to market to market

We could not be more excited about this particular Christmas sioree. We are huge fans (and collectors) of several of the participating makers and the pleasure of getting a large chunk of our seasonal swag at one event. We are loving how many of the smaller collectives are swinging open their doors, pop ups, markets, studio sales but all on a manageable and friendly level. See you there? RAMONA

Elm Street Studios
Rear 15A Dannaher Lane
North Melbourne
Saturday 1-5



open house, open minds, open wallets

So last weekend was yet another completely mental Melbourne festivus of openings of galleries, exhibitions, warehouse doors and well curated houses. This time of year as we speed toward the Christmas it's hard not to feel just a little battered by the sheer weight of events. Seriously people there is new stuff on EVERY DAY!!! I don't know how we're all going to cope. In an attempt to start crossing stuff of our own to do list this past weekend team handmadelife made a plan.  Hit the design files open house then take a side trip to the lark/woodsfolk open warehouse pop up and then make for the new Hut 13 and super sleek yarn store Dairing while we were in the hood. We had an itemised agenda, google maps, and a whole load of shite music courtesy of our travelling companions smooth FM and Gold 101 and nothing was going to stop us. 

First stop Design Files Open House. 
artwork by Kirra Jamison ceramics by The Fortynine studio
Wooden vases by Stampel and what we think are Anchor ceramics

This was the third iteration and clearly they were working a blue theme. Its always great to see some of our favourite makers in a super slick domestic setting, especially artworks on the walls in a mass salon style hang that makes us wish we both had double height ceiling and bank accounts to match.

For ours Sandra Eterovic won the coveted (?) HML 'best on ground' award with her gobsmackingly beautiful and detailed portraits.

There was loads of good stuff on show, and even a couple of surprises like these pom pom crosses by Byron Based Jai Vasicek of Ahoy Trader.

and these glass domes by the one of our fave new melbourne glassies the wonderful Amanda Dziedzic.

And although we would have liked a little more variety in the ceramics department (sue us we're obsessed) we were pretty taken by these Bakerhouse pots by Sophie Moorhouse.

And while Sandra may have won the BOG, clearly the peoples choice was the Dulux dog... as Ramona said "it's like meeting a superstar!" another win by Lucy Feagins and the Design Files crew.

Second stop Lark/Woodsfolk Pop Up.

This turned out to be just as crazy busy as the open house - people lining up literally around the perimeter of the building - we happily snapped up a load of birthday party guff, wire baskets (which we'd seen moments earlier at TDF Open House) and all manner of stocking fillers. We were very happy with our haul, although were pipped at the post on a great Orla Keily teapot and super cool geometric yardage..by mystery lady in purple leggings with speedy gonzales snapping fingers!!!

While there we rediscovered Phillipa's hole in the wall bakery outlet,  which was just as well because clearly we needed coffee and brownies and mince tarts and ciabatta. We'll definitely be back.

Third stop Dairing and Hut 13.

Dairing yarn and knitwear was a recent discovery of ours (like two days before) via the power of Instagram (thanks pasadenamansions) and to be honest we lost our minds a tiny little bit over the linen thread, space dyed cashmere, copper metallics and super fine reflective tape.

The new Hut 13 in Richmond just down the road also didn't disappoint - full of the pops of colour and craft we've come to expect. I am now kicking myself that I didn't buy the oversized resin pineapple earrings I flounced about the shop with so I'm thinking they are a must for the Santa's list. Its definitely reassuring to see some retailers doing well enough to open up new spaces in new areas - despite the plethora of markets on the scene.

So as it turned out while everyone else had their doors open we ended up with our wallets open. Still who could be unhappy with bags full of superior craft supplies, birthday party booty and super cool stocking stuffers. We were so exhausted by the end of it all we didnt even manage MarkIt at Fed square the next day, which is usually an annual pilgrimage. In the meantime its going to be hard to manage to stay on track with our book work with our new supplies calling us from deep in their paper bags, but i'm sure if we support each other we'll manage... until Wednesday at least. BECK



warp speed!

