Trip to Kyneton

Picturesque Piper Street
    The rather fabulous Stockroom with its ecclectic mix of vintage and industrial treasures,
                                 local hand-made products and art gallery space      

                                             Oohh - love the retro picnic set!

                                            The cute entrance to Cavaletti Gallery
    Leanne's light-filled retail & gallery space for her beautiful hand-made and limited edition
            pieces and her studio next door where she creates her gorgeous garments

                      Kyneton is situated near the Campaspe river - beautiful!
On Sunday we took a day trip to Kyneton, a small but bustling township in the Macedon Ranges.  We're considering a move to the country - and Kyneton is at the top of our list of places to move to!  For a country town it has a fabulous mix of coffee shops, award wining eateries, a good range of generic high street shops and some cute boutique stores, second-hand and vintage goodies and a seemingly arty and creative community - perfect!  At only an hours drive from Melbourne its commutable and ideal to have the city close by, but live in the country.....thats the dream anyway!

Top of our list of places to visit is Stockroom.  Stockroom is a vast space (I beleive it used to be an old butter factory) which houses an ever-changing selection of contemporary hand-made products including ceramics, jewellery, furniture and a really lovely selection of clothing (sooo many beautiful items of clothing) as well as some very cool vintage and industrial collectibles.  You can also grab a coffee here too which is handy!  

Further up Piper Street is Cavaletti Gallery, home to the workroom and retail space for Leanne Coates hand-made and limited edition clothing collections.  The gallery is found up a flight of stairs above the vintage treasures at Kabinett, and is a lovely light-filled space overlooking Piper Street - I'm very envious of Leanne's gallery / retail space and workroom next door.

Other places to visit include Long Story Short, a bookshop selling new and pre-loved books and old vinyl LP's, and The Lauriston Press, the working art studio of owner Sarah Gabriel who has really lovely artwork as well as running art classes and workshops.

Several Kyneton homes have recently been featured on The Design Files, including Vanessa Partridge owner of boutique florest shop Prunella and the lovely home of Melly Beilby.

There's some more info on Kyneton's shops and restaurants from last years Sydney Morning Herald here and here.  I might see you up there for a coffee and a stroll on Sunday afternoon!

PS. I'd love to know more about living in Kyneton or the surrounding area if anyone lives close by, or has friends in the area.  Do drop me a note and let me know!

Kyneton update......I've just spotted this post on the Vogue Living blog about a recent road trip to Kyneton with some lovely photo's.

A cosy weekend ahead

Somehow my little baby boy has turned into a 9 month old person!
It's been a busy few months here and with winter approaching I'm in a hibernating mood..... trackie pants and snuggly hoodies, with lots of cups of steaming hot tea are on the cards for the weekend.  Over the last couple of months I've had a heap of freelance design work, illustrations to paint, a big house clean-up and clear-out, whilst also being a mum and a "housewife"....that is without being a wife!

And somehow amongst all this busy-ness my little baby boy turned 9 months old this week - 9 months old - how did that happen?!  Its hard to believe his first birthday is approaching with lightening speed.  

The Jolly cat, whilst not so fussed about having a baby in the house, quite likes having comfy blankets and play mats to curl up and sleep on.  I envy her ample time to find warm, soft and cosy places to sleep all day, so I'm looking to the cat for inspiration this weekend and aim to follow her lead in the snuggle department.

That's me in The Age newspaper!

Well, I was a very chuffed and a wee bit embarressed to find myself in the Life & Style section of The Age on Saturday!  I was interviewed about my melamine plates and how I came to develop the range, as well as a little bit about my background. 

Its been fantastic that so many people have been interested in my work recently - and I've had the most amazing response, including lovely emails from people locally and overseas just telling me how much they like my artwork.  How nice is that!

As a freelance designer I spend most of my time working on my own, so its very difficult to get feedback when there's no one to seek advice or bounce ideas around.  When I launched my own range I was a bit worried about how the range would sell, if people would like the designs, if people would like the hand-painted feel to the collection - or worst of all, if it would just be a complete flop!

So to have the interest in my illustrations and designs, as well as the lovely feedback I've received has just been a really amazing experience.  I'm so grateful to everybody who has either purchased a product, or just dropped me an email to say they like my work.  Thank you! 

You can see the link to the article here.  It's not a brilliant picture of me - nothing worse than getting up in the morning knowing you have a photographer coming over to photograph you - that puts a lot of pressure on a girl in the morning (especially when you have a demanding baby that needs feeding and changing, and putting on a smear of lipstick comes a loooong way down the list of things that have to be done!)

