Busy Bees

THIS WEEK WAS ABOUT Being school holidays meant that there were many projects on the go this week. The hml intern (age 12) went into design mode and sewed these excellent skirts (orders have been taken around the office!) the finishing touch was definitely the covered buttons...

Ramona went crazy trying to finish new cards for Heide...

And the HML team began making some serious design decisions with regard to the printed fabric...stay tuned...


homer's odyssey


Well we did get a lot done this week - new teeth, new haircuts and on a craft level sorting out our new handprinted fabrics into projects to be completed.

However, when all is said and done , all we really did this week was make ourselves sick...

Let's just say that the krispy kreme donut, despite wickedly retro delicious packaging does not live up to the hype. HML would also like to report that they in no way resemble any part of the food pyramid we're currently familiar with.

As the ever sagacious Ramona said, they're not food they're drugs.


Fringe find


The ladies of hml have been enjoying the spring weather (hayfever anyone?) and talkin' up the fringe festival. What do we think of when we think of fringe? Yes there are the obvious things - intense and insane theatre productions, wonderful collaborative efforts in artist-run spaces across the city, new musical extravaganzas in sticky carpet pubs. But we started thinking about the word 'Fringe' - how it's always 'on the edge of something'.

It was during one of these windy walks (hot air from us and from the northwest!) that we discovered this prime example of outsider souvenier craft. Now as you know we love a bit of op shoppy craft object aesthetic and maybe we are the only ones. But to be left by the side of the road seemed just cruel. Or maybe, just maybe the craft gods left it there for us. Not only were we taken with the Shell Art (Beck has quite the collection) but on closer inspection we were thrilled by the photographic vignettes circa 1978. We thought you'd enjoy our contribution to the Fringe Festival!


fringe dwellers

This week sees the official launch of the Melbourne Fringe Festival here in Melbourne. What does that mean for the ladies of HML? Lots of running around trying to cram ten exhibitions into one day (we've done it before and we can do it again). There are 39 visual arts events in the programme and some of them are definitely of the crafty persuasion.

High on our list in the coming weeks will be Fringe Furniture at Melbourne Museum. The theme this year is 'Go For Baroque!" - cheesy we know, and very 'fringe'. We'll also toodle down to Fed Square for 'Material World' -

"A strange house sits on the pavement of Federation Square; as if it has simply landed in this environment of harsh edges, from another place. It is colourful, eccentric and reminiscent of the gingerbread cottages of fairy tales. On closer inspection, the detail becomes clear… The house is constructed of thousands of objects and items of clothing. This ësoft' and personal collection is sucked into a time-preserving plastic that holds it to the walls"

And of course we will be scoffing down cold ones at the Lithuanian Club and marvelling at the wonderful creatures of Beck Wheeler in her new show Get Stuffed -
Skepsi on Swanston is also getting in on the Fringe with a great show by wonderous ceramic artist Janet Korakas. If you haven't seen her work it is a real treat -

And if the Fringe aint enough for ya then get to Span Gallery for new work by WA textile artist Holly Story - genius.

We'll let you all know more in the coming weeks as we do the rounds and we'll post pics for our beloved interstate/national readers

Melbourne Fringe Festival 2006


postcard from the edge


Self Portraits... It can become hypnotic. Watching the Flickr page of the self portrait Tuesday group is like turning the pages of some weird human family album. There are nearly 6000 photos and so you can go into a wee bit of a trance - but it is quite beguiling. We spend most of our flickr time looking at things people made and stressing out that we aren't making enough ourselves.

Sometimes it's nice just to look out of the computer and see the crowd. Those of us that spend inordinate amounts of time noodling around on the computer. Finally we get the feeling the internet is being used for what we always hoped - community, inspiration, support, information and fun.

We become so obsessed with objects that sometimes we lose sight of the fact there are people behind them. And we look at craft as a kind of self portrait anyway. That's why you don't see lots of phots of us on hml. Well that's not wholly true - we just don't like photos of us really. As you can see by the above staff pic we are quite goofy lookin! So we though you might like some more 'craft self portraits' below.




To be honest with you it feels like weeks since we put up a really good Thursday section. We may as well have renamed it 'we made it ourselve five years ago'. It's always a surprise when you consider yourself such maker to come to the end of yet another week without having made anything except maybe a cup of tea.
But something has happened to the ladies of hml this past few days. Could it be the excitement of getting ready for our big christmas show at 45 Downstairs or our DIY Christmas course at the CAE? Perhaps it's a plans for travel to NYC next year or maybe it's just that few days of glorious spring weather.
We thought we'd start making something.

