Hot Potatoes

Right now this show at the Ganim shop in Fizroy is so close to our Irish hearts we can almost hear the strains of Danny Boy. Brilliantly simple idea this - pick 40 of your favourite artists, get them to re-interpret the classic DIY 3D kids portrait vehicle Mr.Potato Head then display the results in an exhibition in your super beautiful shop. Makes us wonder why we didn't think of it ourselves.

Above are three of our top picks from the show, we're particularly happy with the spangly gold wing tips and pom pom head on Beci Orpins version in the middle, and the disturbingly enclosed woven eyemask come headdress of handmadelife favourite US basketmaker Doug Johnston.    

In addition she's also running one hour long kids workshops over the next week (september 25 - October 1) including a pasta making workshop with Food inspired jeweller Lucy Folk, a Bruno Munari inspired mask making workshop with freelance Designer Samuel Barnes, a potato prinitng workshop with the good ladies of Harvest Textiles, and a potato scultping workshop with Michael Strownix. All workshops are $15 and bookings can be made via email info@ganimstore.com.au. Um any chance we can pretend to be under 12 next week? BECK



royal pardon

Yup its on again folks, the annual Royal Melbourne Show. The brand spanking website will try and tell you the show is now a hip and happening new school event complete with celebrity chefs and 'food happenings'. But we're all about the old school. So for us it will always be about the overpriced dagwood dogs, pharmacists showbag, three year old packets of fairy floss and wood chop competition. 

This year we have the added incentive of small boys now big enough for their first ride on the Mattahorn (great excitement) AND a few people we know and love showcasing their cakes and preserves up against some old school heavyweights. So we really REALLY wanna go.

However, while love the idea of the show, like most sane people we know that the reality of fighting through the red faced throngs to get to the livestock and craft pavilion whilst clutching a melty soft serve in one hand and whining pre-schooler in the other is a major attendance disincentive. Still it's got to the be show of the week by a mile. So we're making it our show of the week. BECK



ladies choice

If you hadn't already been enticed to visit the three brilliant shows we've been gabbing on about all week then here's a post full of further incentives to get you out of your lounge-room and into the gallery over the weekend. But before we get there you need to know about something very important happening TONIGHT. As part of Slow Art Collectives Kaeru Secret Garden Project (featuring the incredibly awesome Chaco Kato amongst other) Dylan Martorell and Nathan Gray's Snawklor are performing at the 'Garden Party' on the hill atop the Hamer Hall entrance near the 'black waves' between 5 and 7pm. WHICH WILL BE AWESOME!

We can vouch for the recuperative powers of listening to Snawklors blips and squeaks mix with the squarks of crazy bird hour while watching the sun go down and highly recommend it as the perfect way to kick off your weekend, and get you in the mood for our three other hot tips for the weekend.

hot tip 1. 

work in progress above, work on show below
no consolation prize
Katherine Bowman's show A Found Thing (the consolation of consolations) at e.g.etal which Ramona opened last night. Honestly this selection of pieces is so strong the gasp-o-meter was registering off the charts at the opening.

We love the way Katherine manages to bring her intricate knowledge of a craft, culture and history together in pieces that are both familiar and fresh, and the works featured here are no exception. Genius at work.

hot tip 2.

space is the place
Dell Stewart's inhabitation of Westspace project room is called Life in Space. Dell will be meeting, working, moving and playing in the gallery during the course of the show and will be publishing the results online here. We love Dell's mastery of contemporary art concepts mixed with old school craft know how, not to mention she's an absolute delight and anytime spent with her is a good time.

There will be wild drumming there will be knitting, there will be ceramics and faux bois and there may even be a dinner and dance combo with finger food... who knows. Each day will bring something new, so multiple visitation is encouraged. HML favourite Nathan Gray is also in the house so to speak with his own work Theorist Training Camp/Practice Piece, so you know you can double dip with confidence.

hot tip 3.

I see the crystal visions
Of course anyone listening up on RRR Monday would have heard me blushing and giggling like a schoolgirl trying to articulate just what it is about my super craft crush Kirsten Perry that I love most. Now that I have the delightful anonymity of my keyboard I can say that it is probably her ability to translate the hyper mental surrealism of dreams into brilliantly crafted objects that manage to be beautiful, ugly, freaky and hilarious while also perfectly reasonable - think Dali's lobster telephone meets Mighty Boosh costumier and set dresser.

