How Can We Not be Ourselves and Rumble in the Jumble?

Well we said we were going and so we went. Two big events on the July craft calendar were up for grabs this weekend and we made the most of them... 

Friday night saw the most lovely Gemma Jones' showcase her new paintings and some fine enamel wall banners and jewels by her collaborating cohort Victoria Mason light up Outré Gallery with their fineness. What a great night, what great company and what smashing artworks!

I have to say I'm a complete sucker for mod styling, pop painting and book page prints, especially when they're executed with such a deft hand and quick wit. Gemma manages to merge plentiful and playful subtext together with giddy sense fan-girl fun, wide eyed naiveté with knowing nods and winks. Like a perfect old school pop record her work manages to blend heartbreak and back beats with a soaring chorus that we can all join in. Top Job Gemma.

Victoria Mason has been perfecting her enamel objects with increasingly convincing outcomes for a while now, and just when we think she's hit her peak she wows us all over again. Such are these pieces, the photo of which does no justice to their appeal (I blame the Sailor Jerry's). Incredibly appealing and skill-fully executed we want to see them all over our walls and maybe even our bodies - why not a breastplate sized pendant? Works were selling fast - we hope there are still some left come payday! The exhibition is on until August 8 at one of our favourite shops (see what I did there) Outré Gallery.

Saturday morning we were up early (but not so bright) to head to the cottage studio for the much anticipated Rumble in the Jumble Sale. While we left the lining up for others with earlier bedtimes and better morning dispositions we did still get in relatively early. 

To say that we were a little overwhelmed might well be the understatement of the year. Confronted by a wall of fabric of which the photo above is just a tiny sample, I kind of stopped breathing and went into a kind of ecstatic but mind numbingly confused state that ended with me walking out without actually managing to select any fabric to take home with me. D'OH!!!

But along with the booty came the opportunity to catch up with some of Melbourne's finest craftspeople Madeline Sargent, Lichen Kemp of Sunday Morning Designs, Anna Davern, Sandra Eterovic were all out in force picking up bargains, and we also found our folk fable favourite in the house, AND even got to meet the one and only Kaz Cooke - I was too star struck to tell her that she pretty much saved me from my first experience with child birth and rearing... but Ramona, completely unfazed as usual in her own amazing way managed a chat and confirms that she's tops. We're pretty sure everyone we know made it in over the weekend. And yet apparently there is still stuff left... hmmm payweek next week, maybe I should email Pene about that pile of afghans I saw! BECK



Oh My

hands down, best in show. Bertjan Pot (Netherlands)
I had to go and see them for myself. The ladies of HML are bordering on 'groupie' when it comes to Dutch designer Bertjan Pot. Especially his stunning masks, all machine stitch by Bertjan himself, which we have been admiring for about three years now, but only online. So image how excited we were to know that we could see at least tow of them at the Gallery Oh retrospective now on at Mr Kitly.

clever vessels by Fuzz (Japan/UK)
Gallery Oh started out in 2012 as a small perspex cube nestled in the headquarters of stylist Megan Morton. The curator Sarah K invited the very best of international art and design to exhibit one piece, for two months. A very simple concept that has attracted worldwide acclaim for cleverness and taste. It's not every day you can claim to be able to see the work of Natalie du Pasquier (one of the founding members of the Memphis Design Group),  Let alone in a warehouse space in Sydney or now down here in Melbourne town.

Nathalie du Pasquier (Italy)
Once again Mr Kitly brings us a fantastic show experience. How lucky we are to live in a town where these small retailers bring us curated exhibitions and goods, a real vision to their small spaces. This is a fine example of why it is important to get off the internet and go see these things in real life. Very good for the soul we say! RAMONA

Show runs until July 27 so get in quick.



great heads for radio

Its that time of the month again people. Ramona and I will be joining the Grapevine around 10:15 to talk up all that is crafty. We've both been battling bugs and mid winter blues - although those familiar with Ramona and my own instagram feed will note that we've both just as busy! It will be very good to get behind the mic with the lovely Grapeviners and talk up some exciting ways to make the most of the time indoors. 

We'll also be waxing lyrical about the new Gallery Oh retrospective show at Mr. Kitly which features the work one of our all time craft crushes, Bertjan Pot amongst others. Ramona and I have literally been waiting years to see Bertjan's rope masks and are still pinching ourselves that they're available for viewing now as part of Annexe Oh only one suburb away!

