worn out 

We think local jeweller Claire McArdle is pretty much a genius... we've been been big fans since seeing her grad work a few years ago so you can imagine we're pretty thrilled to be attending a workshop with her at Craft Victoria this Saturday. 

The workshop is tied to her new exhibition Worn Translations which continues her exploration of soft sculpture as a means of charting the life of objects via the interconnections between wearer and object. Her re-imagining of worn clothing into new textile jewellery is a neat play on the idea of wearable adornment. We love the playful use of colour, humour and scale within her work - just check out the pieces above from her Public Displays of Attention (below) and you know we love anything that fosters the re-use of refuse. Breathing new life and new use into discarded garments is something Ramona and I are both big believers in - we both have collections of cast offs in varying states of transformation from t-shirt yarn to patchwork quilts, much to the dismay/amusement of our families!

After last weekends crafternoon we've been ruminating on the importance of finding time to play with other people, yet how quickly we push this need to the bottom of our own super busy schedules (and we know we're not alone here). These kinds of workshops are almost a perfect combo of skill sharing, socialising and play. And we can't get enough of them. There are still a couple of seats left at the bench for this one so why not pull out your old jeans, sweaters, or in our case baby onesies and join us! BECK
see more of Claires work here
book a seat for the workshop here
Worn Translations is on at Craft until October 12.



tea, baby shoes, skeining, looms and eccles cake

The ladies were well overdue for a crafternoon so we were pretty thrilled to get the call from Royal Melbourne Show open category embroidery first prize winner Emma Greenwood letting us know that she was opening the doors on Sunday. Interestingly I'd just been reading the Sunday Age cover article about the importance of adult play (no not that kind of play people) and considering how much good crafternooning is really all about putting the hard work aside and sitting with friends and food and playing about. Brilliant. 

Ramona and I packed our trusty kids tapestry looms, home made cheese sticks and garden picked spring flower bouquet and headed over to enjoy the company of some of Melbourne's finest. We were pretty thrilled when Gemma brought out a tray of ye olde eccles cakes, which are kind of like mince tarts but lighter and more gingery, and because they were made by Gemma, vegan. Yup - perfection right there -  I ate three. DELICIOUS.

Ramona hard at work
my weaving which is clearly channelling Gemma's eccles cake tray
It's always interesting to see what we end up bringing to the kitchen table to craft, old knitting, skeins long overdue for balling, last minute leather baby shoe production work and seventies inspired weaving. We're still finishing off the pieces that we started on the day, and pretty happy with the way they're going.

Ramona's Ryamania 

my Back in Blacktacular

Possibly the best bit however is Emma's killer soundtrack bee-bopping its way in the background of some seriously stream of conscious conversations on everything from contemporary feminist  pornography through the history of heavy metal and onto new options for kids school holiday activities. Thanks ladies, a perfect afternoon. Next time HML will host - who's up for an afternoon in the indigo vat? BECK

You can watch Emma at work here
or go and make your own Eccles Cakes (be warned you cant eat just one)



on the fringe

The Fringe Festival has officially started and there are always some interesting visual treats for craft and design people around town. We are off to Fringe Furniture later in the week (an obvious and regular choice) but we thought we'd let you know about two interesting shows on around town as part of the festival.

The first being Art of the Cuff at Lord Coconut. The bespoke menswear boutique provided a select group of 60 artists, jewellers and designers a French cuff to customise and if last year's version is anything to go by the results will undoubtedly be tres chic.

The Lyrical Earth Vixens has to be the worst name for a ceramics collective we've ever heard but we are willing to cross the river to Carbon Black Gallery in Prahran to see what it's all about. It's important to see what artists to with a craft medium and also how crafters deal with an art practice.

We have had a sneak peak at the work of one 'earth vixen' in Craft Victoria's annual Breakfast Club exhibition last month, which we have to say was pretty cool, so we're keen to have a look at the rest and let you know. If you go maybe you could let US know! We wish there was more craft as part of Fringe. What can we do to fix that? RAMONA & BECK

Art of The Cuff runs until October 6
Earthen Pulse runs until October 6



remembrance day

For the 7th year in a row I have had the pleasure of being the craft judge for the Veterans Affairs Short Story art and Craft Awards. This will be my last year as technically your only meant to judge for 5 in a row. So this was an extra special and a little melancholy afternoon for me.

Entries swing from the sublime to the ridiculous but there is so much love and care imbued in each piece it can be an agonising process to decide on a winner. I've also sadly noted a slow diminishing of entry numbers as participants get ill or pass away. That said there were some new names on my list this year which was great. A community group got together and all crocheted afgans, most of which will be donated to the hospital as gifts for patients.

This is a world away from my every day experience of craft which can sometimes just feel like a barrage of pinterest/instagram/tumblr images of carefully curated craft as décor. Once a year I get to trundle out to the run down Austin Hospital in Heidelberg and get back to the origins of much domestic craft - comfort and remembrance. RAMONA

you can revisit past years here:
2012   2011   2010   2009   2008   2007



no man is an island

Dapper Dan and moustachioed man about town Nicholas Jones is a perennial favourite of the ladies of HML. His deft sculpting fingers work a scalpel as sharp as his wit and the crease of his well pressed trousers.