Ramona has already talked up her new show and homage to the brilliant insanity of Stevie Nicks Stevie Dreams... on now at Lowrise Gallery. But sometimes actions speak louder than words. I bet you wont watch just once.  BECK


Stevie Dreams from Kirsten Perry on Vimeo.



in remembrance

One of the highlights of my year is being the Craft judge for the annual Veterans Affairs Short Story Writing Art and Craft awards. Yesterday was my 6th year and it continues to be such an honour and a pleasure. After quite a sad year last year I was buoyed by 30 more entries than last year and I really had my work cut out for me.

There was some gorgeous needlework, fantastic crochet and incredible quilting. Lots of sweet baby cardigans and bonnets, and a terrific array of gigantic metal sculptures which livened up this years display!

My grandpa, who had been an ambulance driver in Korea, dabbled in mosaics in later life and he would have totally dug entering the awards. He had been a boxer and a mechanic before that so as you can imagine he was a tough old bugger, so mosaics was a curious choice!

I was very excited to see my show favourite May Brown returned this year with a lovely collection of Dickensian Christmas Mice! You can see some past years here (2011), here (2010), here (2009), here (2008) and here (2007). RAMONA




Handmadelifers alert! Less that 100 days to go but you need to do some funny maths to really get your head around it. First of all, best to cut out the two weeks before the 25th because you have to either send or give nearly everything by then anyway. Cut another week off for wrapping, cut another week off for card making and sending.

That mean's there are about ten weeks to go. trust me on this. For those of you that don't give a toss I promise to limit the Christmas entries to one a week until the last week or so. But really, it is ON! I made this wreath last week for my lovely neighbours. I had a lot of fun creating lots of different greens and I've lacquered it so it's waterproof enough for the front door. They are both keen gardeners so I hope they like it. RAMONA

For those interested: I've been experimenting with a few different air dry clays and I like this one alot! It works with any silicon mould.



Modern Family

We confess we have a total crush on American designer Todd Oldham. Last year Beck was lovely enough to give me his amazing biography of illustrator Charley Harper so I was very excited to get my mitts on his craft book for kids. Of course it's supercool, engaging and brilliant.

The projects are awesome, the styling is delicious and not twee, and the inclusion of design inspirations, reading lists, design heroes, design advice makes it such an intelligent read. If we'd seen this book when we were 12 we may have fainted with joy.

It's rare to see a kids crafting book that is aimed directly at the kids and not at hovering parents desperate to see their offspring be creative by shoving a glue stick in their hand (I'm guilty of this and it is something I worry about). I borrowed this one from the library but you can buy it here.

Perfect for older kids on their own (8 up), younger kids with supervision and grown up kids who want a big dose of design inspiration. Hot Toddy indeed. RAMONA



holiday romance
Transmission Headquarters
It's that time again. The ladies of HML will be heading into the studios to talk up all that is good in craft around town and as per usual we would love for you to listen in this morning. We've got a ton of stuff to talk about so we'll try not to let our sentences run together too much while we are on air!

Katherine Bowman
This Thursday Ramona has the joy of opening Katherine Bowman's show a found thing (a consolation of consolations) at EG ETAL. We've been writing and talking about KB's work for years now but mainly as a fine artist and not a jeweller. It will be great to see this first show of wearable pieces from Katherine.

apples and jam
We'll have to delve into that world of school holiday activities  because it is that time of year again. The dreaded september holidays seem to drag on forever so it's a good idea to arm yourself with ideas for the small ones like Crafternoon Cafe, Apples and Jam, and Art Play.

We'll be excited to talk up HML pal Dell Stewart's new show at Westspace, Kirsten Perry's show at Lowrise , and other crafty bits and bobs.

Dell Stewart

We are around around 1015 am with the lovely Kulja on The Grapevine RRR 102.7 



thunder only happens when it rains

There is no denying it. The ladies of HML think that Kirsten Perry is a genius. She makes art that we want to own, wear, give and play with. When we heard that her latest exhibition Stevie Dreams was inspired by one of the all out craziest and most fantastic songs ever written (Dreams by Fleetwood Mac) we kind of went a bit weak at the knees.

Perry has the ability to make ugly stuff beautiful. She creates a world of flotsam and jetsam that is like a cross between the Mighty Boosh, Yo Gabba Gabba, The Goodies, The Young Ones and a whole lot of other great weird stuff that we love.

 bought this brain necklace for my daughters 18th (she is a brain after all) and both Beck and I covet Kirsten's hair leg socks (hilarious!) 