Lark - mother's day gift guide

With mother's day fast approaching, the fabulous team at Lark have organised an on-line mother's day gift guide!

I'm super-chuffed to have my three vintage tableware melamine plates included in the mother's day collection - Fancy A Cuppa, Tea Party & High Tea.

As a first time mum I think all mums deserve to be spoilt rotten on mother's day (hint, hint Mr B!) so head on over to Lark to see what fab gifts they have for your mum.

Studio clean up!

My clean and tidy studio space!

I made a big effort at the weekend to give my studio space a tidy-up.  After a very busy few months the studio was looking a bit chaotic and was in desperate need of a good clean and tidy.

Artwork and designs have been filed away, piles of papers sorted out, books are back on bookshelves, art materials have been tidied up and magazine tear-outs are sorted into archive folders.  I've even gone through my old magazine collection and binned any magazines pre 2009. (Always quite distressing throwing away magazines - but I did go on a tear-out frenzy prior to binning any!)

I'm not a really messy person, by nature I'm quite organised so I hate it when I'm working in a cluttered environment.  It's nice every few months, or after a particularly busy period, to have a good clean and tidy and get organised again!

Painterly florals

Preliminary flower sketches 


I've been flat out these past few months with various freelance design projects on the go, including several hand-painted floral artworks for textile and ceramic application.

The illustrations have all been painted in watercolours onto medium textured watercolour paper, they were originally sketched out in pencil before being painted - with the exception of the last image where I painted directly onto the paper without any sketching beforehand.  I love the really relaxed effect achieved when I paint 'freehand', but it depends if the client wants this style of casual artwork or something a little more formal and structured as per the other illustrations.

With the hand-painted illustrations I normally scan the artwork into Photoshop where I can then manipulate the scale of the artwork and create the design placements for the actual products. 

I'm also working on some Christmas designs for the end of this year, which will be applied onto tableware - so I'd best get on with these and stop procrastinating by blogging!

Illustrated Children's Books

                             Illustrated Children's Books - Black Dog Publishing  
                        Babar the Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff, first published 1931
                    The beautiful children's illustrations by Kate Greenaway, 1885
The crazy illustrations from Edward Lear from around 1846, to accompany his witty
limericks and poems (his most famous being The owl & the Pussycat)
To the tiger in the zoo Madeline just said "Pooh-pooh". 
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans, 1939
                                    Everyones childhood favourite - Winnie the Pooh!  
                                                   A modern favourite - Maisy!
     The wonderful sketchy illustrations by Val Biro, 1966 for Gumdrop: The Adventures of
                                                               a Vintage Car
One of my favourite books as a child The House that Sailed Away, featuring these
fabulous quirky black and white sketchy illustrations by Laurence Hutchins, 1975.  
I've still got the book! 
                           The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers, 2006
           The scribbly style of Quentin Blake, famous for illustrating Roald Dahl stories
                              Captain Pugwash, illustrations by John Ryan 1976
   Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins, 1968.  Rosie the hen strolls around the farm unaware that a
     crafty fox is creeping behind her!  (Pat Hutchins also wrote The House that Sailed Away)
        Mog the Forgetful Cat, by Judith Kerr, 1970 and the instantly recognisable Miffy by
                                                         Dick Bruna, 1953
              Another of my childhood favourites - Meg and Mog by Jan Pienowski, 1973
The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Judith Kerr, 1968.  This is another book I frequently read as a child.  I can remember being very jealous because the little girls name in the book is Sophie - which is my sister's name.  I was so jealous because I thought my sister had a book written about her, and no one wrote a book for me!
        Some of Brian Wildsmith's amazing painted animal illustrations.  (I've blogged about a
                                         Brian Wildsmith book previously here)

Wow - where can I start with this fabulous book all about illustrated children's books.  If you're interested in children's illustrations I can highly recommend getting a copy of this comprehensive book, which covers authors and illustrators 1659-1945, contemporary children's books, and authors and illustrators 1945-now.    

There is a terrible pressure on children to leave pictures behind and grow into words, as though this is an essential part of education and maturity.  The illustrations in children's books are the first paintings most children see, and what we see and share at that age stays with us for life.
Excerpt from the foreward by Anthony Brown    

This book is filled with a wonderful selection of illustrations in different styles, along with information about the author and illustrator, as well as the stories behind the actual books.

I agree with Anthony Brown that many of the books I read as a child has stayed with me, and it was funny to find some I'd forgotten about whilst going through the book.  The House that Sailed Away, Meg and Mog, and The Tiger Who Came to Tea were particular favourites of mine - and it was so lovely to find them all in this collection.

Illustrated Children's Books was purchased from Readings in carlton.