This is the 24th year of Fresh! and the 17th that we've seen and we can honestly say that this feels like one of the better 'Best of the Best' graduate award shows. There is a decidedly feminine/feminist bent with many of the works bathed in pale pink tones a delicate materials like this beautiful work by artist Hannah Gartside. Her monumental swathe of lace is sweet and strong, a totally uncompromising delicacy which in the current political climate can only be seen as an act of defiance. Fresh is on at CRAFT until March 11

Hannah Gartside

Hannah Gartside

Another show that includes both craft and commentary is the excellent current exhibition at ACCA. Sovereignty showcases the work of First Nation Peoples of South Eastern Australia, combining contemporary and historical work as diverse as video and light work, to weaving and protest banners. It may have been made more sombre by the fact that we saw this on Australia Day (many viewers were in tears) but it is ultimately a defiant celebration of survival and expression. 

Maree Clarke

Maree Clarke

Shifu is not just the master of Kung Fu Panda, it is also the ancient Japanese craft of transforming paper into thread that can then be woven to create a new textile. It's an amazing a specialised technique that is rarely taught on these shores. So if you have the means we highly recommend a two day workshop by the extraordinary american textile artist Velma Bolyard hosted by the fabulous School of Lost Arts in Geelong March 11 and 12


Fashionistas of Melbourne must must must head to the design hub over the next couple of weeks for one of the best shows this idiosyncratic venue has staged. High Risk Dressing explores contemporary ideas around fashion through a series of workshops, performances, talks, films and residencies as they pull out of the archives the recent history of the now defunct Fashion Design Council which created a rich avant garde environment for sartorialists of the 80's  through to the early 90's, the ladies of HML included.


And finally Anthropocene: an impressive group Show at RMIT First Site Gallery that's heartening for the future for the intersection of fashion and art both in theory and in practice. Artists explore the relationship between geology and fashion which in itself is intrigue enough to get you there.Curated by dynamos Josephine Briginshaw, John Brooks and Andy Butler this exhibition that also offers up workshops for those still carrying their student cards. 

Gabbee Stolp

Gabbee Stolp

Ramona will be talking it up with The Grapevine Monday 27th FEB at around 10:15. You can listen in here: RRR


The Festivus for the Restofus - Craft Cubed

Yes its time once again for everyone to dive headlong into Australia's biggest month about making. This is Craft Victoria's 7th Craft Cubed, and this year everything is in the detail. Gemma Jones has put together yet another amazing festival which demonstrates the vibrancy strength and diversity of the contemporary making community we love so much. This year there are over 90 events from workshops, to open studios, exhibitions, seminars, social gatherings, and markets, showcasing over 700 makers, ITS HUGE PEOPLE! You can pick up a neat little pocket guide all over town which will give you a run down on the festival - whats on, who's in it, where you can find things. OR head over to the Craft Cubed Website where you can search for everything from jewellery made from salvaged Japanese Haori fabric to Macrame Forest in Warrandyte or an evening of local craft whisky tasting in hand made drinking vessels matched by medium to the malt… whoa! When we say there's something for everyone in this festival we're not joking. 



Some of our top picks include the ever popular Craft and Design as a Career seminar at Deakin Edge, last year's took us from fist pumps to tears as we listened to the most incredibly honest, insightful and inspiring artists and makers talk about carving out a career as a creative. This year's list of speakers is rad - glass artists Amanda Dzeidzic, writer Claire Rossyln Wilson, curator Hannah Presley, artist Kate Rhode, Senior Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the NGV Katie Somerville, craft based designer and super cool chick Kitya Palaskas, artist/designer/curator/creative advisor Liane Rossler, artist Peter Waples-Crowe, the fabulous crochet hat master Phil 'Chilly Philly' Ferguson and head weaver at our spiritual home The Australian Tapestry Workshop, Sue Batten. What a day - more craft than you can imagine plus free goodie bags! Book early.

The City of Dandenong is once again putting on their festival within a festival with Cultural Threads. From knitting to crocheting, dyeing to weaving, needlepoint to yarn art, this month-long program of events and activities invites people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in a variety of textile based initiatives guided by some of Victoria’s and Australia’s most celebrated artists. Last year was full of amazing stuff and this year will at least match it if not exceed it. We can't wait!

The Guild of Objects in North Melbourne are running special ceramics classes with artists including Robyn Phelan, Chela Edmunds, Jessilla Rogers and Leah Jackson. This is a great chance to get your hands dirty with some of the most colourful and creative ceramicists in town and well worth doing - we still use our cups made with Chela last year almost every day! 