Last week it was my turn to play teacher at HML HQ and pass on my weaving 'expertise' to my craft compadre Ramona. Finally my many, many years behind the loom paid off and I got to talk about dents, reeds, sheds and shuttles with someone who was actually interested in it!! It's weird having been a practitioner of what was for so long such an uncool and mostly unknown craft to now see Instagram full of hipster craft kids whipping out tabby looms and getting busy. But its not surprising because weaving is really REALLY awesome.

But I digress - possibly the best thing about teaching is having the chance to set up alongside and go over the most basic steps in chronological order - relearning how and why you do things rather than skipping to the short cuts you invariably make once you get proficient at something. Adding to the fun is the fact that Ramona is both an enthusiastic crafter and super quick study - so it didn't take long to get her warped up and ready to weave on her new rigid heddle loom.

Ramona has already finished her gorgeous sampler (above) which is evidence of both her own super skills and her fantastic teacher (ha ha).

I think it's fair to say she is seriously hooked on this weaving business.  I would even go so far as to say that Ramona is a complete natural and is now outdoing me  - she's already warped up number two and is well underway to whipping up a family's worth of Christmas scarves.

I have to say I totally enjoyed playing around on my table loom without the more complicated considerations of multi shaft patterning so much that although I haven't washed and blocked my piece yet I too have warped up another sampling loom and started designing my Winter  '14 product range. Yes people you read right  - I did actually say product range. Hold onto your hats.

In the meantime, speaking of Instagramming crafters, I've also finally finished my mega tapestry which I have to say I am pretty damn chuffed with. Its so great to finally have time to make stuff just at the time when there's a growing community of fellow fibre junkies to share it with.  And did I mention that we're COMPLETELY addicted.  BECK



For the last time this year and with departing co host Donna (sob) we will be on the radio this morning talking up craft and design. Or craft calling itself design, or design wishing it was craft. With all the markets coming up we wonder where the word craft has gone?

We'll be letting you know about the big ones all of which are coming up in the next 3 weeks. 

Big Design Market, to Markit, to Supermarket and beyond inculding the much anticipated Design Files Open House and the return of Melbournalia.

So many things! We want all the things! It can be quite overwhelming this time of year. Let the ladies of HML help you navigate these alternative shopping aisles, this parallel universe department store.

Consider us you elevator ladies, guiding you to the right department for your gift giving requirements! We'll be on around 945 am with Donna and Kulja RRR 102.7 RAMONA



weekend warriors 

Today it seems there are a lot of peeps throwing the doors open to their studios, some of our very favourites among them.

If you're a fan of intrepid felt creatures, Edo inspired killer kawaii and super cool collage and seriously awesome illustration you might want to head over to the Cat-Rabbit, Seven Seas, Andrea Innocent and Lauren Nicholson open studio. Once you've had you fill make the most of the neighbourly love and pop in next door to get some ghost patrol action.  He too has decided on a big reveal and special sale of rarities today, that open studio dog gif at the top is just a wee tease of the magic that is GP.

Lauren Nicholson

Andrea Innocent
The opportunity to take a sneak peak inside the creative spaces artists of this calibre is a rare and special privilege as revealing as it is worth making the effort for. Highly reccomended.

TODAY 11-4pm
Room 3, level 3
329 Little Collins Street

If however you want to head for the hills rather than the inner city make like Ramona and head to Campbells Creek just outside Castlemaine where super silversmithing ceramicist Katherine Wheeler and Studio Antic are having their own open studio session. 

Alongside Katherine's one off ceramic/porcelain cups, jewellery and bowls there will also be some screen printed goods from Studio Antic to sweeten the deal. Katherine is a very firm favourite of team HML and we can pretty much guarantee that a few of our nearest and dearest will be receiving works from this awesome maker come Christmas day... and maybe we'll even pick up a treat or two for ourselves while we're at it. BECK

TODAY 10-5pm
53 Main Rd
Campbell's Creek



flower power

A lovely friend asked me to make some fabric flowers for her so I spent two days creating a spring bouquet that I thought I'd share today as it is so gloomy in our neck of the woods. First I hand painted canvas with a mix of fabric medium and acrylic paint. I use drop sheet canvas rather than calico as it has more texture and a heavier weight.

