experimenting. Pressing stamps into the clay worked well.
More adventures in air dry clay. This time using the more expensive Fimo brand (as opposed to the $2.80 per box daiso clay!) to see if the results were better/different/ First up the Fimo is no good for small moulds. It's just too wet. The cheaper, dryer stuff works better. That being said the colour is more intense and when it dries it dries much much harder than any other air dry clay I've used. Imagine as hard as regular Fimo but light as a feather.
don't know if they'll last long as key rings. Added metal brads for strength.
I ended up with only a couple of successful experiments. Knowing what it does and doesn't do I would go in with a better plan of what to make. I'm pretty sure there are some more sophisticated possibilities than these!
this one looks like a squashed world map
I added gold leaf just to fancy the brooches up as I'm obsessed with gilding everything at the moment (my glitter box has been pushed to the back of the craft cupboard!). They are really light wearable pieces that won't damage delicate woollens.

This one is my favourite so I'm giving to a birthday buddy
I'm fairly certain you could never in good conscience sell things made with air dry clay, it just doesn't have the robustness of the oven dry big brother. But for gifts, yourself and crafting with little ones it is terrific fun and inexpensive too. RAMONA

For those of you interested in experimenting with air dry clay I buy all mine here



my eye on you

It was a pleasure to visit artist in residence Eddy Carroll at the new Hatch arts space in Ivanhoe on the weekend. Her new exhibition Glimmer of Wild Patience opens this Thursday at Craft and I can already attest to its beauty and sensitivity.

Eddy is a wonderful contemporary artist who utilizes craft technique (cross stitch  beading, printing,) to create intimate and evocative pieces. She approaches her work with enormous thoughtfulness and her openness allows for happy accidents and detours.

At the end of her residency in Ivanhoe and her show at CV Eddy is off to Istanbul (with a stop off in Thailand for a months charity work) for a three month residency - I am green with envy but also mighty impressed with this amazing free spirit.

You can read more about Eddy here and you can visit her blog here. The show opens this Thursday night and runs until June 15. RAMONA




I'll be talking about Craft and craft at this on Sunday - love to see you there! RAMONA
 Sunday 28 April, 2.30-4pm
Venue: Hatch Contemporary Arts Space, 14 Ivanhoe Parade, Ivanhoe
Join us for a stimulating discussion with craft and design writer, curator, maker and thinker Ramona Barry; ceramic artist Kris Coad; furniture designer Ash Allen and multidisciplinary artist Paul Yore. The exhibition curator Claire Watson and the panel will elaborate on their diverse perspectives on the surprisingly controversial topic of contemporary craft.
No bookings required for this event.


WORKSHOP OF LAST WEEK (and the week before)

hot rock

The ladies of HML are going for some hardcore up-skilling this year. We are attending workshops, seminars, classes  -anything that will help us understand process. The past two weekends we were thrilled to spend some quality time with one of our favourite artists Kirsten Perry as she taught us to master the art of concrete planter casting at Craft Victoria.

Week one was messy hard work, mixing concrete, pouring into moulds. lots of stirring involved! But so very exciting come week two when we cracked those babies open to see some really stunning results. We can't take credit for those gorgeous gold numbers - they were very cleverly created by Craft curator Debbie Pryor and her gorgeous friend Rowie. Amazing what paint will do to transform and object.

I was happier with my neon trimmed bubble wrap impressed planter once I got some actual flora in there (and fauna if you count the cute bambi)

I was so enamoured with the gold paint I redid my round planter /badger home with spray paint (much easier that way).

Beck had more success with hers I think. This one is like something from the set of Yo Gabba Gabba, which let's face it, is a happy place for her!

My absolute favourite is her Japanese brutalist architecture ikebana inspired block of brilliance. It just looks amazing. We had the greatest fun and have rushed out to buy more cement to hone our casting skills. Nothing more fun than learning something new. RAMONA



solid golid

Two of our favourite makers have shows opening this week. Today sees amazing jeweller Claire McArdle explore notions of value and preciousness in her much anticipated exhibition 'Gilty' at the cooler than cool No Vacancy Gallery. Claire is one of those really great jewellers who has a very clear point of you. Her work is always narrative rich and engaging.

We sing the praises of Sandra Eterovic  a lot around here and I must confess to already having put a red spot on one of her new paintings on wood that are making their début this Wednesday at Hut 13 - the sweetest tiniest store in Armadale. 

I will have to make the effort to 'cross the river' (gadzooks!) to see this amazing new work in situ. Can't wait, truth be told. Sandra is subversive, funny and compassionate. Her work always engages us and makes us think (but in a non preachy way). The Jealous Curator wrote a great piece about her last week. You can read that here. RAMONA




It's a bit weird for us this week. We are having to really think about handmadelife, what it means to us and to you. The seminar has proven to be a great catalyst for new ideas and directions and there is now so much exciting stuff to look forward to.

This week I put my kids to work helping me make the showbags for tonight. Thom was more than happy to help with the badge washi tape embellishment.

