Beck's beautiful plate and jug set with her planter in the background
It seems like an age ago that we did our porcelain workshop with Sophie Moorhouse Morris. We are having one of those years I'm afraid where we are jamming 10 years experience into one. This is punctuated (as is so often the case with us) with amazing workshops with talented makers. It's is literally the only time we get to see each other semi socially for a start. We literally have to book a class to have a cuppa! That's our excuse anyway.

My blue spoons 

This class has to be among our favourite of the past two years. We had a wonderful teacher in Sophie, who was not only instructive but encouraging. Clay and I are not sympatico so I really struggled to get nice shapes to work with. Beck on the other hand took to it like a duck to water. Sophie somehow managed to steer us all to good results in the end. The other classmates were also fantastic people to spend time with (we even spotted some familiar faces from other workshops - seems like we aren't the only addicts!)

I broke so many pieces beck let me glaze a couple of hers! isn't that spoon cool?
Porcelain is notoriously tricky and you need to be patient and gentle with it. You need to learn what the limitations are and when things break or crack you have to move on. We were working to a fairly small scale with old school pinch pots and slab construction so it wasn't too tricky for beginners. We loved how everyone's work was distinctively theirs and for the most part (if you don't count my pile of rubble from over zealous cleaning) things stayed in tact.

Beck used her graphic skills to bring a little edge to her organic forms
We actually can't wait to make more porcelain pieces. Sophie gave us the confidence to just go for it. This is the real benefit of taking workshops. They don't make you an expert, not by any means, but they open a door. Demystifying a process is really the best way to start. It's just clay and a kiln is a really hot oven, if we start from there then we can just keep learning, keep refining. We now admire the beautiful ceramic pieces we've collected over the years even more.

My slab planter
I'm more comfortable with a paint brush or a pen in my hand so it was great to just make a simple slab pot as it gave me four 'canvases' to paint on. It got us talking about the mark making aspects of ceramics. The level of technical skill has always been our focus but the different surface treatment made the role of artist as ceramicist much clearer. If you'd like to see our wonderful classmates work you can go here. We encourage you all to take a class or two over the winter - it will keep your spirit warm at least! RAMONA




where modern art and early education meet

Community, activism, early education, feminism, modernism - all themes that span 10 years of art practice from the amazing Emily Floyd. Her blockbuster show Far Rainbow now at Heide Museum of Modern Art is the exact right fit for this particular space - both physically and theoretically. I can't help seeing the ghost of Sunday Reed nodding with approval at this bright and brilliant show.

oversized blocks reference typography and play

There is a lot to think about and a lot to inspire here, especially for parents of young children who are surrounded by bits of plastic and bombarded with the cartoon network most days.  Primary colours, building blocks and Steiner philosophy can help parents steer both their kids and themselves into a quieter more creative head space. Mind you I would not recommend you take your kids to this show - how do you explain to small ones they cant sit in a giant rainbow cave?

mega 70's seagrass nostalgia moment

The title of the show references a 70's science fiction soviet novel set on the delightfully monikered 'planet rainbow' which sounds like quite the trip. Floyd goes both macro and micro in her exploration of a kind of childhood utopia - from commentary about the establishment of  kindergartens to odes to her toy making father and grandmother. It's a warm and optimistic show with an underpinning of positive politics.

oversized Steiner rainbow cave

The show acts as an interesting balance to the major retrospective of Mirka Mora works that is housed in Heide 2. Mora is a great proponent of dreaming and play as a conduit to creativity so the shows sit well together and have a lovely lightness to them. Between the two their is much to take away from for the domestic crafter. Whether it be where toys and modern art meet in Floyd's work to the hand painted doll forms so loved by Mirka Mora fans.

every inch of the gallery space has been considered

Another thing, when you are at Heide do take advantage of the knowledgeable gallery staff. They hang around bored witless most of the time fiddling with their walkie talkies but let me tell you if you engage with them they are so knowledgeable and are likely to point out things that you might of missed. Emily Floyd's show runs until July 13. If you insist on having lunch there - book in advance. The queue out the cafe was out the door. Weird as there were only 3 people in the gallery. Ah Melbourne you do love your food! RAMONA



cuppa tea anyone?

a ten day festival in a town of 200 - quite amazing!

