Gold Lining

Jeweller Kim Russell has been playing. The result of that play as been a series of small ceramic sculptures that are surreal whimsical little creatures that looks as if they will animate when your back is turned.

The ladies of HML have always really liked Russell's colourful wearable pieces and are more that curious to see this new show at Dagmar Roussett that opens this Friday as part of the ultimate craft festivus Craft Cubed.

We love multi-disciplinary makers. We love seeing how people explore their own aesthetic in different media and then putting themselves out there to share these new ideas and experiments.  Of course Dagmar Roussett is developing quite the curatorial reputation for this kind of work, so sympathetic to their retail philosophy too. A highlight of this years festival. RAMONA



pot calling the kettle black

As regular readers know we here at HML have quite the collection of craft books. I spend many hours a week pouring over them both new and old.  I was researching sewing and embroidery this week and saw that most of the new books had very similar projects in them. The ubiquitous pot holder featured in nearly every book!

Of course the potholder is perfect size to learn new techniques and get a project done quickly. they also make great presents (with a wooden spoon or a some cooks soap perhaps?) and I was surprised by the variety to be found in this humble little square.

I've also started to wonder what sort of books really proficient crafters are interested in. Everything seems to be aimed at the beginner, the time poor. I know of some domestic crafters that are way beyond the skill levels in these sweet tomes.

It also occurred to me that that I never use pot holders. I have many of them but always go for the tea towel instead. And let me tell you for every pot holder pattern there are three tea towel ones. Let's face it it - so many of these books are full of squares of various sizes. pot holder, tea towel, tote, cushion cover, quilt, curtain. Maybe the pot holders are not such a bad place to start. RAMONA



steal this book

We're big fans of the barter system. Lord knows as makers we are often rich in materials, skills and product but poor in cold hard cash.  Christopher L G Hill  is certainly not short on materials, skills or ideas. His fantastic back catalogue " negotiates ideas of freedom as mediated through the self, others and objects... using the language or objects to undulate between the objective and subjective in both a concrete and emotional way"... sounds like craft practice to me. His latest project Free Feudal Barter Store promises much but given his virtually perfect strike rate so far its bound to deliver in spades. Using a second hand display aesthetic his 'pop up shop' operates as gallery studio meets medieval market and explores the various terms, methodologies and implications of exchange while underscoring the relational value of Capital within the arts. Hills work employs sound, debris, politics, performance and objects in a highly charged and engaging anarcho-syndaclist context - always enlightening and more often than not seriously entertaining. He's great, so this will be too. BECK

Feudal Barter Store 
Gertrude Contemporary
200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.
opens Friday



no hama in that
I can't believe it has taken me this long to try Hama bead crafting. Beck is highly proficient in the melty bead craft having made some David Lee Roth inspired thunderbolts some time ago that I was in complete awe of. For some reason Hama and I had not held hands before but all that is different now after a week of multi generational play.
There is an almost unlimited colour range to choose from
Hope was intrigued by the translucent beads and made this pacman like pendant that she's been wearing ever since. As a design student she takes even the simplest of craft activities pretty seriously and has since put in orders for more clear and striped beads.
Thom approached his project with the usual intensity
Thom wasn't interested in making patterns, he just wanted to fill in the trays with bright riotous colour. He decided these were magic shields for his room so we stuck them on his wall. His little fingers were kept busy for a good couple of hours over three days. He was remarkably intense about it.
think I need better findings but love the colours
I had purposely ordered industrial colours to try and use the beads in an unexpected way. I have to say having spent the afternoon with Vicki Mason a few weeks ago I'm not as happy with store bought findings as I used to be. I was happy with the results, deciding not to over melt them to keep the holes which I like as a pattern feature. I'm pretty sure this makes them less durable which is a downer. Back to school/uni/work now as the week of Hama draws to a close.  RAMONA



get yer rocks off

There is much talk of jewellery and jewellers this month what with the JMGA conference wrapping up in Sydney and the Seams Seems Symposium  down at Monash. So Tesssa Blazey's exquisite show Romancing the Stone  at Pieces of Eight could not be more timely.

