Little project of the week


The wonderful Miss Pen Pen had a birthday recently and so I made this patchwork inspired tray to serve her gigantic cups of tea on. Despite being the Queen of Craft and being very hard to make things for I persevere knowing full well her good nature will forgive my foibles with mod podge. Wait until she sees what I have planned for Christmas! RAMONA


Honour of the Week

Last week I had my annual task of judging the craft section of the Veterans Affairs Short Story,Art,Writing and Craft Awards. This is my fifth year of being judge and it was particularly bittersweet. The group had diminished considerably in the past 12 months and I was saddened to hear many of my favourite entrants had passed away. Next year they will open the competition to children and grandchildren of veterans but it just won't be the same. I was so pleased to see the work of May Brown (well into her 90's and creator of amazing knitted vignettes that are always the highlight of my year)

If you'd like to see past years entrants start here and that will link you all the way back. RAMONA



On the Fringe

The intern and I headed out to Abbotsford Convent on Saturday afternoon to see Fringe Furniture It's always an interesting show as the designers are often a mix of first time exhibitors and decidedly non fringe professionals. There is usually a couple of dodge things that look like they were cobbled together in the shed the week before but this year the collection is fairly polished and engaging. The setting really helps (we always hated it in the museum foyer, felt like such an afterthought) and it's well worth a trip. You can always combine it with coffee and cake from the bakery, a snoop around the studios and a visit to C3 gallery.

Fringe Furniture
22 September - 8 October 2011
Thu - Sun, 11am - 5pm
The Industrial School
Sacred Heart Courtyard
Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers St
Abbotsford VIC 3067



plastic fantastic

Spoiler alert... if you happen to be the owner/creator behind Cottage Industry AVERT YOUR GAZE, well at least until I get to Gertrude street in an hour or so.

Ms Durston has a habit of hopping off for her birthday each year and really given the option why wouldn't you! As such I am always playing catch up with the gift giving. Thankfully over the last few years I've been lucky enough to happen across a collection of very special handmade wonders that usually make up in craft points what they've lost in tardiness. This year I believe is no exception, combining three of our lady of craft's favourite themes: vintage flower prints, clever stitchwork and plasticated utilitarian three dimensional object d'weird. I think she'll love it.

While I was hunting clearly the op-shop gods were smiling as I also found something for me ,which of course makes the first find all the sweeter.

Really for a log-lady loving lady could this print be more perfect?

and just because ITS TOO FREAKING GOOD (yes I am shouting) here's a close up of that moose call... now I just have to convince the in-house architect that it deserves some wall space amongst the 'real' art. BECK



nice work if you can get it

Ok so for most of you it's going to require a road trip or some deep commitment to public transport to get to the Robert Baines survey show at Glen Eira Gallery. But it's important we tells ya! A chance to see 35 years of practice from arguably our most preeminent jewelers and metalsmiths is well worth the travel time but the added bonus of seeing the work of one of the great eachers, tastemakers and mentors makes this an absolute must see.

Im going to try and get down there on Saturday for the free floor talk that starts at 230 pm. Dr Baines has always been a rather cryptic character and I've only ever seen him talking about other peoples work. I'll be interested to hear what he has to say about now being considered a living treasure, the state of craft and design in higher education, the new makers he most admires and what makes his work truly international.

Show opens Thursday and runs until October 16
Glen Eira Gallery CNR of Glen Eira and Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield.


Books of the week

Poetry and stitches

I've been so lucky lately. I have received quite a haul of gorgeous books for my recent birthday. One of which is just so mega amazingly wondrous it will get it's own post next week. It's a book so special Im actually giving it it's own shelf! In the meantime I can recommend any of these texts for inspiration and Ideas.Miss P recently came back from an annual sojourn in Tasmania and brought back a gorgeous limited edition book of 10 island writers and crafters along with a whole pile of goodies for me from MONA. The book is just lovely and I have read it cover to cover. The other tomes are some great boy focussed DIY sewing books and a crazy Japanese embroidery book. Aren't we all suckers for those Japanese craft books? Are they useful at all? Probably not but lovely nonetheless! RAMONA


Project of last week

Caravan of love

I know fathers day is yesterdays news but I'd forgotten to share a little crafty moment the womble and I had putting together this mini album. He has become quite adept at pasting (I do the cutting) and as corny as this gift was I do believe it was much appreciated. Better than a pair of socks I hope! Ramona



Band Camp

New show VA opening at Utopian Slumps this weeked sees eclectic ethnographer, musician and found object magpie Dylan Martorell as curator/in house DJ selecting some of his favourite artists and making a brilliant mixed tape that waxes lyrical on the nexus between music and art.

