in the fold

On Sunday I spent a very happy few hours learning some basic bookbinding techniques in a workshop run by the lovely ladies of Paperla. Michelle took our small group through the intricacies of Japanese Stab, Hemp and Tortoiseshell stitch before trying to convince me I could make some origami pieces to embellish my books.

The books I loved doing, the origami I was a total fail and ended up in a fit of giggles. I can't tell you how much easier it is to learn these things if someone is there to teach you how. I'll need a bit more origami practice I admit.

Pretty sure I know what a few people are getting for Christmas this year...did is say Christmas?
You can find out more about Paperlab here. RAMONA



hop to it

My adventures in gilding have continued into Easter with these gaudy but glamorous eggs. Thom loves them and he was in charge of the bedazzling so despite being a little too disco I love them.

The little matchbox diorama's a little surprise for the Easter baskets this year. They are the cutest little things and will perhaps balance out the sweets consumption.

One of my favourite things about annual crafts is pulling out past years projects. I forget the pain involved in the making - the dried glue sticks, the moving stencils, the folly of trying to cut out silhouettes from tissue paper (!)

I get to just enjoy putting them around the house as a celebration of the season. Convincing Thom that they aren't chocolate is harder than it sounds - he'll have to wait for the bunny for those treats. RAMONA



dream a little dream

Mixmastermax has been suffering from a particularly nasty bout of bad dreams of shape changing monsters and giant cake eating ants (make of that what you will Dr. Lacan) and had heard about 'dream catchers' from one of his kinder buddies. And he desperately wanted one. Once I got over the initial hilarity at the thought of cynical me having to whip up a 'dream catcher'  I silently blessed once again, the loveliest of handmaking mavens Beci Orpin and her brilliant FIND AND KEEP book, knowing that there would be instructions for something that we could both live with inside. 

I dutifully handed the book over to Maxwell to see if he could find what he was after and a couple of minutes later he spotted this beauty (amongst around 20 or so other projects he now wants us to attack) and demanded that we get to work... and seriously, as if I'm EVER going to get between boy and his craft.

After determining that the lace was cool but a spider web would be waaaay cooler, we raided the feather, thread and bead boxes and finally got to work. Max delighted in telling me what should go where, what colours worked well together and what kind of finishing flourishes would be required... then got me to do the ALL the work. Yup. As it turns out he wanted a high quality end result and was happy to employ others more skilled than he to ensure his vision was accurately realised. (um Industrial Designer in the making anyone?)

After taking my usual cursory glance at the instructions - I'm annoyingly similar to the irritating Masterchef contestants who can't follow a recipe - off we went. We got this half of it done in the couple of hours while his brother was asleep and then left it on the kitchen table for another week while we dealt with our usual day to day madness. 

Finally we managed to snatch a couple more hours alone after kinder to finish it and Max proudly hung it next to his bed. He's super happy that we managed to include his favourite home made glow in the dark bead... but ultimately is not so convinced it's catching his dreams. Nevermind... he's still pretty chuffed and makes a point of showing off what 'he' made (you see a pattern emerging here) every time someone visits - including bewildered irish backpackers doing dodgy door to door sales. Next stop, confetti wall and pom pom headdress. BECK



as the world turns

Jeweller Katheryn Leopoldseder has the enviable position of maintaining a studio at Abbotsford Convent, having opportunity to travel with an Arts Victoria grant to India as well as a thriving production practice that allows her to create some extraordinary exhibition pieces that we are so excited to see.

Her new show  at E.G et Al  Where Moth and Rust Decay explores architectural differences between India and suburban Australia. That sense of home that unites us all but is so vastly different between here and there.

Leopoldseder always produces highly finished and sophisticated work and we like how there is a new injection of imagery and commentary. The show is part of the Melbourne L'oreal Fashion Festival and is a highlight of this years craft calendar. RAMONA



it's all about us

The ladies of HML will be gracing the air at 930 this morning (perhaps gracing isn't the right word given our penchant for bed hair) with the fantastic Grapeviners Kulja and Donna on RRR. Where would we all be without our beloved community radio station? Make sure you sign the petition to keep federal funding going for this venerable and vulnerable institution.

We'll be giving you our thoughts about the amazing show on at Craft at the moment Signature Style.

We will give you the heads up on jeweller Katheryn Leopoldseder's amazing new show at eg etal.

We'll plug RRR pal and HML fave Tai Snaith's new work at Helen Gory Galerie.

And just for something completely different we'll be promoting OURSELVES as we prepare to serve up some wisdom at a HML Seminar hosted by the wonderful North City 4 next month . So tune in won't you!




cultural exchange

Tonight is the official opening of The Hua Krathi Project a new exhibition of Australian/Thai art featuring friend of HML ceramicist Vipoo Srivilasa and more than a dozen other artists/makers. It's an exciting program that has already exhibited in Thailand and is a really broad and inclusive showcase of what is kind of cultural exchange is happening between the two cultures.

