Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oye Modern

Resin and silver bangle by Loop
Translucent resin bangles by Loop
Acrylic diamond rings by BY:AMT
Floral star amulet necklace by Kristina Brenke

Jeni from Oye Modern emailed me yesterday about her online jewellery store... After checking out her collection I jumped at the chance to profile Oye Modern here! Jeni specialises in contemporary pieces by independent designers, most of whom are Australian. My favourite pieces include the stunningly simple resin and silver bangle and translucent resin bangles by Loop, the kooky acrylic diamond rings by BY:AMT and the more girly Floral Star Amulet necklace by Kristina Brenke (all pictured above)... But there's a lot more on offer so be sure to browse the site to check out the rest of the Oye Modern collection!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Valentine's Day Kitsch

(image from inside cover of 'This is For You' by Rob Ryan - details below)

I first started compiling a bit of a Valentine's Day gift guide late last week... and I didn't mean for it to end up this way, but I just somehow ended up with a collection containing every heart-shaped, bright red, kooky, kitsch gift item on the web....

Hmmm. Sorry I have no explanation for this. It must say something very worrying about my subconscious mind... But it does make a pretty picture :)

ps) I know everyone except me hates Valentine's Day... even my most happily loved-up friends seem to believe it's all a sneaky Hallmark conspiracy. BUT in defence of Valentine's day can I just say that any excuse is a good excuse for letting someone know you love them. SO if you don't have someone to buy for... I think you should at least consider sending your Mum a bunch of flowers, making your flatmate some 'I Love You' toast for breakfast, or popping a heart-shaped paperclip on your long-overdue tax return... just to give your accountant something to smile about :)

Please double-click on the image for more detail... still learning the ropes... sorry it's not so clear...

1) Mimobot 'One Love' 1 gb USB drive (front and back shown), US$39.95 from Mimobot
2) Retro 50's Valentines cards, US$8 for set of 10 from Fred Flare
3) Alessi heart-shaped spoon, $15 each from RG Madden (pictured with the best ice cream in the world - Homer Hudson Chocolate Rock)
4) 'I Love You' toast - toast stamps available here on ebay for cheap cheap.
5) Lomo 8 lens camera - takes 8 photos in succession using standard 35mm film. US$40 from Fred Flare.
6) Super-cute heart-shaped 'measure your love' measuring cups for the kitchen! I love these! Fred Flare again, US$14.
7) 'You're Okay' cute letterpressed card with tick boxes by Paper + Cup, $4.50 or $14 for a set of 6.
8) heart-shaped paperclips from Kikki K, $9.95.
9) Le Creuset heart-shaped casserole pot, available from Amazon - US$139.99 (probably plus another $100000 for shipping but it was too gorgeous not to include...)
10) 'This is For You' by Rob Ryan. If you haven't seen this book yet you must have been living under a rock. Rob Ryan does the most intricate papercut artwork, and this book is full of the most beautiful work... I will make a post with some scans from inside this book soon. I've seen it at Metropolis Bookshop in the city and Coventry Bookstore in South Melbourne, or at Amazon. (about US$15 online - plus shipping - or AUS$30.00 in Melbourne bookshops)
11) Expensive-ish purse from Mimco, which is now irritatingly not available on their website anymore (even though it was only 2 days ago when I compiled this list. blah). I think it was around $170.
12) Kikki K 'Love Conversation Starter' $14.95. Cute little game to play over champagne with your Valentine... take it in turns to choose cards from the box, and answer questions like 'the first thing I noticed about you was'... or 'One thing you've taught me is...'. My fella would kill me if I brought this home... but try your luck I guess!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Proef Amsterdam

Please forgive the hurriedness(?) of this post... My laptop is in mac hospital and I have been without it for a few days now... it died last week and I may have lost lots of recent work.. and a fair bit of blog stuff :( Anyway, the motto of the story is BACK UP your hard drive! I was lucky I backed up maybe 2 months ago? So it's bad but not awful.

Anyway I have limited access to the internet until tomorrow when hopefully my laptop will be all shiny and happy with a new hard drive... soooo that's my excuse for a quick, short post. Sorry! All will be back to normal tomorrow (fingers crossed!)