Continuing his exploration of the book as both subject and object this new exhibition To the Islands, literally charts new waters. Playing on the sociological, psychological, mythical and historical literary associations with islands Nick expounds upon his ongoing interest in cartography, cleverly working 12 small volumes and 12 small islands into pieces that "question the futurology of the book and the notions of solitude and disengagement that are the island"...clever fella. Well worth the trip out of town for. BECK

To The Islands
The Stock Room
Exhibition runs until October 10.
98 Piper Street, Kyneton
Victoria 3444



T's from two

Spring cleaning fever has hit HML HQ and as a result wardrobes are getting the once over. Of course many things will be handed down, sent to op-shops or remade into other wearable items, after all waste not want not is one of our motto's. However anything else is fair game for repurposing into craft materials.Now while at Chez Barry the falling apart band t-shirt is still sacrosanct, at la casa Jobson we have the in house architect ensuring that no nostalgia gets in the way of our clear surfaces. As a result I have had to deviously come up with a solution that keeps both of us happy. The answer - T-shirt Craft.

So far I've made plant hangers, woven baskets and jewellery from t-shirts that have been dyed, shredded, knotted, cut and sewn, and at the moment i'm slowly transferring our old t-shirts into balls of t-shirt yarn for an upcoming mega project. To be honest its a great busy hand exercise to validate watching dodgy TV - I whipped up the batch above while watching seventies Sci-fi Michael Caine 'masterpiece' The Swarm. Which by the way I highly recommend - next batch is planned for a visit back to Logans Run... and yes there is definately a pattern emerging here.

While I might not be racing to make Michael his own hilariously seasonal man-shirt I have been kind of inspired after wading through Pinterest recently, as it appears there's just about nothing peeps haven't had a crack at whipping up out of a recycled t-shirt (mega structures and computer technology notwithstanding). Some one should write a book about it. Oh hang on... 

Forgiving, stretchy, non- fraying and cheap (unless you've a laid down one hundred big ones on the 'Kanye') in many ways it's the perfect beginners up-cycling material. Have a go yourself or if you have neither the time, raw materials or inclination to make your own you can always buy pre made recycled yarn! BECK



hot dogs

The amazing duo of Isobel Knowles and Cat Rabbit of Owl Know How fame have turned the attention to some serious stuff in their new show opening tonight at West Space. the plushies have gone a little political with an examination of the consumption of handmade, industrialisation in the face of market forces, designer pets, cruel farming methods - it's all there and it seems like a long way from the fluffy cloud world of the owls. How fantastic they have flexed their intellectual muscles in a different way. not better, mind you, just different. Cant wait to see what they've done. RAMONA

A Matter of Factory
13 Sep -12 Oct
West Space Gallery
Level 1, 225 Bourke Street
Melbourne City.



We are moving to Iceland!

Well no not really. After the election results we certainly feel like moving (regular readers will know we definitely lean to the left, hard left, hard lean). But we'll stay, fight the good fight. We are worried about funding cuts to the arts sector (and education, indigenous services, health, and on and on).

Aaron Billings
We are going to take a a week off from the news and go and see this beautiful new show by three fantastic illustrators at Top Shelf Gallery. Beck and I both have a shared passion for illustrators and those can transport us into the mythology and landscape of Iceland are just what we need to soothe our ragged souls.
Auf Wiedersehen

Aaron Billings, Julia Trybala and Auf Wiedersehen have combined their inner worlds, maps, talismans and creatures from a collective dreamscape.

Julia Trybala
We think it's important for makers to expose themselves to different media and this one is perfect for jewellers, ceramicists, textile designers looking for some inspiration and to check out an alternative arts space that we think would be fantastic for craft and design. Now is the time to make things people. It will help, it always does.  RAMONA

Top Shelf Gallery
behind Deans Art
369 Lonsdale Street 
Melbourne City



and so we move on

We are going to whine a little people, you have been warned. But in between the tears there will be making and talking and tea so it's not all bad. We are starting off this new era of tyranny by joining the Grapevine ladies on RRR 102.7 this morning at around 10:15 to talk up some great shows and to let you know about the great workshops (yes the Year of the Workshop continues).

An amazing kids weaving workshop with the wonderful Emma Davies at Artifice Store in Williamstown.

Maybe you'd like to try a it's-so-hot-right-now fringed wall hanging with the very clever Rachel Wood at Harvest Textiles?

The dynamic duo of Paperlab are hosting a papercutting workshop that I am VERY excited about (despite my lack of dexterity when it comes to the stanley knife).

Having both done Kirsten Perry's amazing concrete casting workshop we can recommend it (our planters are doing well - yes we kept the plants alive!)

The wondrous Sandra Eterovic is gracing North City 4 with her presence and altho November is a way off we know it will book out fast so get in quick. Listen in for more crafty news, and some post election whining. RAMONA




Amazing artist and jeweller Anna Varendorff is going to blow our socks off this month with her amazing new show Things to Play With opening this Thursday at Craft Victoria . Anna has such an eccentric and engaged way of looking at the world and her idea for this show is an interesting one.

We are invited to touch the work, to turn it, embrace it, re-place it in an attempt to break down the ideas behind preciousness and gallery objects. simple brass architectural shapes are like expanded versions of her wearable pieces and so are more like 'jewellery for a room' there is also a sound element for the show that will make it a truly immersive exhibition. cant wait Anna! RAMONA