taking notes

I have to admit that if the one thing that making Christmas presents has taught me over the years is that simpler is better, save the more complex handmade gifts for birthdays. A scarf instead of a jumper, a lavender bag instead of a quilt etc.

I have a great collection of stencils and a current obsession with gilding so combining the two on some plain store bought notebooks was and easy peasy 30 minute project. The gilding will tarnish over time but I think that just adds to it.  I have made notebooks from scratch in the past and absolutely love it, but when there are more than three to make I just don't have the time.

Notebooks are fantastic presents for hard to buy for friends. Everyone loves them and uses them. By personalising them you add that handmade element without too much stress. 

Stencils, stamps, stickers, a little drawing or a collage is all it takes. Be bold be brave! And start now because we only have 55 days to go. It should be a joy to make things for gifts not a stressful drudgery (says me who was quilting tea cosies on Christmas eve with a 4 week old baby on the dining table next to me a few years ago!) RAMONA



political bent

It's always gratifying to see more than one show at the same venue. It feels efficient doesn't it? admittedly this only works if the programming has been curated and planned so that shows that rub shoulders don't grate on each other's conceptual nerves. Last week a slew of new shows opened at the cavernous C3 Gallery at Abbotsford Convent, two of which a have a welcome sympatico.

Robyn Hosking
Ceramic artist Robyn Hosking has developed quite the reputation for cultural and political commentary in her complex and almost kinetic work. Her exhibition Federal Follies takes the idea of the satirical political cartoon and turns it into 3d form with curious caricatures of the likes of Abbott, Gillard and Rudd that examine the circus that has define recent times.

Clementine Edwards
Jeweller Clementine Edwards looks further afield at more international current affairs, specifically the Boston Bombings in her show State of Emergency. The ideas behind the volatile mix of fame, fear, media and language that modern warfare and terrorism is made up of. Wont it be interesting to see how a jeweller approaches these complex ideas? We think so. RAMONA

Federal Follies and State of Emergency 23 Oct -10 Nov
C3 Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday 10-5pm



he says she says

The ladies of HML have been banging on about skill sharing, community, collaboration for some time now. No where exemplifies this model more than North City 4 and we are so impressed at how they are extending their education program into different directions. Next Thursday may be Halloween but it's also an opportunity to hear a fantastic collection of people talk about their experiences of cultural exchange.

Tied to their collaboration with the SisterWorks collective and market onsite at NC4. Tickets are a very reasonable $20 and are sure to sell fast so follow this link to book now. It promises to be a terrific evening. It's food for the mind people! RAMONA



making stuff

I know that the majority of people don't share my obsession with all things Christmas so hopefully you'll forgive me that it's taken me 50 days to share these pics with you on the blog. I'm making a decoration a day for 100 days to have a completely handmade tree.

I'm documenting it all over on instagram so if you like you can follow me there, if not I'll post group pics from time to time here on HML. I've promised Beck not to ramp up the Christmas stuff too much until December (when she too also gets the bug!). Making a little something every day is really fun and quite the challenge. Looking over these pictures I can see themes (beads, glitter, gilding) but not too many repeats which is nice.

I won't be attempting this every year that's for sure but what a lovely way to lead up to my beloved season. I'll be giving some away too, to friends and neighbours and I'll be happily avoiding the terror that is the Myer Christmas basement store (well not often anyway). RAMONA

PS: My instagram name is monamadeit 



a stitch in time
Last Thursday saw the very successful opening of three new great shows at Craft Victoria. We know we are biased on so many levels but you must believe us when we say that all three shows combine the very best of contemporary craft - thought provoking, innovative, well made and rooted in history and commentary. So much so we'll talk about each one in the coming weeks.

In Gallery One Stitching Time curated by talented collaborators Dell Stewart and Isobel Knowles matches animation with textile art. not such a mismatch when you think one stitch at a time, one frame at a time. Both Beck and I were amazed at the depth and breadth of the exhibition - such ambition is rarely seen in such a small space.

There are works to play with, to admire, to watch and to touch. Your invited to marvel at the technology but also see behind the curtain of the rudimentary technologies of both craft and film. The different rhythms of each piece create a strange pulse in the gallery space that shifts as your attention does adding to the exploratory nature of the show.

It's important to say that you need to go and see this show for yourself as it's a 'breathing' thing, when you stand in that space you hear it and feel it. We know we are waxing lyrical but this show is such an achievement. There is nothing slapdash about this work, it's all considered and carefully executed. A MUST SEE.