I don't know exactly what Proef is... But here's what I gather - a 'food design' company based in Amsterdam and headed up by Marije Vogelzang.. she's a kind of eccentric food designer who does crazy food-based events, installations, artworks, collaborations... things like printing people's meals at a dinner party with odd statements in edible ink... making a 'ham man' installation(!)... making an entire feast of all blue food.. etc etc... it looks like a crazy, very experimental and super-fun place to work. That's all I know for now! Will research more tomorrow... meantime look at the fun photos on their blog and try to decipher the Dutch (there's some English too!)

Spam One-Liners is an inspired illustration/typography project based on the often questionable subject lines of Spam email! There's just something about hand-drawn typography... I love it. The illustrator is Linzie Hunter... you can view more of her fantastic illustrations, doodles and typography experiments on her Flickr account or her webpage.

I want to keep browsing... it's such lovely stuff.

(via heavy backpack)

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Powerhouse Museum Collection

The beautiful 'Linenfold' sideboard is the work of Adelaide-based designer Khai Liew. (He has a website but it doesn't seem to be working for me...)

The piece is part of Sydney's Powerhouse Museum collection... Their website has images and information about their entire collection of designed objects - including textiles, furniture, lighting, printed matter, clothing, packaging, jewellery... the list goes on! In addition to the most obscure pieces of lacework from Paraguay, and kids pyjamas, the museum houses hundreds of very famous, classic pieces - The collection includes Mark Newson's Lockheed lounge, a variety of original Eames pieces, a collection of original pieces designer by Grant Featherston...

The Powerhouse Museum website is a fantastic resource - you can search by designer, by item, by material or even by colour. Lots of Australian designers are represented but there's also an extensive collection of work by international designers... well worth a look.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hot Spots

Right Angle Publishing are so cool. They just seem like the kind of people who know about everything first. I guess that's their job. But man, are they good at it. The latest offering from these guys is 'Hot Spots' - a free pocket guide funded by the City of Melbourne, covering all the best things to do and see in the city of Melbourne. The current issue is Volume 3, the January-March edition.

It's a fantastic little guide - it splits the city up into 6 sections, with a brief overview of each area, a map, a 'hotlist' of places to visit, and a really cute section where a local person shares their idea of a 'perfect day' in that area. City of Melbourne seem to be pushing them to promote the Docklands a bit - they're kind of struggling for content here... but generally it's a great round-up of what the City has to offer over summer. It's really well written - funny and dry, but friendly too... and I guarantee you won't have heard of half the places they recommend - even if you think you know the city like the back of your hand. Right Angle work out of Curtin House (of course!) and even if the newest cafe in town is just a coffee machine and 2 stools in a doorway somewhere down a laneway, these guys know about it.

Hot Spots is also, importantly(!), really well designed - great photos, great colours, layout and type... simple but effective. The Art Direction is by The Co-Op, who are also based in Curtin House and do a lot of City of Melbourne promotional material... it's all great great GREAT, and their work is definitely worth a look in its own right. (ie go look at their website).

Grab a copy of Hot Spots Volume 3 now at one of those bookshops/record shops/cafes that have magazines on the floor near the door. OR download a copy here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Interview - Janet Lodge

Photos - Chris Daile, Stylist - Janet Lodge

Janet Lodge is a fantastic food stylist based in Melbourne. I have had the pleasure of working on a handful on TV commercials with Janet and I can say in all honesty her job is one of the most stressful on set! There are often between 5 and 10 ad agency executives and clients peering over her shoulder whilst she diligently works away perfecting the all-important product shot! The results are always stunning... and amazingly, Janet always seems so calm and unaffected by all the fuss and stress around her. She is a true professional!

Janet took a moment out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions about her background, the ups and downs of her exciting job, and her creative inpiration...

Tell me a little about your background - what did you study and what path led you to food styling?

I initally wanted to teach cooking so that children would learn how to make great food for themselves, rather than the blancmange and sago pudding I was taught to cook in High School (yeah, even in the 80's!)! I studied Home Economics at RMIT then decided that teaching wasn't for me, so ended up (thankfully) working as an assistant to a great food stylist and food consultant in Melbourne. This naturally led me to do some styling work myself.

What are a few brands, companies and/or publications you have worked with?

I work on a lot of packaging eg. KR Castlemaine, Birdseye, Coles, Black Swan, etc. Magazines such as Gourmet Traveller and Table. TV commercials for Old El Paso, Coles, Maggi, etc.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

There really is no typical day! It could be writing and testing recipes at home. Spending a whole day shopping for a TV commercial, running around looking for the the ultimate little blue bowl or perfectly shaped platter. Preparing food on a stills photographic job, tweaking food with tweezers and skewers! Making and running food about on a TV commercial over a very long day.