I did a reprint of our nuttier than nutty zine Craftbusters which Hope dutifully washi taped too (theme anyone? Glitter is so 2012 right?) If you are attending tonight be sure to say hi. If not we'll be posting pics later next week. Back to regular programming tomorrow as I go visit the Quilt convention at the REB - hardcore craft at its best and worst I suspect. RAMONA

If you would like to come along to North City 4 tonight there are a couple of tix left here



hello... is it us you're looking for?

North City 4 have released 15 extra tickets to our seminar on Thursday night so get in quick if you still want to spend an evening with the real us! Also there is a nice interview with us over on the North City 4 blog, so weird to be the interviewees rather than the other way round! RAMONA



murphy's law

What do you get when you mix ceramics, jewellery and art? A cracking new show at Pieces of Eight Gallery that's what. We love Pia Murphy's new work. It's got that whole urban tribal thing going on while still remaining elegant and thoughtful. You know the ladies of HML love beads at the moment too!

The name of the show is interesting to: Saccade. Apparently this is the technical term for the fast an involuntary movement of the eye (like just before you take a photo).

We're hoping she has some of her glorious animal sculptures on show too. Remember to get in quick as Pieces of Eight turn their shows over pretty quick these days - which we are in favour of. More more more craft is not enough! RAMONA

Sacccade runs from April 16 - May 25
Pieces of Eight Gallery
18 Russell Place Melb City



If you were to look over the archives of HML over the past 4 years you will note that around school holidays we tend to go a little quiet. This week is no exception! Things have got on top of us in a big way and we just need to take a couple of days to, ya know, get ourselves together. Truth is we are busy juggling family commitments and preparing for our seminar next week.

We are kind of prioritising real life stuff more out of need than want!  if you are coming next week to NORTH CITY 4 (are you? we hope so - can we count our powerpoint presentation as a work of art!)  you can chastise us for our online absence then. RAMONA AND BECK



Pie in the sky

We can't recommend illustrating genius and Jacky Winter stablemate Ben Sanders' new book I've an Uncle Ivan enough. Both Mixmaster Maxwell and Superwomble Thom think its the proverbial bees knees... and yes we're pretty much reading it every night before bed at least once!

In the best tradition of children's books it's brilliantly and hilariously illustrated (think beatnik circus and you're on your way)and reveals more layers and characters with each reading. There's even inbuilt paper craft at the back of it! Seriously, if we hadn't already booked ourselves into the fun and frivolity of Finders Keepers today we'd be heading down to Lamington Drive for sure to get ourselves some of the fairy bread fun on offer at the launch. If you can't make it (like us) to the party today you can still win yourself a free copy from the lovely people at LMNOP and Thames & Hudson here. Believe us it's worth it! BECK

I've an Uncle Ivan Book Launch & kids Party
Lamington Drive
15-25 Keele Street
Collingwood, Melbourne.
TODAY April 6
get more details here 




I got this funny little kit last week that I thought I'd share. It sort of looks like a stencil but with holes in it (bit like join the dots) The idea is that you pierce paper and then sew your image. As nice as the kit is I'm pretty sure you could do this with your own drawings - which I plan to do soon.

I made a lovely feather card for a dear friend who was, ahem, tickled pink by it! I got my kit from here. RAMONA



keep it cool

The weather is perfect for the Autumn Finders Keepers Market. so nice to rug up and head to the Royal Exhibition Building to see a wealth of handmade riches. The ladies of HML will be heading straight to Dale Hardiman's stand to pick up one of his delicious bowls.

Then we'll be picking up some swanky clip on bow ties for our little guys from Marcello Neckwear

And rumour has it that Cat Rabbit will have some alpaca softies on sale - woo hoo! 

See you there? We are hitting the market on Saturday afternoon - say hi if you spot us. RAMONA



beady eyes
The ladies of HML have become a bit bead obsessed of late (have you noticed?) between air dry clay, glow in the dark fimo and now raw wood beads.
Liberty print beads@ Louis Vuitton
I'd originally bought these to do one of those fabric tube stuffed with wood bead neck things (I'm sure they have a more official name than that). I saw there was a $800 Louis Vuitton version a couple of years ago that I loved but was well out of my tax bracket. I had bought a beautiful palette of blues for another project and I couldn't resist.
There is a lot to consider with this kind of project. How to paint the beads, how to dry the beads and then then what order to string them in.  I was going to be a bit more random but I I found after a lot of playing around symmetry is best (surprise surprise).  I bought a bag of 100 beads from here. I only used half for this project so what will I do next? RAMONA



wood is good

I've been doing a lot of research in to the work of mid 20th Century architect and textile designer Alexander Girard lately.  I saw the image of these dolls and just fell madly in love with them. A champion of folk art, a collector of nativities and early adopter of the softies craze (he commissioned artist Marilyn Neuhart to make 100 of them for the opening of his store in 1961)

I can't say my little doll family quite captures the surreal circus vibe of Girard's little group - I think I need weirder shapes for that but looking at his work I learnt so much about how unexpected composition and pattern can make even the smallest of craft projects come to life.

These guys look like they should be starring in their own little stop motion animated romantic comedy! It is a small friend's birthday in June so I have a bit of time to make a bag to go with them. RAMONA