When the good people of the radio told us that there was a Tea Cosy Festival in Fish Creek we got genuinely excited. We love a festivus be it scarf, beanie or wool so to add a Tea Cosy one to the crazy craft calendar made our hearts sing a country song.

this was my pic for the win, just beautiful! sadly already sold.

So the local motel was booked and Blue Thunder (our ridiculous station wagon) was packed with snacks and socks for a weekend jaunt to South Gippsland. I'm ashamed to say it but I had never seen the famous Wilson's Prom (nature and I have a fraught friendship) so my half of the HML family headed off on an adventure. What a nice part of the world it is. I did panic briefly without wifi but even I not only survived I revived.

The Tea Cosy Festival  itself had taken over the sleepy hamlet of Fish Creek. With over 200 entries on show, competitions, workshops, musical performances - Fish Creek really turned on the charm. I think even they were surprised by how many people made the drive down from Melbourne.

A whole section devoted to anti McDonalds protest cosies

The local primary school had a whole section and there were the requisite owls (all of which had sold of course!) and there were some more avant garde works that were causing some consternation amongst the public. I overheard one couple arguing the merits of crochet vs knit and another young chap determined to purchase one as a hat. Here is a link to the Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival. If you follow them on facebook we can be organised and descend upon them en masse in 2015! RAMONA




Did you know it was Wool Week? We didn't either! We did hear of an exciting installation event happening over he next couple of days so we thought we'd let you know just in case your lucky enough to be in the Melbourne CBD today and tommorrow.

Slow Art Collective collaborators Chaco Kato and Dylan Mattorell (not pictured above) spent a long night installing a monumental sculptural piece at Federation square consisting entirely of wool. Today there will be sheep and people wearing sheep in wool form highlighting the lovliness of this renewable fibre.

It looks like quite a vision so at least one half of HML is going to try and head down today to check out the action. We thought it best to let you all know about this blink-and-you-miss-it event. RAMONA



sweet dreams

Daniel Dorell has created a complex maze diorama, both curious and scary
We consider ourselves so lucky to live where we do. We think that we've won the life lottery really. To be surrounded by the most amazing creativity in one of the nicest towns on the planet is the bees knees. One thing we've learnt by highlighting shows each week is there is a variety of venues, all of which need to be looked at. For us, one of the most underrated are those galleries that are attached to municipalities, often existing within the walls of local government.

Kate Rohde continues to excite us with her sublime mix media creations
Opened last week is a terrific group show In Your Dreams at Counihan Gallery in Brunswick - in the delightful City of Stonnington. Curators Edwina Bartlem and Victor Griss have brought artists together that dive head first into the surreal, the imagined and yes of course dreaming and perhaps nightmares too. 

this gorgeous Princess and the Pea work by William Eicholtz was a favourite with the kidlets
We were  so impressed that the text panels had a sort of 'parental guidance' edition beneath it. Giving the show a clever education trail that can help parents and teachers guide smaller peeps through the show. This is also a great way to read work as an adult audience. When you see so much you can often can become a bit flip or jaded so having these text panels push your attention in different ways is a good thing.

a whole room was dedicated to the silhouette animation by Yandell Walton
There's film, collage, sculpture, photography even diorama. I was also intrigued by a beautiful sound work by Dylan Martorell that added to the whole 'otherworldliness' of the show and enriched a space that can often feel a bit sterile or forced. This is of course the downfall of town hall exhibition spaces. But given the right curatorial staff and program they can thrive and develop their own independent character.