What has been one of your most memorable jobs and why?

I recently worked on a Maggi TV commercial involving mega quantities of food! Scene after scene required tables and tables of platters of food! Tables ran through city streets, along suburban paths and through parks – up to 40 tables at a time. We were working out of a catering van making massive pots of casseroles. It was exhausting, demanding and amazing.

Do you have an agent? How does work come your way?

I am lucky enough to get work through word of mouth alone.

Where do you find inspiration?

I collect magazines and cookbooks constantly. Often just leafing through them to look at the images. I also love eating out and am frequently in op shops picking up strange and unusual props.

What's the best thing about your job?

The opportunity to work with great people in all sorts of strange and wonderful places. The chance to spend time just playing with food!

And the worst?

The last minute pressure. I am often working late into the night before a job - packing the car and collecting last minute bits and pieces. It can be very difficult to guess what the client is thinking, so I have to pack lots of prop options and think of anything that could go wrong and dream up a solution (just in case). Also preparing recipes that just don't work can be very tricky, especially when you have a photographer, client and designer waiting for the food!!

What would be your dream project?

I would love to work on a food movie. Working with extravagant food settings, with beautiful colour combinations - with enough time to feel that I have done a great job.

Do you present all your meals as beautifully at home as you do at work?

I wish!! Let's face it, my dinner would be stone cold if I fussed around with it as much as I do while working!! After a long hard day in the studio I often sit down to a reasonably plain salad and a glass of wine, with maybe a chunk of watermelon for dessert!!

Do your friends and family expect perfection at your dinner table!?

They might expect it, but I generally opt for the casual dining experience! It is a 'help yourself' kind of affair! I like to keep the food simple and seasonal.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

I have really enjoyed Movida and The Press Club. Beautiful food, intense flavours - not too messed about with! I also love my frequent bowl of Vietnamese soup - always delicious!

What are you looking forward to?

A life that is less frantic. Enjoying cooking and sharing slow food. Growing some more vegetables and laughing with friends!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


illustration by hero design (view article here)

illustrations by Mar Hernandez (view article here)

glass jewellery by Jane D'Arensbourg - photo by Paul Sunday (view article here)

Behance is a website and an online network for creative professionals, dedicated to the goal of 'making ideas happen'. Their philosophy is based on their belief that 'great ideas are conceived and subsequently lost in the hands of creative geniuses, everyday. Frustration, rationalization, and despondence loom as creative people jump from idea, to idea, to idea... and fall short of actually making ideas happen. ' Essentially, the website promotes what they call 'productive creativity' - a framework creatives can use to break down tasks into 'action steps' in order to boost productivity and just get that great idea happening! I realise this is all sounding a little bit 'Dr Phil' but bear with me.

The BEST bit about Behance are the articles and interviews with creative professionals about what inspires them and motivates them to put their ideas into action. They interview creatives from all over the world, and from a wide range of creative industries - advertising, photography, fine arts, fashion, film, architeture, graphic design etc. A lot of the articles focus on entrepreneurs and start-up creative companies, and they're truly inspiring. This recent one about Hero Design Studio (a small design studio initially set up by a husband and wife team) is a great example (image above).

Initially when I stumbled across Behance sometime last year, I was in two minds about it. I wasn't sure exactly what it was - a website? an online community? an online shop? Also I think the name didn't help... it's a kind of strange made-up word... and the pronounciation isn't completely clear (I'm assuming it is something like 'beyonce'? - which is weird in itself)..

ANYWAY since then Behance has well and truly won me over... I think it's the self-help junkie in me that secretly loves all that motivational jargon - ie 'action steps', and being 'accountable' for your creative productivity etc. One article that I found really useful was this one - 'restricting the creative perfectionist'. How many times have you been unable to even start on a great idea because you're paralysed by the idea that it needs to be 'perfect'?

Behance doesn't really come up with any new solutions, but it's reassuring and helpful to read about how the same challenges are tackled by creative people all over the world.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Marimekko Spring '08

Images from the Marimekko Spring '08 fabric range...

Hmmmm. I am in two minds about this post because there has been so much textile design here recently... Maybe my fabric fetish is becoming too predictable... but these designs just grabbed me and wouldn't let go! I'm loving bold prints at the moment... I'm finding myself drawn to deep yellows and large, blobby, irregular shapes... And no one does large blobby shapes like Marimekko...!

