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Category Archives: Inspire Me

FIBRE LOVER : Miriam Ragen

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I can remember as early as 5 years old sitting at our big kitchen table at home cutting crepe paper to make flowers and other general crafts with my mum.

This was a regular occurrence in our household as we grew up in almost country (blue mountains) where we weren’t close to the beach or shops for entertainment. My mum was a really talented quilter and completed her sewing studies at Tafe in the 80’s when the course was still on offer. I was use to seeing her knit and sew and crochet and she often gave me little projects to do with scraps of wool or material so I could learn what she was doing.

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When I was a teenager and then a young adult I lost sight of these hands on crafts and focused on my career in visual merchandising and styling until one day I came across the weaving work of Australian fibre artist Natalie Miller. She was running workshops at Alexandria’s famous design hub Koskela. With my passion for fibre arts re-ignited I ended up doing a couple of Natalie’s classes…even an intermediate weaving class at her studio in picturesque Robertson south of Sydney. I loved weaving for its chance to handle rich hand dyed wools and experience the texture of raffia and cotton. This led to another class at Koskela in Macrame. A lot of people cringe at the idea of Macrame but the style I’ve adopted is so modern I hope it changes peoples perspectives a little when they see my work. At first I wasn’t that into it…maybe its because my hands were use to the repetitive back and forth method of weaving but once I realized the potential that rope has to make so many designs with only a few knots i have persisted and developed my own style. I am a modern macramé artist. As much as I appreciate traditional macramé and without it I wouldn’t have found this art, I am definitely not satisfied by knotting traditional style macrame myself.

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I am always looking for inspiration and new ideas to make designs that are original. I love working with chunky soft cotton ropes that are so tactile and textural in my hands. I find so much enjoyment in working on big pieces that make me feel small standing next to them. To be able to physically create something that is bigger than me is so exciting! I draw some inspiration from international modern Fibre artists like Belensenra and Tanya Aguiniga but really I try to make things that I would like to see in my own home. Like most stylists I have my favorites…i’m in awe of the work of Australian stylists Glen Proebstel, Karen McCartney and Kara Rosenlund who take advantage of the natural environment and its imperfections to put together beautiful textural images.

GET CREATIVE with Miriam at her upcoming macramé workshop on Saturday 28th May : Learn 5 knots to make and take home a large macrame plant hanger using soft cotton ropes. Click here to find out more and spot.

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SiIGNWRITING : Newcastle’s Lost Pieces of Art

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Tradition signwriting is like a lost art that changed as technology advances. Where signwriters used methods that were closely related to those of the fore-bearers of this craft and did not depend on technology – they are able to set out a sign with chalk and write it by eye in freehand. They didn’t rely on fonts and normally have their own individual lettering styles yet with the ability to render fonts closely to brand and for example architectural design briefs.

We love how these traditional signs grow more beautiful with age eventually becomes what’s known as a ‘ghost sign’ as it fades revealing grounds, surfaces, brushstrokes and undercoats; generally becoming a beautiful piece of artwork.

To learn some of the basics of signwriting, join us at our upcoming signwriting workshop

Check out some of Newcastle’s lost and ghost signage provided by local members of The Lost Newcastle.

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Slicks Burgers Cakes & Coffee – Image by Doug Saxon courtesy of Hidden Hamilton

 

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Image provided by Ron Woods

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Image provided by Carol Duncan

 

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David Cohen & Co – Image provided by David Carroll

 

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The Roxy – Image by Greg & Syliva Ray courtesy of Hidden Hamilton

 

 

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Hexham Public School – Image provided by Darren Furner

 

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Klosters Darby St – Image by Justin & Alison Worboys

 

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The Billy Tea – Image provided by Darren Furner 

 

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The Astoria – Image by Christopher Carlson

 

 

 

 

MAY GIBBS: More Than Just a Fairy Tale

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Following the adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is a rite of passage for Aussie kids (hello nostalgia, old friend). But what about the creator of these iconic – and let’s be honest; seriously cute – gumnut babies?

You can call May Gibbs many things: author, illustrator, responsible for your irrational fear of banksias.  However, in their book “May Gibbs: More Than Just a Fairy Tale,” Robert Holden and Jane Brummitt show us that Gibbs had a life as rich as her artistry.