Making fabric flowers is essentially the same process as making paper ones but with added durability. It is a lot slower too so you have to enjoy and embrace the process. I made bunches of these flowers to sell a few moons ago and I found it very tough going on the hands and heart. It's much nicer to make this as a gift.

I tried playing around with different shapes and styles to add more 'realism' to the bunch. I absolutely loved the yellow one but stupidly only painted enough for two flowers. My next project is to make a huge bunch of yellow ones for someone special.

You could make them as present toppers, wreathes, boutonnières, garlands. Nature, as always, offers the best inspiration. RAMONA 
ps -spot the gold stamens? they are from a millinery supply store and add a nice detail.



dream in neon

The year of the workshop is nearly at an end, can you believe we it? we have done concrete casting, macrame, kokedama, jewellery, dyeing, basketry, weaving, crochet, upcycling, bookbinding, origami, and this past weekend one of our favourites of the year - neon wrapped bangles with jeweller and artist Anna Davern at North City 4.

On the surface it would seem a really easy technique. Just wrap some cord around plastic tubing and voila - 80's inspired multi coloured wonders that can be worn as bangles, earrings, brooches or pendants. This is where a teacher is invaluable. There are so many little tricks and short cuts to make the pieces look really finished and indeed wearable that you could not tell just from looking at them.

Of course Beck, who is speedy gonzales when it comes to textile based craft made two beautiful hoops that she's turned into super stylin' earrings that have already received high praise on their first wearing.  I'm a bit more of a slow poke but was so happy with my bangle I've immortalised in a Christmas decoration.

This is possibly because it took me nearly two hours to make it and I couldn't face doing a second one without a bad midday movie to help me through! We had a fantastic morning sharing tea, talk and craft and can't wait to sign up for another workshop at North City 4. RAMONA



domestic bliss

In the Woody Allen film 'Interiors' vignettes of beautiful objects are lovingly gazed on by a slow and melancholy camera. Time is taken, palettes are cool, shadows are long and the lines between space and object is blurred. Ceramicist Leah Jackson's exhibition, named after Allen's serious film, offers up these vignettes in a new body of work made up of domestic vessels and objects.

It's been fascinating to watch Jackson's practice develop over the past couple of years. The sweet confetti spots and nobbly surfaces are still there but scale has changed and been refined. The pieces now have a certain sophistication that make them desirable and aloof rather than kooky and fun. Both vibes are good but what's better is when Jackson brings us both so we can enjoy ourselves and feel stylish at the same time. RAMONA

Interiors by Leah Jackson
15-31 November

381 Sydney Rd  Brunswick



a stitch in time

How is this for genius? First you get to spend the morning at North City 4 - the most inspiring space in Melbourne. You get to sit with the lovely Sandra Eterovic, one of our favourite artist/illustrator makers for a few hours recharging your creative batteries.

You learn some lovely new stitching skills and you've made your mum/aunt/bestie/girlfriend a perfect christmas present. It's all good! Book Here  RAMONA



postcards from the edge

It would be a strange thing to be regarded as a 'living treasure'. There are a number of those makers held in such high regard. Marian Hosking falls into this category and with 40 years of making and teaching behind her it makes sense.

What's interesting is how Hosking continues to be impressive as a maker, producing fresh new work combined with virtuosic skill. She turns to face the the natural world that operates on such a different timeline to our urban point of view. The change of seasons, the effect of drought and flood, the shifts and struggles our landscape offers up to this makers eye.

Hosking's new show Greetings From... at Gallery Funaki showcases her eye for detail and flair for surface treatment. Subtle and stunning at the same time. An important show, and a very beautiful one.

Greetings From... runs until November 23rd
Gallery Funaki
4 Crossley Street 
Melbourne City