the skin I'm in

play transformers with Polixeni Papapetrou's photo booth
We know we know we know that Ivanhoe is a long way to go for many of you, but Seventh Skin, the current show on at Hatch Art Space really is worth the trip (maybe combine it with a trip to Heide?) The well heeled City of Banyule has an amazing collection and curator Claire Watson has been clever in drawing inspiration from the archives and current arts practice.

Troy Emery's creatures always charm and disarm
Ideas of adornment, decoration, transformation and ritual play out in this diverse collection of painting, prints, sculptures, objects and film. There is an element of dress up, showing off and theatricality that runs through the show and through these mechanisms notions of race, sexuality and class are explored in surreal and strange ways.

Claire McArdle's reconstructed garment deconstructions
These certainly aren't dark works despite some challenging subject matter. They celebrate a riot of colour and movement and serve to seduce rather than lecture. It's an effusive show with each work holding an undercurrent of dark thoughts surrounding identity and our public faces.

Hiromi Tango's Insanity Magnet image is a favourite

Most here are hidden, or at least disguised as if our faces would make us too vulnerable, giving the game away.Do we dress up to show off or to hide?

The wonderful John Gosper in residence 
The second story of the gallery has been opened up to reveal an Artist in Residence space, currently hosting textile artist John Gosper. Creating costumes at his workbench he also invites viewers to try on a new 'skin'.

John Gosper's fluid, tactile textiles

It's always fantastic to have a maker at the bench in a space we think. It makes it active and engaging. Hard slog for them, a drafty space, well meaning and inquisitive public and the pressure to create new work. Gosper should have no trouble as his work meshes seemlessly with the ideas of theatre and costume that thread throughout the whole show.

Roseanne Bartley's clever and cute interactive workshop installation

Artist and Jeweller Roseanne Bartley has created a gorgeous workshop jewellery space that is an energising end point to the exhibition . Participants are invite to create 'faces' using basic craft supplies and it's a warm way to leave this engaging and diverse exhibition. RAMONA

Seventh Skin
Hatch Contemporary Art Space
Until August 2.



staple diet

It's going to be a gloomy old winter weekend here in Melbourne. Perfect opportunity to head into the State Library for the delightfully monikered 'TONERPALOOZA' zine fair. In fact it may inspire more of you to go photocopier crazy (we've done it, we loved it!). Saturday is more for the makers, with workshops and demos. Sunday hosts a fair of 100 zine makers. A fun day out and just for a few gold coins you'll return with a stash of original printed matter. You can find out more here at Sticky Institute.




This week's show of the week has got to be the Iggy and Lou Lou Driptopia takeover of the Craft window space in Melbourne's Flinders Lane. Its really worth remembering that Iggy and Lou Lou were one of the vanguard of new school ceramicists who married pop culture, fashion and old school techniques at the start of the decade, developing an international reputation long before handmade was on every stylists hit list, Instagram feed or Pinterest board. Regular readers will be well aware of HML's love of Irene's back catalog but we have REALLY gone gaga for these super graphic new works. 

The installation is superb, nimbly mixing current lifestyle and interior obsessions of macrame, ceramics and indoor plants while still making nods to both the Victorian parlor and mourning aesthetics that Iggy and Lou Lou have become famous for.

Called Driptopia the works use the forces of gravity to create 'accidental' directional patterning alongside more 'conscious' brush marks. Built up layer by layer in quartz porcelain the pieces are incredibly tactile, cleverly offering further dimensionality to the decorative mark-making as the brush travels across the uneven topography of the vessels.

This new collection represents a significant development in the career of one of Melbourne's finest and cements Irene Grishin-Selzer's reputation as a certified technical master. Stunningly beautiful stuff - our hat's off to you Irene, we want it ALL!!!

Driptopia is on at Craft until July 29. 
check it out in person or online here



warp speed

the installation is so precise and considered
We are so excited to see a new body of work from master tapestry weaver Tim Gresham. Even more interesting in the partnership between his photography and weaving, two strings to his arts practice that play harmoniously in this very clean controlled and distilled work.

the scale is perfect for the instagram age
The work suits the Edmund Pearce Gallery, in the Nicholas building, perfectly. A space primarily exhibiting photographic work, there is a serenity to the classic white box that showcases these pieces to their best advantage.

changes are subtle with light and dark taking turns as focus
I see Gresham's work as quite musical, all about rhythms and syncopation. He captures with the eye in the photos what many a tapestry weaver trains to capture with the hand - a concise order that doesn't defy nature but reflects it's 'neater' qualities.

colour is minimal and muted but adds punctuation
 There is a trend currently for the wild and woolly fibre art style of weaving which we here at HML love.It's what we grew up on and it is expansive and playful. This pulls you to the other end of the spectrum of weaving practice. As modern as Gresham's pieces are their lineage really stretch way back to an age of master weaving when tapestry was employed as a form of documentation.

it's always interesting when nature makes and appearance between the architecture
 I imagine now Gresham being commissioned to create work to document new public spaces, weather patterns, advances in technology. This is our ideal world where professional craft still carries that same cache in recording or commemorating major events.