Apart from the exhibition at the RMIT School of Art Gallery there is also a 'pop up' gallery in Fed Square to coincide with  The Thai Culture and Food Festival - now why can't all exhibitions a a food festival attached to them? RAMONA



love you so long

I am nothing if not optimistic when it comes to embarking on craft projects. Even when I have had only a little or no experience at something, if it comes it kit form, I am pretty sure I can give it a whirl. I have to say I swooned a little when I saw these cross stitch iphone covers on the Purl Bee website many moons ago so I was very excited to find them in Morris and Sons. So I picked up some embroidery thread, drew up some ideas and off I went. Well...

It took me a year people. To cap it all off it's far from perfect. You can see the pattern got increasingly complicated as time went on. I learnt a lot about cross stitch and myself in that time. It's a deceptive craft in that it's simple but can go terribly wrong fairly quickly (knots!wrong direction!broken needle!broken heart!) and as for me well I may be very very very slow, but by god I will finish things. Might buy another one now...RAMONA



signature of approval

Natalia Milosz-Piekarska/Katherine Doube and Tessa Blazey/Alexi Freeman

The ladies of HML know a thing or two about the nature of collaboration. It's been a bit of a buzzword the past couple of years, particularly in craft and design circles and we think the latest exhibition at Craft is a kind of zenith collaborative practice.

L2R clockwise:
Dani Maugeri/Milly Flemming, Nicholas Bastin/Matthew Dux and Katerine Wheeler/Polly van der Glas

First up of course is the collaboration between the curators of Signature Style Nella Themelios and Kim Brockett. Pairing up contemporary jewellers with each other and with makers in other disciplines (from dance to garden design) is an ingenious way of getting makers to rethink their own practice and to aim for what Beck always calls the 'Mind Meld' with another creative thinker.

Nina Oikawa/Bridget Bodenham

We fell completely in love with the work by ceramicist Bridget Bodenham and Jeweller Nina Oikawa. Their gorgeous interstellar landscape of glitter encrusted 'rocks' and bejewelled constellation was breathtaking. Both artists signature seemed to disappear into a beautiful vortex to emerge as that mysterious 'third' voice. We love their work as individuals and can only hope that they were as excited by their collab as we were. More please! Special mention should also go to the catalogue which is gorgeously produced by Simon Browne and enriches the viewing. An important show for 2013. RAMONA

Signature Style 
Until April 27
Monday - Saturday
Craft Victoria
31 Flinders Lane
Melb City




In her usual egalitarian fashion Liz Jones (aka Betty Jo Designs and Gleaners Inc proprietess) invited artists/makers to take a section of the same piece of cloth an interpret it any way they liked the result of which is an amazingly diverse exhibition that is united by palette and pattern;

Of course the very retro fabric has inspired some old school craft which is fantastic to see as part of this years Fashion Festival. I am particularly taken with that moustachioed softie.

If you have a love of vintage kitsch then Gleaners Inc is a treasure trove. Why not go along tonight to the opening party? It's the prefect venue to spill out onto the street, preferably with a cold beverage and a stripey straw. The ladies of HML congratulate all involved.  RAMONA

Show runs through March.
Gleaners Inc is at 2 Ballarat Rd Brunswick



this mortal coil 

WARNING CRAFT CONFESSION ALERT! Regular readers will know that last year I attended a basket making workshop at Harvest Textiles with MaryannTalia-Pau that pretty much single handedly re-kindled my textile practice, a practice which had forlornly lain dormant and discarded for almost a decade. I'd got to a point where I'd spent so much time reporting on other peoples work I'd literally forgotten that I actually made stuff myself, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I think it's hard sometimes to maintain momentum as a practitioner when life, work, relationships, budgets, health and family all do their best to impact on our ability to regularly make work. 

So it's been pretty amazing to find myself shifting gears from facilitator to maker again. Perhaps it's the hypnotic simplicity of the coiling technique or the ability to pick up and put down projects intermittently to fit around all the other things I do at home that appeals. No Matter. Either way it's now become second nature to me, an ongoing three dimensional textile collaging process that I can't let go. Being able to move beyond the graphic, two dimensional plane of print work, as well as the complex labouring and space demands of weaving has pretty much freed me to start playing again with materials, colour and form - in a whole new way. 

Weirdly surprising has been discovering how quickly this daily fabric handling, colour play and 'busy hands empty mind' meditation has got me identifying as a maker again... I'm now literally bursting with new ideas - including ones for both the woven structures and prints i'd originally moved away from. I'm actually working on my first product range in years, an unexpected result I find completely amazing... especially considering my current workload. BECK


show stopper

We have been huge fans of Visual artist Kate Rohde for years now (see here) and we are more than excited to see her new show Ornament Crimes opening tonight at Pieces of Eight Gallery as part of this year's L'oreal  Melbourne Fashion Festival.

If there is anyone who can examine the nature of excess and the corrupting influence of decoration it is Rohde. She has bewitched, bothered and bewildered us with he dazzling tableau of mystical and mythical creatures in the past (think Marie Antoinette on acid). 

To think now we can wear a bit of that magic, perhaps these chunks of colour could be a magic power key into her kaleidoscopic world. RAMONA

Ornament Crimes runs until April 18 (good grief this year is flying!)