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



Feels like forever since we last graced the airwaves with our dulcet tones (snort). We are raring to go this morning as we catch up with our good friends at RRR. Listen in to The Grapevine with Dylan and Kulja  around 10:15. We'll be talking up seminars, markets, Christmas, books. Basically we'll be talking so fast we run the risk of sounding like we've had too many pharmaceuticals with our double espressos. We'll be giving a big plug to a writing seminar hosted by Craft this Thursday because I'm actually leading the charge, helping makers find their authentic writing voices. I'll be cutting through all the crazy art speak and noncing about with the english language and giving it to them straight. We'd love it if you came along (Beck will be the heckler in the back row). There is nothing nicer than meeting hml readers! You can book a ticket here

Sophie Moran is one of the many great makers at Markit this year

We'll be chatting a bit about the upcoming makers markets, Markit on the 23 of November and The Big Design Market 5-7 December. We've got some tips on how to avoid market fatigue and talk about some of the highlights for us at these blockbuster events.

If you can't handmake all your gifts be sure to buy local and handmade
We'll be tellling you what is on our Santa list this year. Top of my list is this stunning tinsel inspired necklace by jeweller Felicity Large now on show at Bini Gallery. Just one of the many great places you can buy beautiful, unique, local handmade objects that will beat a book voucher any day.

a new book by Beci Orpin is always reason to celebrate
If you do get a book voucher we highly recommend the new crafty tome by uber designer Beci Orpin. Make and Do is an explosion of ideas and inspiration, cleverly capturing Beci's warmth and generosity as well as her unique superstar style.

Kate Wischusen
If we have time we'll also let you know some of the great shows on around town. We love this time of year because there is so much on, a highlight being the graduate shows. Some of our favourite emerging makers are in this years RMIT School of Art Honours opening on the 18th at First Site Gallery.  Listen in people! Stay in the loop! RAMONA



Pot Heads

Right now there are three of the best ceramic exhibitions we've seen in an age gracing the hallowed exhibition spaces of Craft. Seriously great exhibitions. Shows that have surprised us, moved us and surpassed our expectations on many levels. We're pretty amazed, and as Craft moves from artist initiated exhibitions to curated shows for 2015, the three highly individual voices of Kate Jones, Sarah O'Sullivan and Gerry Wedd sing loud and clear. Considered alongside the new school naive 'wonk' of the hand-built ceramic works by Paradise Structures on show in the Craft window, you have what could probably be described as a perfect primer delivering the incredible diversity of contemporary ceramic practice in Australia.  


The term 'hotly anticipated' doesn't even come close to the way Ramona's been feeling about this show. Entitled Being, this new collection of large scale slab built ceramic pots builds upon the aesthetics, construction, techniques and conceptual framing showcased in Kates exhibition practice over the past two years and concentrates specifically upon the 'spaces' between two dimensional painting and sculpture. 

Kate says of her work  "The combination of painted surface and sculptural form creates an ambiguity that questions assumptions about both genres. this allows my work to sit in a liminal space that affords a realm of possibility in which new configurations of ideas and relations can occur." The resulting works within this show are a testament to the hours of investigation and skillfull restraint of Kate's painting technique. There is a definitive ambiguity in the pieces -  the mark making and brush strokes are intimately connected with contemporary abstract art, the scale and form of the sculptures lends itself to abstracted industrial architecture, while the drips and splashes immediately bring graf tagging to mind.

The scale of these works is impressive, both technically and literally. Some fold and bend like fabric sacks, while others stand upright at ungainly angles like totems and tree trunks. Their solidity is either softened by the layered of pastel colour washes or given a menacing bulk with dark paint and glossy glazes. These paintings in the round are like landscapes with each aspect offering a different perspective to the viewer. Glorious stuff.


This exhibition has provided us with one of our biggest surprises for the year so far. Deep and rich with historical references, masterful in its technique, sharply clever in concept and heady with nostalgia the show has completely blown us away. Sarah's work is an ongoing investigation of how "decoration is used in domestic ceramics to navigate relationships between people, and the natural Australian environment" 

Vestige is a brilliant articulation of these themes that elicits an intensely personal response from the viewer. Regular readers know that we're both keen ceramic collectors with shelves and mantles covered with coveted objects made by our favourite makers that say as much about us as they do about the maker. Ramona's collection reflects her deep love of poetry and the many hues of blue, while mine is full of Japanese earthenware and mid-century west german pottery.

Both of us however are united in our love of the undisputed king of decorative ceramics, Wedgewood. And its here in the pocket of the traditionally coloured clay where Sarah's years of technical and historical investigation in decorative textiles intersect with our own personal stories. I'm doubly invested: having inherited my grandmothers vast collection and with a distant ancestor who worked there as potter. However nearly everyone anyone can draw familial links with the special display objects  that were only used looking or for 'good'. That this show so closely referenced our own family histories and then played them out on wall-mounted, plinth-white furniture against a perfect museum grey literally took our breath way. Clever, clear and moving.


I'm gonna come straight out and call myself a Weddophile. Gerry's keen observations, wry wit, humble leanings and excellent musical tastes are right up my alley. The fact that he's also a brilliant illustrator,super skilled clay maven and Delft aficionado is icing on the proverbial cake.

In his new show Pot Culture he's pretty much written a ceramic love letter to the Melbourne Music Mafia, connecting the dots from Paul Kelly (see what I did there) to the Drones in a commemorative collection of decorated plates that charts the family tree from Hank Williams, to Evil Graham Lee (who in a little known MMM fact actually played pedal steel on KLF's album Chill Out - see I really am a music geek).

Name checking lyrics from the Underground Lovers and Black Eyed Susans in hand-carved and hand painted letters he draws pertinent parallels between the crafting of music and objects. His vessel based documentation of the drug dependant decline of so many great talents links back to the urn storytelling of ancient Greece (and maybe the Old Greek) in a perfectly pitched rendition of 'happy sad'. This show is SO close to my heart... Dad played alongside The Loved Ones in the garage days of 1960's Australia and I fulfilled a countdown fueled childhood dream by working at INpress mag for just over a decade throughout the 90's, before coming back to craft. Nostalgia overload wrapped up pop pun genius.


Melbourne based sibling collaborators Paradise Structures have somehow managed to merge Anthony Robbins motivational language with basketball culture AND toilet humour in their new show Keep Flushin'.

Drawing connections between everyday actions and sporting achievements they look at how we might re-position daily acts as small wins. Bringing together digitally printed fabric garments and incredibly naive ceramic tableware they mix both metaphors and materials. Weirdly compelling. BECK

Being, Vestige and Pot Culture on Monday to Saturday at Craft until November 29
Keep Flushin' on 24/7 in the window until December 1

All images by Beck Jobson.