Many moons ago I interviewed Gresham in his Collingwood studio. You'll have to excuse my early foray into arts writing was a little clunky but he had some great things to say about his practice. You can read it here.

REFLECT by Tim Gresham
Edmund Pearce Gallery
Nicholas Building
OPEN WED SAT 12-5 until June 28



old school new school

Ramona will be flying solo this morning on the RRR's at 10:45 am while i'm stuck at the office writing grant applications... you don't need three guesses to know that i'd rather be behind with her the mike than on my lonesome in front of the computer today! As per usual the news and reviews on current craft around town will be served up fresh with a healthy dose of handmadelife special sauce - yes, bad puns, mediocre gags and lots and lots of opinion!

Sheila Hicks... look her up.

While researching for this months radio spot we discovered there has definitely been a resurgence in some of what we would call old school craft. While we are just as susceptible to the lure of the new, and certainly champion new makers and techniques, we are really excited to see both craft masters and master crafts finally starting to be given their due by a new generation discovering them for the first time. 

While new school lap weaving and wall hangings take over Instagram and Pinterest there are a number of old school true tapestry artists who are finally starting to be recognised for their skill and craft knowledge. One of these such artists is Tim Gresham, whose subtle graphic works have been spellbinding us for years now. Tim has a new show called Reflect opening at Edmund Pearce Gallery on June 5, which we're very excited about. Featuring blindingly beautiful abstract photography and tapestries this show promises a brilliantly realised insight into the nexus where creative inspiration and technical skill meet. In addition he'll be holding a Masterclass (and we mean master) at the Australian Tapestry Workshop on the 25-29 August on advanced techniques and alternative inspirations to designing for tapestries. This is definitely one for experienced tapestry weavers but an amazing opportunity to work with one of the best. 

Another craft that has seen a phenomenal resurgence over the past 18 months is ceramics. Earlier this year ceramicist Ruby Pilven won the position of curatorial intern at Ceramics Victoria and has put together Still Firing at 45 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Ceramics Victoria and the permanent collection housed by the City of Whitehorse. As part of this is an exhibition of 10 emerging artists selected by Ruby titled Fresh Clay is being launched by Heide director Jason Smith at the Box Hill Town Hall on June 26. A great celebration of a great and living legacy of craft.

Ramona and her boys made the trek to Heide last weekend and were blown away with the new show by Emily Floyd. To be honest i'm very jealous I didn't hide in the picnic basket because this show is an absolute cracker. Ramona will no doubt talk it up today but if you want to read her review head here. While you're there also make time for national treasure Mirka Mora. Look we love her, and her work, so there's not much more to say but if you are like us, go. Have a sneak peak at what a wonderful world she inhabits through the objects she chooses to surround herself with, drawn from her private collection of paintings, soft sculpture dolls, tapestries and sketchbooks there is a whole lot of craft, endless inspiration and boundless spirit on show. A great combination of old meets new.

Another artist we've been following for a while is Kirsten Haydon, and we are eagerly anticipating her new show Ice storeroom at Craft opening on June 20. Following on from her long exploration of Antarctica as a repository for environmental and cultural knowledge . If her past work is anything to go by this will be anything but frostily received.  (yes we told you we made bad puns) .

We also have to mention two of our favourite makers, partners in crime and life Dell Stewart and Adam Cruickshank who also have a new video work on show at C3 Contemporary Art Space on now. This ones called Small Time/True Belief and we really love and admire their ongoing commitment to hand crafting multi media. Totally rad.

Then of course theres also Mid Century Modern open at NGV which pretty much is a radio show in itself as well as a raft of other markets coming up and being reviewed (Markit and New Craft @ Queen Vic over the last two weekends) as well as craft-centric articles popping up in print in the most unexpected places - Virgin inflight magazine anyone? Whew! Happy Listening people! BECK