Gibbs is one of those rarities who managed to appeal to both children and adults. “More Than Just a Fairy Tale” gives incredible insight into her motivations, her personal history, and the social and cultural influences that trickled into her illustrations. Not to mention, it has pages and pages of her beautiful work.

If you need a little inspiration or you see book illustration in your future (or, quite frankly, you just want more cuteness in your life), this is definitely one for your bookshelf.

Purchase from MacLean’s Booksellers here. And mind the banksias!

Text and photo by Jane Hollier Brown

Evolve Yourself

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Who would’ve thought that the humble Sharpie could be such an extraordinary design tool?

In his book, “Sharpie Art Workshop,” Timothy Goodman encourages us to put down the paint brush and pick up a Sharpie.

This bright and bold book is full of how-to’s, techniques, creative exercises and a whole lot of inspiration. If a wall/cup/sneaker/your annoying younger sibling is merely a blank canvas to you, then Tim Goodman’s book will point you in the right creative direction.

Now pass me my high-tops; I’ve got some shoes to Sharpie.

Find it NOW at Maclean’s Bookseller ” Sharpie Art Workshop” by Timothy Goodman

Text and Photo by Jane Hollier Brown

Inspiration :: Timeless Leather

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Leather is often described as timeless and classic.

It’s soft and supple, with a natural patina developed over time, leather lends warmth to an interior, creating contrasts and offsetting other finishes like wood, steel, stone and concrete, becoming a conduit for effortless style.

Leather has become a favourite and essential material throughout design history. It is one of the distinctive hallmarks of coveted Scandinavian style and was the fabric of choice for the renowned Eames Lounge chair. American designer Ralph Lauren’s use of leather is evident in home furnishing whether it’s on the New England coast or his Western ranch.

 

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Inspiration images sourced from: designattractor.comroadkillrescue.nethandmadecharlotte.comthedesignchaser.comdreambookdesign.comkarinecandicekong.com

 

Similar products can be spotted locally at: 

Me Me Homewares; Empire Furniture; InsideOut

INSPIRATION :: Pantone Colour of the Year 2015

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Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.

 

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Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth.Leatrice Eiseman

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The impactful, full-bodied qualities of Marsala make for an elegant, grounded statement color when used on its own or as a strong accent to many other colors.

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INSPIRATION :: Furoshiki

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Furoshiki (風呂敷) a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods.

Originating from Japanese culture where it promotes caring for the environment and reducing waste; Furoshiki is the eco-friendly wrapping cloth.

Using techniques similar to origami, it can be used for gift wrapping, grocery shopping or simply as decor.

Why furoshiki? It is reusable and multipurpose. Each year billions of plastic bags end up as litter; reusable bags, such as, furoshiki can help reduce the impact to our environment. Its versatility allows you to wrap almost anything regardless of its shape or size.

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etsy.com Furoshiki

 

Image’s sourced via pinterest

INSPIRATION :: Shibori

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Shibori Cushions by Ikat and Batik

Blue Shibori Silk Scarf by Amirama

Blue Shibori Clutch by AikoThreads

Indigo Dyed Zafu Meditation Cushion by Gretchie W

Minimalist blouse by dyeing2meetU

Shibori Dish Towel by Holli and Field

Blue Journal by Mettaville

Fold Over Clutch by Liduvina

 

Learn more about Shibori and give this beautiful Japanese dyeing technique a go for yourself at next Shibori Workshop.

Read  more here

 

 

Eat Drink and Be Merry…..in Style

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At Christmas time, I love to beautifully decorate my house and style the table to reflect this special holiday.

With only a couple of weeks till Christmas I thought I would share some inspiration to spark some creativity when decorating your table.

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The Beauty of Copper

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Copper is pushing Stainless Steel out of the spotlight and flaunting it’s rich and lustrous attributes.

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“There is a warmth brass gives an interior, whether it be a modern or traditional space,” say Marisa Marcantonio of Style Beat says “The golden hue of the metal provides a subtle elegant gleam. It’s having a comeback because it mixes well with other metals and it’s patina get’s better with age”

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