still breathing
We have officially become bad bloggers and we have no one else to blame but ourselves and one giganto manuscript that is so close to being finished we can almost start to breath normally again. We unchained ourselves from the computers on Friday night to attend a wonderful feast at the newly minted Popcraft Studio in Northcote. We'll be talking about that and other craft delights this morning on The Grapevine on RRR with the lovely Dylan and Kulja.
Unfolding: New Indian Textiles is another great reason to abandon work! Writer and curator Maggie Baxter has had the enviable task of exploring the textile traditions and contemporary style of India, with and extensive exhibition hosted by RMIT Gallery to coincide with her new book on the subject. Surface embellishment, colour, block printing, beading certainly make our pulse race and as we are on the precipice of booking plane tickets as our reward for a year of slog this may just be the inspiration we need in choosing our destination.
We cannot believe that this year marks the 21st anniversary of the Fresh exhibition at Craft. It has been such a pleasure to be involved with this show over the years. Both of us have served on the selection panel at different times and we've watched with interest as some of our favourites from these best of the best graduates shows have gone on to have extraordinary careers in professional craft. Still such an important exhibition on the craft calendar
We urge you all to make a trip south side to see the new group show Fertile Ground at the Australian Tapestry Workshop . Their Artist in Residence program has grown from strength to strength and last year was a stellar line up. You can see the fruits of their collaborative labour, explore the workshop, and pick up some delicious tapestry yarn while your at it. their 2015 calendar is just as exciting. We are looking forward to hearing one of our craft favourites  Phil Ferguson aka ChiliPhilly discuss his residency on the 7th of April

For those of you looking for a road trip we highly recommend heading north (if you are based in Melbourne) to Ararat Regional Gallery for an embroidery group show (yes embroidery!) This is a kind of craft blockbuster that is well worth getting in the car for.  Slipstitch features recent work from Mae Finlayson, David Green, Lucas Grogan, Alice Kettle, Tim Moore, Silke Raetze, Demelza Sherwood, Matt Siwerski, Jane Theau, Sera Waters, Elyse Watkins and Ilka White. It's rare to get a discipline specific textiles show so this is a must see. 
If we have time we'll also talk up Easter and school holiday craft. We'll be doing a lot of making over the next two weeks in preparation for our book photo shoot - wish us luck! 
Well be on air around 10.15 1027 on your dial or streaming at RRR



we're baaaaaaaaaaack

After what seems like an eternity, we are back on air this morning with the wonderful Kulja and Dylan of The Grapevine on RRR (102.7 on your dial!). We are really looking forward to getting back out into the world after a solid three month stint in the Writing Bunker we need to stretch our legs a bit and see what's out there. 
Lucky for us the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival has a bangin arts program this year with some shows already open despite the festival still being a couple of weeks off. We checked out We Wear Future at BSG on Saturday. A sprawling show of 20 artists and designers that, despite being a bit hit and miss, has some real gems. We kinda loved the 'morph jackpacks' by Cadia Belante(above). Turns out we missed a whole floor of this show, doh! A return visit for sure.

Stephen McLaughlan Gallery continues the have sneaky brilliant shows that slip under the radar, the latest is no exception. The Useful Set brings together some of the best ceramicists currently at the wheel (see what we did there)? Jane Sawyer, Prue Venables, Sophie Moran, Elizabeth Masters, Zak Chalmers, Phil Elson and on and on. With the addition of beautiful still life paintings by Lisa Banks this is quite a quiet gathering of marvellous minds. a MUST see.

We'll be talking more about White Goods, the current show on at Craft, later in the week. Suffice to say it's a beautiful meditative show - perfect for hot summer days. We'll also talk a bit about the mysterious National Craft Initiative and the new announcement of a Victorian Craft Award

We'll also tell you more about what we've been doing while on hiatus (a lot of hunching over our computers to be honest) but more excitingly what we are about to do! It's fever pitch here at HML headquarters with a kind of marathon of making ahead that will test our craft mettle to the core. It's nice to be back, we missed you! Happy New Year Everyone… RAMONA & BECK



There is nothing worse than when a blog you know and love goes quiet. You wonder what has happened? Have they lost interest? got sick? died? Well we are popping in to let you know that we are fine. About 2 years ago we were commissioned to write a VERY BIG BOOK. Our deadline is looming (one month to go) and we have gone into the HML bunker to finish it. We will be back February 16th. Wish us luck! See you on the other side
Beck and Ramona



It's that time of year already? Yes this morning is our last appearance on The Grapevine for 2014. We've been sharing craft goodness with Kulja and Dylan all year so we though it fitting to have a bit of a wrap up of the year that was and give you the low down on the year that will be. 

We'll tell you all about what we've made for Christmas. We not completely sure where we found the time and energy to whip this haul up, but we do know coffee and panic are great last minute motivators! We actually managed to pull together a one day craft marathon where presents were made for just about all our nearest and dearest (see above) so it just goes to show that last minute miracles are possible and it pays to keep your craft cupboard full.

We'll look back on our workshop adventures and tell you which ones have sparked new craft love and what we hope to learn in 2015.

We'll tell you our top five craft shows of the year, but seriously we could actually give you a top 20 it was that good. 2014 was one of the best years we've seen for professional makers in an exhibition context. Beck has crowned 2014 the Year of the Textile and looking at our top 5 I tend to agree. Which is not to say that our tiny minds weren't blown by other media and methods, just that there is definitely some fibre fuelled magic going on at the moment.

We'll also cast our gaze ahead with our craft forecasting antennae up and ready. What will our predictions be? Listen in to 102.7 at around 10.15 this morning to find out. On a personal note we'd also like to say sorry for the long gaps between posts. We are writing a VERY BIG BOOK and are pretty close to deadline, so you'll have to forgive us. We'll be back to full strength in the new year. RAMONA& BECK



we deliver.