Stitching Time runs until November 30

Artists include:

Jeremy Dower
Pene Durston
Rebecca Hayes
Isobel Knowles
Kate Matthews
Dell Stewart
Kayo Taguchi
Maryann Talia Pau
Pauline Tran-Cecil



over and under 

here's me channelling 1970's sci fi.
If you've been wondering why our posting rate has dropped off a little recently here is the answer. Weaving. We both thought by now that we'd be over the over and under but no... we're in deeper than ever. As our instagram accounts will attest, while we should be writing, testing and collating, we keep finding ourselves back in front of our respective looms doing 'just a couple more rows'.

and  Ramona whipping up a kilt pin mega mix.   
and more weeny weaving by Ramona
Interestingly as we've found our respective grooves, Ramona's work is moving to a smaller scale and she's experiments with square peg looms.

While I'm upsizing up the wazoo and wanting to work on bigger and bigger pieces, and getting back into using more traditional table looms.

What's been fascinating us is that although on many occasions we are working on the same loom with very similar materials our work couldn't be more different. I think given our obsession with tapestry weaving at the moment we are literally drawing with wool, which possibly explains why our results are so different. 

Regular readers will know I am more your flat geometric colour blocked design type (see above) while Ramona is very much your free flowing multi material experimentalist (see below).

Which is hilarious because its almost the diametric opposite of who we are as people. Or maybe it's not... One of our favourite things about making is how different aspects of your own personality and aesthetic sensibility are revealed within your output. Maybe we've discovered that crafting is a kind of hand spun psychoanalysis... Who needs Freud when you've got a skein of wool?  BECK




The ladies of HML are looking forward to heading into the hub that is RRR this morning for some quality time with Donna of The Grapevine for our regular chat about all things craft this morning.

We are VERY excited about a new group show stitching time opening at Craft this week that magically combines textiles and animation. The show opens on Thursday night and we can't wait to see it, meanwhile we've been watching with baited breath while sneaking peeks at the works in progress here. 

We'll be revisiting the subjects of markets post Finders Keepers and with the upcoming Big Design Market and Markit at Fed Square.

We have a few choice words to say about the newly formed National Craft Initiative.

We'll also be singing the praises of an upcoming event at North City 4 that is a 'must attend' on our calendar. We'll be on around 945 (any minute now!) RAMONA AND BECK



going bush

Pieces of Eight Gallery has developed a reputation for showcasing some of the most dynamic examples of contemporary jewellery and objects. Sometimes it's nice to see a 'quiet' work in such a beautiful space. I was lucky enough to see Belinda Esperson's new show Raw Detail on Saturday and it's one that needs to be seen 'for reals' rather than through the convenient magic of social media.

incredible hand crafted brooch like a deconstructed kilt pin
The installation was helped enormously by the design of collaborator Jenny Louey. A austere bush setting has been created with en masse suspended gum nuts and leaves sprayed white with Esperson's pieces nestled (almost concealed in some instances) like treasure dropped from the beaks of birds fleeing a fire. You can smell the eucalyptus as soon as you step inside the gallery, adding to the sensory experience.

It's important to take a closer look at the work. Perforations and patinas draw the eye to the smallest of points. The metal has been pushed to it's limit and some pieces have such a brittle and burnt appearance their robustness in the hand is a surprise. The show runs until November 9 and is well worth a look (and smell!) RAMONA

Pieces of Eight Gallery
28 Russell Place
Melbourne City



happy trails

It's hard to imagine Melbourne without Harvest Textiles. So many of us have been through the doors for classes, sales, pop up shops and if your lucky a nice cup of tea. Well don't panic they may be closing their Lygon street doors but they'll be reopening shortly after in a brand new spacious warehouse in Brunswickia. They've just released their 2014 class timetable so it's basically onward and upward for the Harvest crew. To help with the move they are having a big old fashioned garage sale today from 9-2. Everything from fabric, clothing, craft supplies, all sorts of treasure to be had. So go say goodbye to the old digs and pick up a bargain.

510 Lygon Street
East Brunswick



findy keepy

Hi readers. We know we've been quiet this week, school holidays have the ladies of HML in real life flurries of activities and chaos. Just a reminder that tonight and tomorrow is Finders Keepers at the lovely REB. Good luck to our friends with stalls! Hopefully we'll get there to cheer them on. RAMONA




Despite the insane Melbourne weather we are determined to catch the delectable pastel hued pieces in Sian Parany's latest outing CRUST at the Rooftop Art Space. Sian is a multi disclpinary artist from Melbourne whose work explores colour and form via the relationship between painting and sculpture and this collection is a perfect example of the success of her investigation.

In Crust Sian undertakes a bold endeavour to "both capture and recontextualise time". While we reserve judgement on the success of this aspect of her exhibition,  in the meantime it's great to see such aesthetic and conceptual clarity from an emerging artist. As a confirmed textile tragic I love her unique and assured application of heavy surface patterning balanced against the chalky lightness of the colour palette. The impact of this approach on the objects is surprisingly delicious and well worth checking out. BECK

CRUST is on until October 12
level 7, Curtain House,
252 Swanston Street Melbourne