It is clear from her work that Blazey has a deep passion for minerals and gemstones. Their crystalline structures, endless variations in colour and cut. Her pieces mimic the stones natural architecture and in that way honour it's natural perfection and imperfection.

Jewellers are always trying to tame their material, to frame them in a way that removes them from their source and places them on the body. It's a beautiful collection that is both thoughtful and sophisticated while still be joyous - a hard balance to strike. RAMONA



hello again from the craftiverse

Yup we're at it again. After surviving last week's #hipstergedden we're coming at you live this morning straight outta Northlandia. Bringing you all the news about who's making what and where they're showing it with the lovely ladies of The Grapevine. And boy have we got a lot to talk about this week. We'll be doing our usual whip round the galleries and let us say there are some SERIOUSLY awesome shows on at the moment. And because this is now undisputedly The year of the workshop we'll be giving you the inside tip on who's teaching what and where. 

Neon Wraps with Anna Davern at NC4 and new stuff to make at Paper Lab 

Along with our regular jibber jabber we'll also be talking about the rapidly approaching Craft Victoria festival Craft Cubed. Bigger bolder and better than ever there are 10 keynote events onsite and over 90 satellite events including 3 talks, 18 open studios, 24 exhibitions and yes you guessed right 45 workshops throughout the month of August. Ceramics, plants, fashion, jewellery, paper, furniture, collage, rope, sewing, basketmaking, architecture, films and more... I'm starting to think we'll be taking September off to recover from this onslaught.

Above: Pick and Mix at The Social Studio 

Splinter artists and Damian Hipwell

Paradise Structures x Monk House Design

Sophie Harle open studio and workshops with Cecelia Fox

Yes that's right people clear you calendars, for now is the time to get behind the wheel, pick up the pliers, put your foot on the sewing machine pedal and get busy. Of course we haven't even mentioned the film festival yet - and of course the annual pilgrimage for the Barry clan is ON. Oh dear... might we suggest buying shares in Gaggia now -  its going to be a LLLOOOOOONNNG month. BECK



from little things big things grow

Forgive me if you are an instagram follower you will have seen these images before. I thought I'd share some of the holiday crafting we've been up to. 

I have discovered that my home crafting needs to switch a bit come school holidays. I need to make things with and for Thom and also share projects with Hope who at 19 is really starting to use craft as a form of stress relief from her hectic uni schedule. The fortnight started off with painting these three old fashioned wobbly wooden toys (you know the kind that bend when you push from the bottom?)

Thom thought they were hilarious and enjoyed helping pick the colours (amazing how little kids have the best sense of colour - we can learn so much from them as makers). I did most of the painting in the evening to try and speed the process up for him.

Hope and I have become completely obsessed with stencilling absolutely everything. We were particularly thrilled with our afternoon tea tray. Stencils are great for the domestic crafter as they give you some room to make design decisions in terms of placement and colour but you get a really sharp finish which is enormously satisfying.

I've also been experimenting with stitching on photographs. This is another thing that you see on Pinterest all the time and it looks extraordinary when everyone else does it, me not so much. Learning curves, gotta love em.

The ladies of HML are both obsessed with weaving and my latest little purchase is an old school 5 inch pin loom that makes the simplest of woven squares. It is a lovely things to use, very small and simple and in around 40 minutes you have a beautiful woven square. I'm not sure of the best method of sewing squares together neatly. This week has been about Hama beads, needle felting, leather i-chord necklaces, friendship bracelets. I'm pretty sure in a past life I was an american camp craft instructor, the lower the fi the better. RAMONA



birds of paradise

Low Phat Wytchcraft
The prodigious artist, writer, curator and commentator Tai Snaith has assembled some of our favourite artists for a major group show that opens at Linden Gallery this Friday. The Cuckoo's Nest explores notions of domesticity, delirium and how we manage to create and live with art in our heart and hearth.