Something big and bright and fun and easy.

potatoes, fabric, paint and one afternoon. And this first 12 metres is just the beginning...


here's lookin at you kid



Cindy Sherman is one of those artists. You know the ones. The kind of artist that if you say to someone you just met that you love their work and they get all excited and say they love it too you know you are going to be firm friends from that day forward.
Photographer, filmmaker, director and all round art star Cindy Sherman is most famous for her ongoing series of portraits. We hesitate to call them self portraits even though Sherman does in fact 'star' in them. They are more like film stills, character studies, short stories. Sherman plays the dual role of muse and artist. The images sway from encredibly beautiful to downright disturbing.
Her website is really comprehensive and a great primer for the unititiated.
Beck and I were talking about her yesterday and both of us had taped the same documentary off the tv back in 1996 and both tapes have since disintergrated from overuse. We thought you needed to know about her.


hot potato hot potato


Rebecca has long been extolling the virtues of the vegetable and while I struggle each day to make them a side dish to my various carnivore meals I can say that I share her love of the humble spud.

Yes there are the obvious reasons - mash, chip, bake etc but for our favorite application you'd have to go back to primary school art class. Swedes are good too - and I'm not talkin Abba or Bjorn Borg (love em but can't mash em) - they make perfect circles.

What are we doing at hml hq? Well you may ask! Let's just say when it comes to Thursdays 'we made it ourselves' entry we may actually be able to show you something new!


St Kilda Uberalis


The ladies of hml will be heading beachside this week for an exciting show on at Uber Gallery in St Kilda. Always fans of the Self Portrait (think Cindy Sherman, Frida Kahlo) we are very keen to see YennY's photography and Vipoo Srivilasa's ceramics in My Self: My Other.
Both artists explore the nature of self protraiture in very different ways. Yenny has crafted a series of photographs in hotel rooms, creating different personas in the guise of beautiful but ultimately tragic women.
Those of you lucky to have met Vipoo will already understand that his exuberent ceramics are a true reflection of his wonderful and cheeky personality. The catalogue states that his mermaid is in fact his alter ego. We are not suprised at all as Vipoo has always struck us as a glamorous and mysterious maker we much admire.

MySelf: My Other Uber Gallery 52 Fitzroy Street St Kilda until October 8.


all killer, no filler, vanila.


We know we promised you a selection of our best lomo moments but we've had to put our plans for an action sampler takeover on hold... for now. Instead we bring you (drumroll please ladies and gentlemen)


Currently Vanila's new exhibition TENSILE STRUTS is on show at Arc One Gallery... and people let us tell you she is the real deal. Her photographs act as portals into the world of the clinically absurd, a very welcome relief from the chaos of HML headquarters.

little rugged red rocking roof, 2004

Vanila, apart from having a most excellent name and being a kick ass photographer, was born in 1963, in Salvador, Brazil. She arrived in Australia in 1987 and "She creates photographic scenarios inspired by architecture, design and science fiction. Her practice explores the depth of the relationship between pleasure and austerity in the context of today’s excessive consumption and waste production."

she also won this years Archibald photography prize.

Killer, Vanila!

Vanila Netta Tensile Struts until October 7, Arc One Gallery, 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne


four times the fun

With this week being all about the craft of photography, and after our gen x reminiscing about our polaroid pasts , we decided to look to the polaroid camera of the 'new' generation and dedicate today to all things LOMO

More than just a camera, the LOMO has moved beyond shutter bug cult status and created a worldwide phenomenon, with multiple accessories to boot. It allows you to take fantastically experimental art photos at the push of a button, think fish eye, multi frame, color splash, underwater action sampler... it's so simple we can do it, you can do it, even your furry friends at home can do it.

Tomorrow we'll be trying our hand at some lomo action and joining the world lomographic society (Hey Lomo peeps... do we get a badge?) and posting our pics on the worldwide lomo archive mmm mmmm there's nothing like a plastic camera to get you snap happy...


I'm ready for my close up


BECK:I've always loved my polaroid cameras, and while I may not have managed to hang onto my childhood version, over the years I have given a guernsey to the varieties available at the local oppy to mixed success. While the pinstriped white 70's version boasts my favourite styling the 80's 636 model I currently favour has been just tops when it comes to picture taking. It was with this partikeler camera that I once started an overly ambitious (and hideously expensive) project aiming to take a polaroid picture a day for a whole year ... I think I got about halfway through February when I realised I could have afforded a new digital camera with what i'd spent on film so far... still there's nothing quite as exciting as the buzz and whirr of a polaroid photo as it exits your camera and I remain a big fan, if not also a big cheapskate.