Given my love of the 'blended' genre from Sun Ra to the New York Dolls this one is clearly a no brainer for me, and I'll be there with the music loving sling widget come Saturday lunchtime. The other major attraction lies in VA's killer line up:  Marco Fusinato, Michael Graeve, Tarquin Manek, Dylan Martorell, Victor Meertens that's some serious melbourne experimental art/rock/jazz/world/improv talent people. Expect excellent soundscaping alongside works spanning emmersive photography through exploded vinyl to baked bread. Sounds good to me. BECK

September 17 - October 8
Utopian Slumps
ground floor, 33 Guildford Lane Melbourne
Open Wed - Sat 12-6pm.
other times by appointment: +61 3 9077 9918


Party of the Week

You'll have to forgive us dear readers. Between technical hiccups (powersurge =computer death) and small things (age 17, 3, 2.5 and 100 days) the wheels have fallen off at hml hq! I'm trying out some new technology this week while my delightful tech guy fixes up the black box. This entry comes to you via an iPad app or two, we'll see how it goes!

I had a significant birthday last week so I had a great excuse for some party craft. I made some cool favours using my new wood grain and birch stamps. These little handmade notebooks looked pretty spiffy I think. Shame I forgot to give them out to half my guests - hopeless! We had birthday breakfast - at 830 am on a Sunday. Let's just say naps were needed. But who can resist that insane three tiered chocolate pavlova that Maggie B created?




locution n. 1. a particular form of expression; a phrase or expression. 2. a style of speech or verbal expression; phraseology. (from Latin locutio an utterance, from locui to speak)

Ok so we're playing favourites here... but really this one promises a lot and we know it will deliver. The incredibly talented and completly lovely Katherine Bowman has been working on this show for two years and we're excited. Ramona has been lucky enough to have seen much of the 'work in progress' and she's been talking it up for months...she's even opening the show on Thursday night. Those familiar with Katherines work will be keenly anticipating this next chapter in her exhibition practice, and those new to her work will no doubt gasp in wonder as Locutions is chock full of her highly personal and equisitly rendered pieces that perfectly express the nexus between poetry and craftsmanship.

Like it says on the box: "Katherine Bowman's new work examines the way we imbue objects and artefacts with meaning. Through a series of small box like vessels, themes of containment, secrecy, talismanic power and personal mythology come together to create a collection of mysterious and quiet pieces that draw the viewer in like a small poem. Pulling inspiration from sources as diverse as Federico Garcia Lorca, Jean Baudrillard and Nick Cave, these intricately decorated boxes not only provide a secret space to carry one's true self but a shelter for the vulnerable heart and the spirit animus." And really who are we to argue? BECK

Katherine Bowman: Locutions (the loved object)

9 Sep – 15 Oct 2011
Gallery 1, Craft Victoria
31 Flinders Lane Melbourne
Opening: Thursday 8 September, 6-8pm



signs of life

Two shows have caught my eye this week - Space Invaders at RMIT and Diamonds in the Rough at Lamington Drive and both are opening TONIGHT people!!!

Whether using spray-can graf, texta tags, paste-ups or desktop magazine layout to catch the viewers eye both of these shows are a testament to the pavlovian appeal of advertising vernacular's visual language and clever scripting. After all, we all want to be sold something dont we? When done well, both advertising and street art can reflect our deepest desires and showcase the best of our creatives - able to be brilliantly amusing, thought provoking and gaspingly beautiful at the same time.

Space invaders looks at "the artist and their iconic street-based works at the point of their transition from the ephemeral to the collectable and from the street to the gallery", along the way both celebrating and making the case that stencils, posters, paste-ups, zines and stickers all comprise an important chapter in the development of Australian prints and drawings. Raising the question of legal vs. renegade once again RMIT Gallery has commissed a public art project with local street artists who will create a work in the laneway near RMIT Gallery during the exhibition. In addition a public seminar, Vandals or Vanguards?, will discuss the political, social and artistic aspects of street art and zines, Monday September 26 in the gallery space. Heavy  - but my money is on the vanguards.

'Diamonds in the Rough' by Andrew Ashton at Lamington Drive until September 17.

Diamonds in the Rough has been put together by design wizard Andrew Ashton and coincides with the release of desktop magazine’s 25 year anniversary ‘Time Capsule’ edition - edited no less by one and same wizard Mr A Ashton. Get ready for a gallery housing around 20 years worth of design ephemera, from a long list of Australian design glitterati... horders delight no? t should also be mentioned that this will the the last cardboard show at lamington drive so it is your last chance to say goodbye to the brown study that has been Lamington Drive before it becomes "a gallery formerly made of cardboard for nice people".
Given the pedigree's of both these shows i'm looking forward to seeing some seriously good schtick. BECK