Magazine Round-Up

Got the new Vogue Living and Belle magazines yesterday... still have to go through them in detail but here's a round up of my favourite shots...

Vogue Living feature - Kirstie Clements' Sydney home

Belle feature on the gorgeous home of Liane Rossler (of Dinosaur Designs)

Vogue Living Cover

Vogue Living - fantastic article on new textile design

Vogue Living feature

Belle feature on a stylish Sydney 1920's apartment

Vogue Living uses a Camel to model the latest Moroccan inspired fabrics!

Vogue Living is great this month! Lots of beautiful fabrics and a kind of Bedouin/Moroccan theme throughout... There's a fantastic article called 'Women of Fabric' (pg. 53) about young exciting textile designers around the world... so many new people to google! In particular Lisa Stickley from the UK, who I originally heard about I think in a design*sponge podcast interview with Maria from Port2Port Press. Anyway, Lisa graduated from London's Royal College of Art in 2002, and appears to be the current darling of the textiles design scene in the UK. She has a really cute website and what looks like an even cuter shop in London. There's also a gorgeous photo of her in a vintage blouse and jeans and converse... which won me over instantly! She just looks like the type of girl you want to be best friends with :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Flashback Fabric

Vintage fabric heaven

Flashback Fabric is an Aladdin's cave of original vintage fabrics and wallpapers from the 1920's-1980's. The shop also stocks a wide selection of reproduction 50's and 60's prints from the US. The vintage stuff is incredible - it's all in perfect condition and there's usually a fairly good quantity of each design. Nola Hargreaves runs the shop and has an amazing ability to source these unique fabrics and wallpapers, even though they're getting more and more scarce. The website says they're the only retail shop in Australia selling this extensive range of vintage prints - I'm not going to argue with that. There certainly isn't anywhere else in Melbourne with this kind of range.

Nola can also have your favourite print made up into lampshades, scatter cushions, or floor cushions to your specifications. Choose a vintage print and you'll be the only person in Melbourne with your unique design - sure beats being the 120,897th household with an Ikea Knappa pendant lamp in the living room.

(Not that we don't love a bit of Ikea... but there are way too many of these and these around)

Flashback Fabric
79 High st, Northcote

9482 1899

Open Tuesday - Sunday 12.00pm - 5.00pm

Friday, January 18, 2008


I am probably last on this bandwagon but my friend James just sent me this link which he aptly described as 'an interesting merging of craft and commerce and a very good idea' - couldn'ta put it better myself!

is a laptop case 'specially designed for the new super-slim Macbook Air... inspired by the product launch, during which Steve Jobs revealed the Macbook by pulling it from a manila envelope. Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans were quick off the mark putting this design together and getting it on the web.

The AirMail is made of vinyl and lined with fleece.. it costs US$30 and will ship in 2 weeks to coincide with the release date for the Macbook.

More about it here and lots of places...

Thanks James! x

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Five Boroughs

Ceramics by Kenji Uranishi

Handmade soft toys

Holly Daze printed cushions

Five Boroughs is a gorgeous new shop that opened last November just around the corner from me in the rapidly changing top end of Lygon st, Brunswick. The great retro graphic signage in their window has been catching my eye for a few weeks now, and today was finally the day I stopped by!

The shop is owned and run by young designers Stephanie Fleming and her partner Kyle De Kuijer. I chatted to Steph whilst in the shop and learnt that this is their second business together. The pair have been creating screenprinted textiles for their soft furnishings range, Holly Daze, for the past 3 years (I hope these details are correct Steph!). They now operate Holly Daze on site at the back of their shop - designing and printing new products - whilst Five Boroughs showcases these pieces as well as the work of other local and international designers.

My favourite finds at Five Boroughs include:

- Printed teatowels featuring beautiful, simple illustrations by UK design outfit Sukie. Too cute to wipe your dishes with! (check out their website too - more fantastic retro type and graphics!)

- Delicate ceramics by Brisbane based Japanese designer Kenji Uranishi. (photos above)
- Kooky handmade soft toys in a colourful collection of printed fabrics - created by Steph's talented Mum!
- ...and sorry to carry on but I really loved the graphics on the shops signage and business cards! The type, the 50's shapes and muted colour palette... understated but unique and eye catching - all designed by Kyle.