Those of you who listened up to our extended edition of the craftiverse on Monday Morning's RRR Grapevine will have heard us touting a brand spanking list of new workshops on offer in the run up to christmas and start of next year as well as outing a few of our must haves on our christmas list. We've been asked by a flock of little birds if we could make available the links to said items and classes. So here, in no particular order, they all are!

Choose one (or a few) of these options and learn new skills or whip up goodies for gifts. And for us nothing says 'I love you' like a weekend of concentrated crafting with like minded souls.

Ilka White is one of the most generous and knowledgeable textile artists in Australia, and she's holding a few more workshops before the end of the year, one of which we'll be attending! This weekend on November 9 at the University of the Front Room and again on November 20 she'll be presenting her one day Braided Rug workshop at The School Of Lost Arts Geelong, an amazing location in one of the cities oldest residential homesteads that has to be seen to be believed. I attended a workshop there a few months back and it was so amazing i'm dragging Ramona back there to experience it for herself! Ilka is also holding her super popular Introduction to Natural Dyeing workshop at Ceres (which i've had the previous pleasure of) on December 7. This will definitely sell out and is just brilliant so do yourself the proverbial favour and get in quick!

North City 4 are offering their 'ring in a day' workshop again on November 22. This workshop not only comes with the guarantee of a brand new piece of jewellery hand made by you but also offers a brilliant insight into the craft of gold and silversmithing in a real studio workshop environment and tutelage of the highest order. Bookings here.

Northcote Potter guest artist in residence and all round lady of awesome Sophie Moorhouse Morris is running her Small Porcelain Pieces weekend workshop at Homework Studio on the 6th and 7th of December. We've done the three week version of this one and it was brilliant. Here I am holding my big pot pre-firing, a breakfast set I made and a planter Ramona made. Serious fun, loads of learnings and highly recommended. 

Speaking of Homework the inimitable design powerhouse that is Beci Orpin will be holding a day long Make and Do book project workshop on the 13th of December. If nothing else this will be a wonderful day full of laughs, colour and making in the most fun environment possible. 

And if you're thinking of upskilling in 2015 get in now as both Slow Clay and North City 4 are both taking bookings for all classes starting in January. Check out what's on offer and book in quick or get someone to buy you a course for Christmas! check websites for details.

Yes this year we're making lists instead of gifts  - well ok, we'll still be whipping up baked goods in the kitchen in the last week before santa comes but no 100 decorations in 100 days like last year. Instead we've started a little list of what things we'll be buying either ourselves or our loved ones this Christmas. Because if you can't make handmade you should at least buy handmade!

1. Linen Smocks from Cottage Industry. 
When it comes to dresses we love sacks, and as it happens Pene Durston makes the best sacks in town. Soft well washed linens, yarn dyed checks, and super light denim are just some of the super limited editions of this perfect dress that comes in such a variety of covetable cloths multiple purchases are obligatory. The Harvest Smock comes in short, medium and long lengths and is THE perfect urban uniform. Its also roomy enough to hide a ham, pavlova or indeed the results of eating said seasonal without any tell tale bulges. Plus any visit to the cottage comes with a dose of Jethro the super cat. (see above)

2. Hand printed tunics by Indie Ladan of Monolog.
Every year Indie brings out pieces that are must haves in my wardrobe, but this year she's outdone herself with a new tunic that could well be the ultimate urban uniform. I've already snapped up one in white moss but the rest of the range is also a cracking collection of must have items… so much so i've already put in an order for number two.

3. Whisky ice bucket and cups by Andrei Davidoff.
For the second year running Craft will be presenting exclusive limited editions of works by some of Australia's best artists and makers in their Supermarket show, opening December 5.  This years collection includes Kate Jones, Kris Coad, Bin-Dixon Ward, Karla Way, Katherine Bowman, Pennie Jagiello and Amanda Dzedzic amongst others. Its a fantastic opportunity to pick up affordable production works by artists that often only work in an exhibition paradigm. And this year its hml favourite Andrei Davidoff athat are topping our supermarket trolley this year.

4. Jewellery by Emma Homfray.
Represented by Pieces of Eight Gallery, Emma's new collection literally stopped us in our tracks on sight. We've both been blown away with her tactile approach to surfaces decoration and bold mid century modern stylings - as a result she is currently topping our Santa list. Ramona is looking for a silver with gold plated ring, while I'll take a pair of her giant disc earrings. Hubba Hubba. Hopefully our nearest and dearest's will get the hint.

We'll be adding new things to our own hand made christmas lists, showing you loads of cracking options for DIY wording you up week by week on workshops and markets happening around town as we head into the heart of the silly season.

and finally I just want to give another plug for the most important event of the week (aside from my going away dinner at Smith and Daughters tonight)


Craft's annual professional development series "craft to consumer" focuses on candid conversation and insider insights from makers, writers, thinkers and designers in an intimate setting. This one is especially special as it stars HML's own Ramona Barry alongside artist and curator Kent Wilson of the Town Hall Gallery and media maven Jo Walker of Frankie Magazine. This session is essential for makers seeking to discover their authentic 'voice', create meaningful social media, write artist bios, statements and cv's or how to successfully get into press or exhibitions. It will be weird to be in the audience rather than beside my craft companion but now that i've finally I quit my day job at Craft I can at least safely heckle from the back row! There are only a few seats left, and I know Ramona has even got a booklet ready for attendees so get on board - read more about us here and book here.
$20 for Craft Members and $40 for non members (but seriously why would you not be a member!)

AND for those of you who missed the broadcast you can always catch it again on the RRR's hereBECK