Home Work in Brunswick has a range of wine fuelled artist talks studio sundays with super craft stars from around the globe including world wide weaving 'sensation' Maryanne Moodie and closer to home the lovely Gemma Patford, and Lara and Jess of Home Work. They've also put together a very  special craft supply store full of goodies for budding crafters along with a long list of special workshops just for Craft Cubed.  


And the list of local heroes wouldn't be complete without mentioning the super fabulous North City 4 who among open days and workshops are also running the first Craft Film Festival. Woo Hoo - this is a film festival we can REALLY get behind - while you probably all familiar with THAT ceramic scene in Ghost, this festival will take a much wider and more eclectic look at where film has featured craft in a selection of short films and curated excerpts from documentary, drama, animation, comedy and satire. Bring a blanket, blanket and hot toddy and get amongst it! 

The Australian Tapestry Workshop is running a special Minature Moments two day masterclass in design development for weavers based on drawing and collage. This is a fabulous opportunity for tapestry weavers who may be looking to learn new skills or master existing skills in the inspirational space of the workshop. 

One of our most fave spaces and people Pop Craft and Pauline Tran respectively, are really putting a show on this month. First up is the Double Happiness exhibition which pairs local textile luminaries Eddy Carrol & Pauline Tran, Cat Rabbit & Catherine Campbell, Isobel Knowles & Dell Stewart and John Brooks & Pauline Tran together to create new works. This exhibition has been highly anticipated (particularly by us) in a gobsmacking show of textile adornments inspired by the Peking Opera (swoon). In addition there are workshops on hand making sequins, illustrative embroidery and a textile treasure swap meet that is not be missed. (note to self) 

Out of town you'll find the 2016 Indigenous Ceramic Award at Shepparton Art Gallery showcasing 7 artists working with clay, selected from all around the country. These artists have been shortlisted for the major $20,000 prize - one which reflects SAM's ongoing commitment to australian ceramic art. This is going to be a brilliant celebration of the rich and diverse use of ceramic media by Indigenous Artists and we're pretty sure it's going to blow some minds...ours included. 

AND at the Stockroom in Kyneton New Primitives, an exhibition featuring 12 australian artists that feature primitivism in contemporary ceramics. This looks to be an incredible show and includes some of the best names (and personal favourites) Tai Snaith, Sharon Alpren, Andrei Davidoff, Irene Grishin-Selzer, Kate Jones and Janetta Kerr-Grant. There is even a hand building workshop attached to the exhibition for people wanting to get their hands dirty and learn from the masters. Take yourselves out for the day and check it. Highly reccomended.

We should also mention that we have top drawer shoemaker and high faulting' local leather maven Emma Greenwood in the HML house all month (thur/fri/sat) Emma will be making a pair of custom high tops from the ground up as well as teaching two super fab workshops - tassel making this saturday and leatherwork basics on Saturday August 27. She's got a bunch of amazing hand made kicks and boots on show in the space as well as her trademark little people sneaks and leather accessories for sale if you're in the market for either goodies or chats. She's an absolute delight and serious genius so do yourself the proverbial favour and come down and say hi!

There are still some tickets available for Emma Greenwoods tassel making workshop at ours, in which you can whip up a top pair of earrings, key rings and bag bling under the masterful guidance of the lady Greenwood, but her leatherwork basics workshop is selling fast so if you want to get on board book now! 

check fabric.jpg

We're also running our first hand weaving workshop on Sunday the 21st - its an intimate class full of cool tunes, cool threads and nice food while you weave yourself a checked wool scarf under our tutelage. If you've ever wanted to have a crack at this weaving palaver now is your chance AND you get come away with your very own winter wearable or wall hanging.  BONUS this class is ok for both frequent weavers and absolute beginners - serious wins all round! 

The Mari Funaki award for contemporary jewellery 2016 is on again and not to be missed. This biennial award was established in 2014 to celebrate the life of Mari Funaki and recognises the talents of emerging and established artists worldwide. If you want to see the best of the best contemporary jewellery then do not miss this exhibition. You were warned!

We couldn't go without reminding you to all to get down to NGV Australia for Making the Australian Quilt: 1800-1950. We know we talked about this on the RRR's last month but this show is setting the crafting community on fire (metaphorically speaking). So much to see, so many ideas springing from this landmark survey of Australia's crafting past. This is one of those exhibitions whose footprint will be all over art and design for the next few years as contemporary makers reconnect with the material, technique, design and history of this historical craft. 