I also scored one of her fantastic plinth pieces from the Craft Victoria show back in January. We urge you to go and see her new show that opens this Friday at Lowrise Projects in Richmond. It's only open Thurs -Sat from 12-5 but it runs until October 13 so there is a bit of time. We cannot wait! RAMONA

Lowrise Projects
32 Wangaratta Street



And so it begins

I've promised everyone, including myself, that Christmas won't be quite as crazy as usual. I'm limiting gift making and probably won't make cards at all. But I have to admit that Christmas is my hobby, and it's hard to reign in a hobby despite a crazy amount of work on the go. A good compromise is to not try and make everything from scratch, and to use supplies that are super fun so the process is relaxing rather than stressful.

This little wreath only measures about 15cm across. It's for a vintage loving friend who has just moved beachside. A wreath is good at any time of year but I had so much fun making this little one that a bit of a production line is starting for Christmas. Fun part is the clay only comes in primary colours so I get to mix the palette, and create the shapes using silicon molds. It's kid craft really!

For those of you interested in playing with this air dry clay I got mine here it took about 10 days to get here but was very cheap. I do believe there are locally available alternatives. It's an air dry lightweight paperclay used with silicon molds. When I have the cance I'm going to experiment with different brands. RAMONA



under a paper moon

Ok so between us the ladies of HML have about 300 craft books. No we are not kidding. So as you can imagine we are pretty tough critics when it comes to these things. With bookshelves so full it takes some convincing for us to hand over our hard earned cashola. Being parents we are particularly interested in craft books that focus on stuff to keep the kids amused - despite the fact they have attention spans of about 30 seconds we can usually entice our boys into some serious gluestick and glitter action on quite a regular basis.

I am mighty impressed with this one. PAPERCRAFT by Kathreen Ricketson. For those of you that don't know, Kathreen is the founder of the much loved and used craft site Whip Up and is already the author of several books. She's brought together papercrafters from around the world to put this clever little compendium together. 

Yes there were a lot of owls, and we may all be sick of the woodland creatures but let me tell you kids LOVE them and always will. There is something nice and fresh about the design of the book, there were lots of gender neutral crafts (a nice change from the girl heavy craft books of late) and despite being sweet it's not saccharine. So if you got kids or are on the lookout for a crafty present for a family you know, or you just want to make paper beads yourself I highly recommend this one. RAMONA



comes in threes

Leah Jackson

There are new shows on at Craft Victoria to catch up on. Our Favourite is in gallery Three. Leah Jackson has become and artist to watch in the last 12 months. We love what she produced for the group show at Mr Kitly and I'm looking forward to getting in this week to see this new work dreamily called An Epic Romance
Peta Kruger

Adelaide based jeweller Peta Kruger has graced Pieces of Eight this month with her beautiful work This Fools Gold. Her painted brass pieces make me swoon a little. Kruger was recently mentored by jewellery god Karl Fritsch so it will be fascinating to see if some of that energy has emerged in these new pieces.

Melissa Cameron
The ladies of HML are a bit beside themselves to see the opening of the Bilk Gallery touring exhibition opening this Friday at The Incinerator Gallery After my brief stint in Canberra last year I can confirm that craft is thriving there so a showcase of some of their best jewellers ceramicists and glass blowers will be a treat. for those of  you that havent made the trip out to Moonee Valley to this gallery it's well worth it - the Walter Burley Griffin designed building it quite amazing. Busy week methinks! RAMONA



clockwise: Maria Vanhees, Sony Manning, Jane Sawyer
This past weekend saw Spring spring on us in all its glory here in the northern hemisphere. A drive to Montsalvat in Eltham to see an extraordinary ceramics show was in order, especially combined with a fathers day picnic and frolicking in lovely parkland. 45 ceramicists, curated by Anna Mass of Skepsi Gallery fame - high quality stuff.
Jeff Mincham
I cannot begin to tell you how gorgeous this Jeff Micham bowl is, like a patchwork quilt, an abstract painting, farmland fields = wanty! shame I didn't have $3800. I need to find something small of his to take home with me because really every time I see his work I swoon.
L2R: Janetta Kerr Grant, Dean Smith, Phil Elson
I'm lucky enough to already own 3 beautiful Janetta Kerr Grant pieces which are among my favourites but really I probably need more. The truth is if I was wealthy enough I would love to be a serious ceramics collector! The breadth of work on display was quite staggering and Monstsalvat is a beautiful albeit out of the way venue. The show runs until the 16th so if you feel like a drive it's well worth it. RAMONA