Siri Hayes
With new work by Siri Hayes, Beci Orpin, Lucy James, Dell Stewart, Kate and Jessie Tucker (under the monkier Low Phat Wytchcraft), Ellequa Martin and of course Tai Snaith  we will have no trouble being motivated to cross the river. For those of you new to those names take the time to click through to the links and see their great websites, lot's of inspiration to be had.

Dell Stewart
All of the artists are known for incorporating craft technique in their work. With craft being so closely aligned to the domestic it will be fantastic to see how they explore these ideas. This is a must see show so get your myki powered up. RAMONA

Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn,
Wire, briar, limber lock
Three geese in a flock
One flew East
One flew West
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest.

Show opens 12 July and runs until August 11



fluff and fold

On Sunday The Intern and I spent some quality mother daughter craft time together at the Etsy Craft Party hosted by Paperlab.co to coincide with the Boyd building's first birthday as a community space. The aim was to make 1000 papercranes over the course of the afternoon - not mean feat given it took me about 10 attempts before I got one right! 

Luckily there were another 100 people working on the same thing. There was a looped dvd projection that provided enough instructional support to my fumble fingers and feeble brain. I don't think we made many more than 10 but that at least is something.

Attending a community craft event is always interesting because all the faces are completely unfamiliar. You get to see how other people respond to making. Some come with friends, some come alone, everyone is friendly and up for a chat. Making stuff is such a unifying experience. RAMONA



A for Awesome

apologies to Lucy Feagins and Eve Wilson for appropriating Vipoo's portrait!

We are super excited to see one of our absolute favourite artists and people EVER popping up on super popular design blog the Design Files today. Seriously Vipoo is not just amazingly talented, he's an incredibly generous and knowledgable maker who constantly blows us away with his lateral and engaging approach to the handmade. He's also hilarious. AND he's given us some love in his interview mentioning HML in his list of favourite artist,creative peoples. thanks Vipoo WE LOVE YOU!
Check out the full interview here and make sure to make a beeline for his open studio in August or book into his Spooning with Vipoo (see we told you he was hilarious) workshop at Slow Clay as part of Craft's annual Craft Cubed festival. BECK and RAMONA



project runway

Seeing as I posted such a teaser last thursday it's only right that I come up with the goods and finish off the story today...  Those already hooked into my Instagram feed however, will already have had their fill of my drive by photography and runway rundowns!

Day 1 leave rainy Melbourne, freak out about not being with my family, eat some bad plane food and watch some bad plane movies and arrive in steamy paradise... I won't bore you with the details of my customs freak out or the shameful display of sleep deprived forgetfulness re: the 3 blocks of Vitasoy in my suitcase , packed by request of my expat friends and masquerading as explosives on the x-ray machine... thankfully although the weather quickly turned bad it was warm and the hotel was seriously luxurious... and yes that's not a bad view from the super sized balcony which also housed a super sized 'cleopatra' bath.

Day 2 After my super sized sleep and last minute spa treatment I took a long drive across the island in the pouring rain with a taxi driver intent on disturbing my new 'spa calm' by with the incessant blaring Shaggy. Still I managed to get to Suva in one piece and almost as soon as I arrived I realised the scale of this production was WAY more hard core than I'd initially imagined, and that we were all seriously short on time and long on tasks. I could't have been more excited. I traded my own kitchen table workbench for a dining table version and got busy making a few new things and altering a few already made things. Great fun, great clothes, great company, great deal of madness as we all worked our butts off getting the looks and accessories ready for the next day's photo shoot. Along the way there may also have been a few too many tequilas and quite a bit of Ru Paul's Drag Race runway stomping... and someone (who may or may not be me) took a humungous Naomi Campbell meets Vivian Westwood style tumble in a pair of sky high model shoes that has marked the polished floorboards for eternity. But I digress.