See you at 10:15 this morning on the RRR's once again as we give Dylan and Kulja the run down on all that is CRAFTY! 

Chilly Billies and Busy Bees

Is it just us or has this month flown by? All of a sudden we are perusing the MIFF guide, waiting for Craft Cubed Festival to start and knitting and weaving furiously to stay warm! We join our maties Dylan and Kulja on The Grapevine on 3RRR this morning to talk up the wonder and mystery of the Craftiverse

Ramona is losing her crafty mind as she launches into coordinating her first Art Craft & Cookery Competition for the Royal Melbourne Show. Have you ever entered? It's great fun and with a whole heap of new categories, judges and prizes it's had a bit of zest added to the perfect spongecake that is the Show.  You can go HERE for more details about the competition (go on you know you want to!)

Have you every braved the queues at Melbourne Open House Weekend? We are VERY excited to be in one of our favourites this year- the Australian Tapestry Workshop flings open the doors to all and we'll be there (along with amazing Cat Rabbit) hosting little make and take workshops. Go to the comprehensive MOH website to plan an epic weekend (July 30/31)

Image Elise Cakebread/Craft Victoria

Image Elise Cakebread/Craft Victoria

There will be so much to tell you about August it will be a constant feed of craft goodness. But if you want to have a very fancy pants night out combining art craft food and footsteps we encourage you to shell out the clams for the amazing travelling degustation event FLAIR hosted by Craft Victoria and taking you through several gallery spaces and bite sized menus. One minute you'll be chomping down on roasted mushroom, garlic and thyme tartlets at 45 downstairs then cheddar custard donuts at the Sofitel (glad we can exercise between courses!)

Image Courtesy Sophia Cai

Image Courtesy Sophia Cai

New group show 'Wonky' opens July 14 at Tinning Street Gallery in Brunswick. Curated by prodigious Sophia Cai and Caitlin Shearer. the show is inspired by the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi that honours both the imperfect and the transient. With a stellar array of artists include hml faves John Brooks (weaving), Robyn Phelan (ceramics) and Naimh Minogue (ceramics) we are pretty sure this is going to be a far from wonky show.



This year the often (ahem) conventional Craft and Quilt Fair is taking it up a notch with some stellar workshop guests. Our faves being The Craft Companion alums Maricor/Maricar. This talented design duo with give us an insight into the process of inspiration and application from their initial watercolours to their detailed embroidered work. We are very excited to clap eyes on these two in person.  There is a whole host of workshops and demonstrations on and it is well worth investing an afternoon (and perhaps some spending money) at this year's fair (July 28-31). 

We have SO MUCH TO TELL YOU about August in the Handmadelife Studio, including and amazing artist in residence Emma Greenwood and some fabulous workshops. You may want to go over to this bit of the website to find out more before everyone else does...


We don't know how we managed to miss a month on the airwaves with our good friends on The Grapevine on RRR but that's what happens when life has you working 7 days a week. We'll take a breather this morning, wrap our hand woven scarves tight and have a cuppa and talk up the craft highlights of this first and already very chilly month of winter!

We would be remiss if we didn't point out that while we have been so quiet on the airwaves and blog front we have been super busy in our Handmadelife Studio at Queen Victoria Market planning our mental month. This Sunday we're hosting a Natural Dye Workshop which promises to be as much about cake as it is about textiles. The following week we are appearing at the Williamstown Literary Festival (too much of US is not enough right? Kidding folks) . Week 3 we are off to Sydney for some much needed sunshine and craft shenanigans at beloved book store Kinokuniya. Finally, if we haven't collapsed we'll be hanging at the NGV serving up some tote stamping for the kids. 

The Windsor Workshop is in full swing with a program chocablock with art, craft, mindfulness, good food, great company and gorgeous surrounds. We can't recommend this space more highly. It's what we term 'worth crossing the river for'. We'd be pretty keen on the Romy Mittlelman pendant workshop on mid June. Check out their  a full calendar of events here.

Our wonderful friend and teacher Ilka White is offering a number of beautiful slow craft style workshops over the winter months. We think a day long 'Art of Repair' mending workshop at Ceres is the perfect anecdote to the winter blues. There's also a repeat of the highly popular Braided Rug Workshop that is like unlocking some amazing pioneer crafting secret, we loved it. 