We've got two shows of the week to bring to your attention - Super ace DJ, painter, craftster, curator and all round legend Gemma Jones has a new shop How Am I Not Myself opening at Outré Gallery this Thursday night and the equally awesome Anita Cummins  is also opening her new show Quick Copy on Wednesday night at Bus Gallery. Gemma's latest collection of paintings, prints and wearables all featuring her signature sharp mod stylings and super pop girl groups straight outta Carnaby street, and just to up the multi dimensional craft action she's also collaborated with the equally talented and lovely jeweller Victoria Mason on enamel flags and banners.  We're excited. Anita on the other hand blew us away with her pom pom show a few years back and is continuing her own prismatic exploration of the spaces between knowing and unknowing via texta drawings and artfully arranged colour assemblages. we're pretty sure it's gonna be awesome.

This month however is really all about getting ready for Australia's biggest Craft Festival, Melbourne's own Craft Cubed which takes place right across Victoria throughout August. Last year there were over 120 satellite events and this year's even bigger so there'll be plenty of banter about what to book in for, what to save your pennies for, what to learn and what to see. Over the years we've seen and learnt some incredible things at this festival and we couldn't recommend it more highly.

Highlights for us so far include CulturalThreads  featuring a stack of amazing textile artists including HML favourites Eddy Carroll and Kate Just just to name a few.

And there's a brand spanking addition to the festival consisting of an entire week o free atrium activities at Fed Square from craftivism to ceramics, markets, makers, demonstrations, workshops and amazing Lost Trades. 

As usual there's a slew of killer workshops and events with some of Melbourne's finest makers covering everything from the ancient art of darning to a pom-pom and Pimms party, open studios a plenty and a long awaited and highly anticipated new exhibition by master gold and silversmith Vito Bila.

Also we'd be remiss not to mention the best and most inspiring annual seminar for craft makers Craft and Design as a Career which this year features jeweller Natalia Milosz- Piekarska, Melbourne Fashion icons Georgie and Alex of Alpha 60, the team behind the amazingLost Trades Fair, Artist and illustrator Jane Laver from Chapel Tattoos, Irene Grishin-Selzer of Iggy and LouLou fame....

And just announced as a speaker at CDAC is super cool graphic and textile designer Alice Oehr who's work pretty much blows our minds and who we cannot wait to hear speak. It always blows our mind just how incredibly talented, energetic and diverse our local craft scene is. Thankfully during August there's pretty much no craft stone left unturned so if you're interested in exploring we're giving the heads up now so you do not miss out! 

Oh and before we forget... Clear the decks this weekend people for the most hotly anticipated studio sale of the year as Craft Queen Penelope Durston of Cottage Industry opens her doors to the public. Seriously you will not believe what is in the offing. We've had some inside insights into what's on offer and we can tell you YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS IT... we're actually kind of hyperventilating already. As always folks, plenty of craft to see, make and do! BECK



ice ice baby

A carefully considered installation
Maybe it's this inclement Melbourne winter weather but it seems to be the perfect time to see Kirsten Haydon's Antarctic inspired show Ice Storeroom' now show at Craft Victoria.  It would be my guess that Haydon is an absolute perfectionist (as so many gold and silversmiths are). This is reflected sharply in this very precise show.

encrusted objects look cold to the touch
Every time we've seen her work there has been a level of finesse that makes the ideas feel as complete as the actual work.That accuracy of thinking and of execution is evident in every object, every surface, every well-considered corner of this installation.

wearable work shimmers with icy cool
 If I had found a speck of dust or a stray bead it would have come as a shock, such is the level of control. That's not to say that the show is not without emotion or reaction to the environment it comments on. Sometimes these reactions feel deliberate, sometimes the work emotes despite itself.

objects look lifted from a researchers Antarctic hut
The wearable pieces reflect the intense beauty of a stark landscape, the objects speak more to how humans manage to live, work and document such an inhospitable wild part of the world.

a miniaturised enamelled mug both elegant and evocative
I was mostly drawn to the objects, miniaturised versions of their real world counterparts. Haydon is a highly skilled enamellist and it's such a romantic old world skill it brings and inadvertent poetry, almost a nostalgia to some of the work that I'm not sure was intended. The objects are sweet despite their controlled environment.

poetry and wearability meet
It's a perfect midwinter exhibition, the stark installation acting as a series of huts that pull you through and control the way you navigate. It creates an immersive experience that cleverly transports you into an alternative environment. There is an accompanying publication that further enriches and extends the ideas on show.

Ice Storeroom by Kirsten Haydon
runs until July 26
Craft Victoria
brrr it sure is cold outside.