Trying to paint..... with help from Jolly

I've had a quiet spell from freelancing recently, so I decided to do some painting just for me (very extravagant I know!) I've started to paint some of my collection of vintage and retro kitchenalia items.....plates, teacups and saucers, cutlery, tins and coffee pots etc.

My kitchen has been turned into a makeshift studio with my trusty table becoming a desk, and cupboards and shelves being used to prop-up works in progress! Very unglamorous - but surprisingly practical.
Practical that is apart from my hungry cat Jolly subtly reminding me the kitchen is for preparing her dinner - and it's time for tea! Honestly - does anyone else have to put up with these kind of work interuptions?!?!...

Small Space Jewellery - new stockist

I was delighted to be invited to stock my 'Fancy A Cuppa' range of tea-inspired jewellery at Small Space Jewellery in North Fitzroy.

All the pieces from the 'Fancy A Cuppa' range are created from old Willow dinner plates which are cut-out from the ceramic plates into the shapes of old fashioned teapots, cups and kettles. each one features part of the iconic Willow pattern and is slightly different depending where it was cut from the original plate.
Small Space Jewellery is a small gallery and workshop featuring a selected range of jewellery designers, alongside the work of owner and jewellery designer Robyn Wernicke. The gallery specialises in contemporary jewellery featuring an ecclectic range which is constantly changing, and I'm thrilled my work has been included into the gallery space!

The 'Fancy A Cuppa' range is currently on display in the front window, and is only available in silver through Small Space.

A big thank you to Robyn for showcasing my work! There is a write up about my background and the development of the jewellery range on the website which you can read here.

Mercator open studios - Abbotsford Convent

Yesterday I headed along to the open studios at the newly refurbished Mercator Building at the beautiful Abbotsford Convent. The main building at the convent is already home to illustrators, writers, painters, art therapists and various health practitioners who work in dorms that once housed the Sisters of the Good Shepherd from 1863 to 1975.
Floor tile detailing and some of the beautiful stained-glass window patterns in the main convent building.
The Mercator building is the newest development in the Abbotsford Convent's transformation in becoming a creative arts community. It houses 10 light-filled open studios set in the historic buildings and beautiful surroundings of the Convent, and includes jewellery designers, industrial designers, glass artisits, ceramicists, printers etc.

The open studio was a great opportunity to meet the designer-makers who have made it their home and take a peek into their creative workspaces (I always love seeing how other creative people work!).

One of the best studios in the building is home to the amazing lighting designer Volker Haug. A huge double room with ceiling windows and a section of see-through floor, original brickwork and exposed beams show-off Volkers unique pared back and industrial-styled lighting creations.
Some of Volker Haug's lighting creations

Industrial designer Dhiren Bhagwandas was next door with another huge studio space! Lots of windows for natural light and again the space had a mix of original features but with a contemporary and simple aesthetic.
Helen Punton the creative source behind the fabulous Zaishu also occupys a delightful studio and gallery space showcasing her eco-designed slot seat/tables and line of hand-printed fabric-based products.
The seat/tables are simple in design, but beautifully executed and considered - from the involvement and collaboration with other artists and designers, to their sustainable ethos and manufacturing process. Beautiful and smart - that's what makes good design! Zaishu also has a blog for more information.

Some of the historic outbuildings found around the convent.

I am so, so envious of the space the tenants have to work in, but mostly of the artistic community they share. I envy their opportunity to work with such a diverse and creative mix of people, who can inspire each other and offer the potential for collaboration. I dream to be able to share a studio space like this and to be able to work and talk design with people.....rather than my cat! What a fantastic place to work!

The public are welcome to visit the studio's in order to purchase directly or discuss design projects with the artisans. It's probably best to contact the relevant studio to find out opening hours first.

A big thank you to Volker, Dhiren and Helen for allowing me to take photo's of their studio's to share on this blog.
You can also read more about the Mercator Studio's here:


I was lucky enough back in London to find this book about the life and work of A.M. Cassandre in a second hand shop, I didn't hesitate to quickly snap it up and couldn't believe my luck in finding it!

It is actually my dad who introduced me to Cassandre and we both love his work and graphic style. Cassandre's work is instantly recognisable and typified by bold graphic imagery, strong geometric forms and use of typography. Along with designing for theatre and creating typefaces, Cassandre is probably best known for his poster designs and commercial advertisements produced during the 1920's and 1930's. Here he cleverly integrated 'experimental' artforms, in particularly cubism, into his mainstream commercial designs.
Below: 'Borwick's' 1935 (gouache)
The typeface 'Bifur' designed by Cassandre in 1927; simplified geometric characters and the elimination of any solid horizontal or vertical lines that were not completely necessary, filling the left spaces with thin parallel lines.
It was Cassandre who was responsible for the famous logo and typeface for Yves Saint Laurent back in 1963.
Below 'Nord Express' 1927 (oil on wood)
Most people will probably know Cassandre's work from the series of travel posters he designed advertising trains and ships such as the 'Etoile du Nord' and the famous 'Normandie'. These perfectly demonstrate his strong use of geometric forms, integration of text and powerful graphic nature. His clever use of perspective in these posters is a dominating feature, along with simplified colour palette and employment of a lot of black.
Below another design for 'Nord Express' 1927 (lithographic poster)
'L'Atlantique' 1931 (lithographic poster)
'Normandie' 1935 (lithographic poster)
Unfortunately I think the book is sadly out of print now, so worth checking auction sites or ABE books if you want to get hold of a copy.

'Garden Wisdom' - Angie Lewin illustrations

I thought I'd share a book I recently bought called 'Garden Wisdom' which feature the wonderful woodblock illustrations of Angie Lewin. I'm such a big fan of Angie Lewin's work and I couldn't resist this book - more for the design inspiration than the gardening tips!
The book itself was inspired by the art of Angie Lewin; 'She sees the beauty in all seasons and manifestations of all plants: the ordered pattern of the blooms, the thrusting energy of the emerging buds, the prolific seed heads and the varieties of shapes, colours and habits to be found in meadow and border.' (Leslie Geddes-Brown, Garden Wisdom).
The book has handy snippets of garden wisom (literally) from various gardeners and garden designers throughout the ages - which would probably be very useful for me to read if only I didn't get so distracted by the pictures!
You can buy Garden Wisdom here.