Gracia and Louise stole the show with their exquisite installation
A highlight for us was the well considered installation by the hardest working artists we know. Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison's corner of wonder includes drawings, collages, hand written musings, accordion books and more formal framed work. They are the ideal duo to transport us into a dream world populated by dancers, circus performers and endangered species. In our dreams these two get to make a film with Wes Anderson!

Beck's fear of clown means she may have to avert her gaze at this point

So when your down your local high street consider your city galleries as a potential gold mine, or at least another venue to add to your long list of visual feasting opportunities. Here in Melbourne we are spoilt for choice. Here are just a few:

In Your Dreams is open until June 8 RAMONA



we're back...

Yes back at the RRR's and back on air today around 10.30ish on the grapevine. Hear us wax lyrical on what's on around town, what we've been up to, what you need to see, make and yes do... basically covering all that is crafty in Melbourne. 


Group show Slip at Anna Pappas gallery brings together a collection of artists creating work that in some way articulates change, slight almost imperceptible but most definately present. Features HML favourite and top five exhibition of the year candidate Anna Varendorff. 

Until May 31.
2-4 Carlton Street, Prahran.

Fresh! at Craft Victoria

Elise Sheehan
We reviewed this one last week but we can't talk it up enough. Its a GREAT show. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year it has an alumni that reads like a who's who of contemporary craft and has proven record unearthing craft superstars of the future. This year is no exception.

at Craft until June 8.
31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Lifestyle Concept 

Alex Vivian
This one is gonna be great!!!  Lifestyle Concepts features some of Melbournes finest makers and thinkers from conceptual fashion duo Dolce and Kabana, set designer, sculptor and illustrator Madeline Kidd (currently also exhibiting in the window at Craft) to contemporary abstractionist Lisa Radford, superstar craft triple threat Meredith Turnbull and object manipulator Alex Vivian. 

May 7 - June 7 at Daine Singer 
Basement 325 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
opening 4-6pm saturday may 10.


Martha Friedman macaroni necklace
Lucy Folk
Mothers Day is right up there in the lexicon of craft holidays and its not too late to whip up your own original work for Mothers Day. Getting kids to make something for mum (other than a mess) is always a winner and getting your first gold sprayed macaroni necklace is definitely a right of passage. We're both hoping our boys take a leaf out of Lucy Folk's book and make this our year, but given the impact of loom bands and mine craft we're probably going to end up with a pixilated pick axe or plastic choker. 

If you're looking to make something simple but a little more sophisticated for either your kids or you to make have a crack at a simple silhouette portrait, hand painted pot and planter or a dip dyed t-shirt or tote bag. Also remember craft books and supplies never go astray for making mums if you're still stuck for ideas we'll be showing you a couple of super quick projects guaranteed to please during the week. Watch this space.


The annual Scarf festival is an international open entry competition, sales opportunity and exhibition Originating at Craft Victoria many years ago it's been held at the National Wool Museum in Geelong for the last five years or so and just keeps getting bigger and better. Felters, knitters, crochet masters, dyers, patchworkers and fibre artists of all kinds welcome and call outs have been extended until May 16. Get more info HERE and get on board.

Closing date for entries Friday May 16
Exhibition Launch June 5
Exhibition open from Friday June 6 - Sunday September 5

Craft Cubed 

Craft is currently taking expressions of interest for satellite programs for this years festival. Got a great idea for an exhibition, workshop, performance, market, pop up shop, open studio, or happening or already have something taking place during august? Join the growing list of amazing people, projects and events in Australia's only festival of craft! Seriously this is a great for event for makers of all kinds and well worth becoming a part of! Check out details here, or call Program Coordinator Gemma Jones at Craft.

There are also bucketloads of new courses starting up all over Melbourne which we'll be reporting on this week, so keep your pencils or smartphones handy if you're interested in either serious upskilling or starting a new hobby.

whew lots on... see you on air - BECK AND RAMONA