Day 3 Photo shoot, which was of course my chance to play Miss Jay to the Huudaverti ladies Tyra Banks. Lots of make up, hair, fijian supermodels and rapidly fading light at the gorgeously kitsch Suva Bowling Club. That said it all got done and then some.

I even got a chance to get behind the camera and take some behind the scenes and catalogue shots. Loved it all more than I thought possible - especially roping in the locals who were super excited by the overt display of unexpected glamazons.

Day 4 Home-time too soon... I quickly snaffled up a tapa,  drank a kerbside coconut in the car and said good bye to beautiful Fiji, while the Huudaverti team packed up the goodies and headed for FFFWeek in NYC. After a week of scouring the interwebs trying to find images of the show and religiously checking my friends facebook updates finally we got some runway shots!!!

I'd seen the collection live and through the lens, but there is something pretty exciting about seeing someone else's snaps straight from the runway. Everything looked cool, but for mine the best outfits and best styling were straight off the backs off the designers themselves. Go Team Huudaverti!

Huudaverti online shop will be opening soon, in the meantime check out the Huudaverti facebook page if you're interested in snapping up special on-off pieces, samples or indeed some of my own beady stuff.  BECK  



man size

Of course men doing handcraft is nothing new. My Great Grandfather, merchant marine, prohibition rum runner and Indian army boxing champion (yep he was quite a guy) was a master of knitting, rope craft, sewing and crochet amongst many other things. Then again it's cold and dark in Northern England and there was no TV (reality or otherwise ) back then, so maybe its not such a suprise he was able to master so much. More recently a slew of beardy hipsters have come out of the Portlandia woodwork and started up with a huge array of textile related handcraft, which is all good... but I've been looking around recently and trying to find more crafty dudes from the in between years and its been hard going. Until now...

Rosey is an American Football 'Hall of Famer' who played with both the LA Rams and the New York Jets, and as it says on the dust jacket - " a hulking, awesome, six foot five, three hundred pound chance, and if Rosey's massive hands can create lovely designs on canvas then so can just about anyones." Brilliant. Man sized bad boy craft at last! I should also point out that Rosey was also Robert Kennedy's body guard for a while, hosted his own tv show, is now an ordained christian minister, AND recorded his own tracks with funk and soul legend Bobby Womack. For Real brothers and Sisters.

Along with a great set of instructions on simple stitch techniques, base materials and technical instructions he's provided a range of manly patterns and projects, which is to be expected. What's especially cool though is that he takes time to encourage dudes to think about what they like and create original pieces that reflect their own interests and hobbies. A nice change from the colour by numbers approach to needlepoint ...not that there's anything wrong with a needlepoint blue boy, wild stallion or or Fragonard's The Swing.

And how can you not love a guy who very thoughtfully includes some lovely 'ladies choice' projects so gents can impress their better halves with their mad skills. Because nothing floats a crafty ladies boat like an owl handbag or bargello brick doorstop!

Maybe my favourite thing however is the singularly awesome voice of Rosey throughout the book encouraging men to join the handcrafting fraternity. His warm, friendly and generous delivery makes it all incredibly accessible and he walks newcomers through each process from first craft shop entry right through to finished product... 'rapping and jiving' the whole way. 

And his two chapters showcasing the work of fellow gentlemen needlers and collection of helpful pointers on how to get young boys into needlepoint are both brilliant and hilarious!

Oh and sidebar - Jazz hammond lovers like me will similarly have their minds blown to know that the young Jimmy Smith pictured above is the son of none other than keyboard and kung fu master Mr Jimmy Smith. AMAZE!!! This book is completely awesome and an absolute classic of the genre. I'm so excited i'm off to start my own Rosey inspired masterpiece accompanied by a little Jimmy right now!  BECK

more dude craft here
more manbroidery here
or listen to a little Jimmy Smith to get you in the mood right here.