RAMONA: I'm still using the same polaroid Sun 600 I got for my 13th birthday and despite being loaded down with all manner of new technology it was my trusty polaroid that I took on a solo walk through Venice a couple of years ago. Now remember I am not a good photographer and everything you point at there looks amazing but even I still consider these some of my 'best work' - maybe I am better off being square after all?


camera obscura


The Centre for Contemporary Photography may not be the first place you expect to find the ladies of HML but reguler readers will know that we are regualr shutterbugs. Beck in fact is an ace photographer, Ramona is more of a thumb across the lense kinda gal.

We are intrigued by the current show 'Family Resemblance' which includes well known textile artists Tim Gresham and Renee So. Here is a bit of the blurb from the ccp press release:

"Family Resemblance presents the work of three artists whose work bares the traces of photography in other mediums. From snapshots, found images and collage, to formalist photography, these artists both enhance and deteriorate photographic images, ‘reproducing’ them via weaving, knitting and painting. Tim Gresham’s formalist photographs of city buildings become rhythmic patterns via the loom; Renee So’s travel photographs become knitted ‘positives’ of a China, lost and found; and Michelle Ussher renders her visit to Vietnam as a collection of 4x6, watercolour ‘snapshots’. Through a process of addition and reduction these artists’ work can be seen as a kind of post-photography, indicating a strength in the pervasive nature of photography"
We'll hopalong and let you know what it's like. Now we're off to dust our polaroid camera and take some arty photos of clouds....not.

Family Resemblance

08.09.2006—21.10.2006 Gallery 2 CCP 404 George St Fitzroy


printed matter


Ramona: In a past life I fancied myself as a bit of a printmaker. I had to search through 10 boxes in the garage to find these! I do remember that the hairy buildings came from a dream I had where the city was covered in faux fur and I had to clean them

The angel is from a tombstone in Carlton cemetary
And this was my ode to Mr Squiggle the Man From the Moon...


burning down the house

Say what you like about the new Thom Yorke cd (Beck: "Brilliant!" Ramona: "Depressing!") we don't think anyone can argue with the beauty of the cover art by UK printmaker Stanley Donwood. His website Slowly Downward: a Manufactory is a magical tour of his latest work as well as an amazing shopfront where you can pick up this print 'The Cnut' for a cool 400 pounds. There is also a 'Library' department where you can read some of his bleak little stories. No wonder he and Thom got on like, well like London on Fire...


Sadness of the year


The ladies of hml would like to send their love and heartfelt condolances to Terri, Bindi, Bob and all the friends and family of our beloved Steve Irwin. A man so full of passion, energy, humour he inspired us all. We shall miss him

Love Beck and Ramona
handmadelife headquarters
Northcote Melbourne
The World.

More on how we feel at COUCHVILLE


going to print


Painter, printmaker sculptor Dean Bowen shows new work at Axia Modern Art Gallery this week. Hml are big fans of Bowen's energised and colourful images and have used him as inspiration for this weeks theme 'The Print'. There is much for the crafts person at a show like this, Bowen is an amazing colourist (doesn't the painting above evoke fantastic old quilts?) and seems to get great joy out of the everyday.

Port Jackson Press hosts a new show called 'Beasties' curated by one of hml's all time favorite australian printmakers Rona Green. For those of you that haven't been to PJP Print Room now is the prefect time to go. With 23 artists featured in the show it will be like a crash course in contemporary Australian printmaking. Great thing about buying prints is they are original, affordable and with the number of techniques endlessly varied. Funny how we keep going back to Rona's lino printed dog...

BEASTIES runs til September 30 Port Jackson Press Print Room 59 Smith St Collingwood

Dean Bowen: Urban Heartland runs tilSeptember 15 Axia Modern Art 1010 Hight St Armadale


More Blue Things


Looking around our homes we realized something. We are collectors. And I, like a bowerbird, collect small blue things. Some have been $2 mugs from target and others have cost me a weeks salary! I certainly didn't set out to only choose blue, it just seems to have turned out that way.

Here are a few of my more significant blue things:

This incredible David Pottinger vessel from his 2005 solo show:

South Australian ceramicist Gerry Wedd. His work blows me away. I wish I could afford a big blue thing!
Treasures from Irene Grishin Selzer (Iggy & LouLou). Baroque, encrusted, opulent, elegant and at the same time robust enough to use:
A gift from Beck (the greatest gift giver I have ever known). A small pot by Marianne Huhn:
Two pieces by Biggi Spiro. So delicate I can't believe I haven't broken them yet! Biggi is so consistently interesting and her use of colour is very dynamic even on such small vessels:

My most treasured object. My small blue house by architect and ceramicist Susan Robey. This is my 'save one object from the fire'. A poem.