new things all the time. On occasion you can feel like a sausage factory.

Christmas comes with its particular stresses. You have to get work done for it in September for a start and if you don't make your money over this all important season it makes for a very difficult first quarter of the following year. I'm only just getting my catalogue out now - about three weeks late (read completely on time for me). But for the first time in ages I genuinely like the new work.

I've used old fashioned Christmas messages, collaged them onto linen then hand painted extensions to the floral frames. Scanned it all at very high res to get the fabric detail. They print really well, very soft but retaining the detail of the fabric. The cards have both a vintage and a modern feel and there isn't a silhouetted deer in sight. I'm pretty sure that the market will be pretty limited for these - making my January a poor poor month in 2010

No matter. I feel like closing down the factory and growing things instead.



build em up 

Thinking a lot about architecture recently. Perhaps as a bit of a distraction from the craft and design blogs we spend too much time reading.  There are 4 architecture blogs that have become weekly destinations.  Sometimes it's good to go and read things outside your world just to get a bit of perspective, some fresh ideas and inspiration.

Architecture could be called an extreme craft. Having recently interviewed an architect I was struck by one thing he said "I can build anything, I can design your house, all the furniture in it, the lights, the door knobs anything" - imagine leading that kind of handmadelife?

1. A Daily Dose of Architecture - a brilliant starting point and not too esoteric.
2. MoCo Loco - you have to see it to believe it. It not only scrolls sideways it makes you think laterally.
3. Life Without Buildings - a blog by outspoken Yale man Jimmy Stamp. genius food for thought.
4. Confessions of an Architect - literally. architects confess their sins. and then it gets published. addictive.


We apologise for the lack of posts last week. One house was struck down by the plague (ie chicken pox) the other experienced technical difficulties beyond control and there were planes to catch to warmer climes . This week promises to deliver as we've even scheduled in some 'go out and look at stuff' time.
First thing to do of course is head down to Pieces of Eight and check out the new show by Justine Austen. Monster Zoo is her first solo show after heading south from QLD some years back.  We are a big fans of monsters (like Rufus above) - and with pieces titled 'Maurice the Marauder' and 'Monsieur Ballard' we are guarenteed to get a laugh out of these finely crafted creatures.

Weirdly enough Austen's Monsters remind us of John Kelly's paintings on show this month at Niagara Gallery. Those of you in Melbourne or in Paris will know his Cow up a Tree work. There is a Lucien Freud show on there too if you like superstar painting. We prefer imaginary monsters any day.