The ceramics craze continues as workshops and collectives pop up all over Victoria. We'd like to say that the wonderful School of Clay and Art is the new kid on the block they in fact opened their doors over a year ago. The combination of art and clay is perfection and with tutors like Shane Kent, Neville French and Kate Jones who are all so well know for their surface decoration it is quite the dream team. We hope to get there soon!

There is an extraordinary show on at Craft this month that EVERYONE should see. Hero Worship is co curated by Debbie Pryor and Hannah Presley and explores themes of worship both personal and social and combines a clever mix of traditional and contemporary methodologies. they are also hosting the amazing work of the Victorian Weaving Collective in the window space and a host of great events throughout June/July

If you are looking for super fun holiday antics we suggest you check out the mega calendar of events on over the next few weeks at Manningham Gallery. HML friend Katie Jacobs is an amazing teacher for both kids and kidults and we have wonky wonderful bowls to prove it! Wouldn't mind making a bigfoot though, sure is the weather for it...


Ramona and I will be gracing the airwaves once again on RRR's the grapevine with our favourite broadcasters Kulja and Dylan. Its been a while between missives but we've finally come out the other side of the school holiday fog and new job frenzy and have will be reporting on all the happenings in Melbourne's craft and design scene in what we realise is a special textile focused edition of the Craftiverse. 


Speaking of new jobs… we spent a busy Saturday in the new Handmadelife Headquarters giving a private marbling class to a visiting Malaysian 'pop personality' (and team of photographers, handlers and cameramen) . Ramona put on her best TV face and gave brilliant instructions, and we even managed to put together a palette "like the colours of the unicorn' (you heard it here first). I did my best 'craft assistant' sliding in and out of frame with paper towel and marbled silk… I did feel a little like a creepy uncle in a smock as I performed my duties. It was super surreal AND super fun, and our pop star was absolutely lovely and incredibly professional although i'm not sure either of us want to see ourselves on screen again! We'll be in the new studios weekly, making and talking about craft as well as opening up the space to all sorts of awesome peeps. Stay tuned!

Handmadelife Studios at QVM - 155 Victoria Street, Melbourne. 

Ramona has found her spiritual home as the new Art Craft and Cookery Coordinator at the Royal Melbourne Show! Competitive crafting has a long and venerable history and domestic crafters have used both country and state shows as the mainstay of competition for over 40 years. Amazingly even today there are still over 300 categories you can enter  and over 4000 participants took parti last year - all competing for the coveted blue ribbon and title of Best in Show. In a leap into the 21st Century Ramona has just started up an instagram account Art Craft Cookery Pavillion - (artcraftcookery) where you can find out more about what's on offer as well as details on how to enter. I've had the inside skinny and there are some AWESOME prizes on offer so do yourselves the proverbial and take a look at


JOHN BROOKS - To Sheila is an lyrical ode to grand master weaver and everyones favourite fibre artist Sheila Hicks. In this new exhibition Brooks responds to Hick's innovative use of weaving as cultural signifier and her practice of creating 'notebook' miniatures from collected newspaper and magazine clippings to create a politically and creatively charged 'notebook' representing both time and place. This use of textile as text was instrumental in the development of contemporary textile art and just one of the reasons we all bow down at the temple of Hicks!  Brooks intimate works 'write' tactile love letters to Hicks while recording, reforming and re-interpreting the location of his recent international residency, Blönduós, Iceland. Using his trademark amorphous textured blobs, video, photography and weaving Brooks creates symbolic postcards that take full advantage of the historical use of the Mailbox Art Space. Its tops. Go see it.

To Sheila, by John Brooks, on now @ Mailbox Art Space, 141-143 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. 

PAUL YORE - the super fabulous Paul Yore opens his second solo show at Neon Parc next week and its a doozy. The culmination of two years of European research of folk art, traditional craft and the practice of outsider and marginal artists, this new exhibition features major new textile collages and large scale video and sound installations. Yore's practice dives deep into the potential of textiles and collage as locations of subversion and disruption, his artworks a heady, carnivalesque critique of contemporary western culture. In short we really love his work and are very VERY excited about this new show. 

Paul Yore, From April 22 @ Neon Parc 15 Tinning Street, Brunswick

FABRIK - This brilliant, multi venue, group exhibition is a testament to the strength of contemporary textile art. The brain child of Melbourne's own Sarah crowEST it features a collection of new and existing works by emerging, mid career and established local and international artists that showcase minimal, conceptual and performative approaches to textiles. This show bridges the worlds of fashion, textiles and contemporary art, and draws its name 'fabric' from a German translation of 'workshop', its title reflecting the tactile engagement of these artists as they manipulate and transform their materials through manual process. A brilliant overview of the vibrancy of the contemporary textile scene.

Fabrik, until June 5, all over town - find out more here

TAPESTRY DESIGN AWARD FOR ARCHITECTS - One of our favourite organisations The Australian Tapestry Workshop, has teamed up with the Tapestry Foundation of Australia and Architecture Media to invite architects, design collaborations and architecture students to design a tapestry for a hypothetical site. This award reflects the long historical relationship of major tapestry works and architecture that dates right back to the middle ages, and with a major prize of $5000 its a VERY big deal.  You can find out more here

Tapestry Design Award for Architects - online entries open April 18, 9am. 

CRAFT VICTORIA FUNDRAISER - The Craft Fundraising Dinner is a brilliant annual event that this year features guest speaker and creative spaces everywhere man Marcus Westbury, a jaw dropping selection of auction items from artists including Kate Rhode and Troy Emery, exclusive gift packages and in a surprisingly awesome Raiders of the Lost Ark move, 10 mystery ceramic vessels, one of which contains the key to a beachside holiday. Want more - it also boasts, great food, top wine and sparkling conversation. This years event is focusing on fundraising for the imminent move to bigger and better premises early next year - there are still a few tickets left, book here through Craft website. 

CRAFT HATCH AND CRAFT CUBED are two further Craft event opportunities that have just opened up to the public. Take advantage of this major event to get access to the coolest craft customers in town! If you are an emerging maker wanting to dip your toe into the market scene or an artist, collective, organisation, retail space, gallery or workshop specialist now is your chance to develop an idea for Australia's biggest Craft festival! 

Register your Craft Cubed event here or find out more information at .

Other things we hope to get around to include HOMEWORK'S new kids club craft classes for 6-12 year olds every wednesday from April 20 until June 8 at HOMEWORK studios. These look so good we wish we were still in Primary school!


Garland Magazine's 'online google hangout' with leading scholar, fibre artist and textile designer Gopika Nath, as she discusses the place of traditional embroidery in contemporary Indian culture.

AND Ramona's weekend side trip to the AUSTRALIAN QUILT CONVENTION, which apparently was REALLY something to see… See you on the airwaves people!


Here we are!

photo courtesy ATW

photo courtesy ATW

We can't believe our luck - both good and bad this week! The first is that team HML are taking a much deserved and long awaited holiday to Japan. Yes this Friday we are leaving on a jet plane. Sadly this means we will miss out on a few choice craft events.

The Australian Tapestry Workshop is acting as host to Japanese Textile designer Reiko Sudo this weekend. YOu can learn Itajimi Shibori - one of our favourite techniques from this extraordinary maker. Check out this supercool clip of Reiko Sudo!

Photo by Andrew Barcham

Photo by Andrew Barcham

We are also very sad to be missing the official launch of new work by Katherine Bowman at E.GEtal on Friday. Bowman took a trip of her own to NYC earlier this year and came back refreshed and inspired. It's always fascinating to see the effect travel has on an artist's work.  What I saw when I Went Away 5-24 October

Tessa Blazey and Alexi Freeman. photo by Marija Ivkovic

Tessa Blazey and Alexi Freeman. photo by Marija Ivkovic

An extraordinary, inventive and original new group show at Craft this month. The Mayoral Chain opens this Thursday. Curator Debbie Pryor invited artists Alexi Freeman and Tessa Blazey, Anna Davern, Anna Varendorff, Claire McArdle, Kate Rohde, Marcos Guzman, Maree Clarke, Pennie Jagiello and Roseanne Bartley in interpret this mysterious symbolic adornment of civil office.  9 October - 28 November

As for us, we'll keep you posted. November promises to be the BIGGEST MONTH OF OUR PROFESSIONAL LIVES as we launch the book, host workshops, do interviews, demonstrations and in store appearances. If someone can have an iced jug of Pimms on standby we would be most grateful! 


hello and welcome 

We make stuff, we can't help it. and we know a lot of you out there who are just like us. compelled to pick up a pencil, needle, lump of clay, pliers, saw, circuit board, kitchen knife, ball of string, paper clip, whatever, and make something out of it. we're also notorious sticky beaks. So we started asking people who's stuff we liked, why they make their stuff, and amazingly they decided to tell us. These interviews became our first book " I MAKE STUFF" which has now morphed into an ongoing investigation into the wheres, whys and hows of stuff making all over the world. 

we hope you like it.