Friday, 29 March 2013

Melbourne International Flower Show

This past weekend was the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

So much colour! I was especially intrigued by the Vegetable MatterRMIT Student Floral Fashion Design competition.

I got so wrapped up in the incredible floristry and landscape design displays that I forgot to take a stroll down the Avenue of Achievable Gardens. Too bad, because pitcher plants the size of zucchini are not achievable for me!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Stop TAFE Cuts: Make a Submission and Register your Support

After over $500 million in budget cuts to Australian TAFEs last year, the federal government announced a Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into the role of TAFE last Friday. The inquiry will be the first of its kind since the 1970s. "All the big changes since then have been done to TAFE without public discussion," says the University of Melbourne's Leesa Wheelahan. 

There are just four weeks to make a submission, so the Australian Education Union has launched the new website Stop TAFE Cuts as a platform to register your support and make a submission before Thursday 18 April. It takes 30 seconds to register your support, and there are links on the site to become more involved if you're keen to do more. 

So let's do this. Let the federal government know that TAFE is essential to quality skills training in Australia and deserves to be funded and regulated properly. 

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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Ooh la la!

Some lovely finds from the shop of Angela Clark, who has been known to teach pearl threading workshops at Northcity 4: don't they just look delicious? Seriously, I want to eat them every time I look at them. Vintage plastic and painted wood - one of them came with a yellowed tag that says "Made in German: U.S. Zone." Wowza! That's 1945-49. Can't wait to work these into something new!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Arbor goes online

Arbor's new online shop is open!

The online shop now features selected works and will include more of Arbor's artists as the site grows over the coming months. 

Check out my new earrings, rings and pendants online now! 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Monday, 18 March 2013

Hello, Premier Napthine

...and goodbye, Ted Baillieu. 

Our new Premier Denis Napthine's first policy announcement since taking office was a promise of $200 million over four years to alleviate the devastating Baillieu government TAFE cuts. Baillieu's funding cuts slashed $300 million per year from Victorian TAFEs, so Napthine's promise of $200 million over four years equates to $50 million per year - not nearly enough to reinstate the full service provider functions of TAFEs and certainly not enough to save courses and campuses that have already closed, or 2000 jobs that have already been lost across the state. In fact the purpose of the new funding is to assist TAFEs in "transitioning" to greater "efficiency" (read: transitioning to operating with significantly less funding). 

It may not be a very good start, but it's a message  A promise of reinstating some funding to TAFE shows that the Victorian government has heard the public backlash against the funding cuts, and has found itself compelled to act. It's not enough, but we know they're listening, and we'll keep up the fight. The opposition has already announced their plan to reinstate $170 million of funding cut from TAFE, but an election isn't on the table until November 2014, so until then, Victoria, send a message to Premier Napthine, keep voicing your support for TAFE, and maintain your art-rage! 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Where Moth and Rust Decay

Katheryn Leopoldseder's exhibition Where Moth and Rust Decay, on now at e.g. etal, is a skillfully crafted, thoughtful exploration of the artist's experiences in India through jewellery. The show is compact, but striking:  the first works the viewer encounters are the architectural recreations Precious Aspiration (Collapsible Indian Slum Dwelling Necklace) and Suburban Dream (3 BDR Brick Veneer House Ring) (both pictured on the invitation image, below). Each brick of Suburban Dream's brick "veneer" has been handcrafted as filigree, with the bottom surface detailing the floor plan of the house, and the contrast between the two dwellings could not be more clear. Still, they are "All under the same sun. All under the same sun.", displayed beneath the Sun Brooch (also pictured below).

Where Moth and Rust Decay works by Katheryn Leopoldseder,
image from e.g. etal exhibition media

All this is just the first side of a large pillar that the exhibition surrounds. I won't spoil the surprises on the other sides, but suffice it to say this is a must-see. 

The exhibition runs until 6 April.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Shola pith

At the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (Mumbai Museum, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum) in Mumbai last year, I saw this sculpture made entirely of shola pith, a white spongy plant matter that is pressed and molded into traditional crafts and works of art in West Bengal. Also known as Indian cork, the material was traditionally used for bridal headgear in a Bengali wedding. 

There's an incredible level of detail, and yet the material has its own distinct texture, which stands out in the large, smooth areas of the legs and arms.

Shola pith: the stem of the Shola (Sola) plant, from which the image is made. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Beekeeping: Slovenia's National Pastime

When I visited Slovenia last year, I had to see the Apiculture Museum of Radovljica, dedicated to Slovenia's national pastime: beekeeping. It's a fascinating collection in a quaint town near Ljubljana. Traditionally bees are kept in drawers which slot into what looks like a large outdoor cupboard. The drawers are brightly painted in bold colours and quirky, often disturbing scenes, that make fun of various villagers, warn against vices, or protect the hives. Some popular themes are a beekeeper chasing off a bear who has come to steal the hives, a pair of forest animals shaving the beard of a man, and animals holding a funeral for a hunter. 

Beekeeping drawer showing the animals holding a funeral for a hunter. 

 Beekeeping drawer depicting the Devil sharpening a woman's tongue.

Beekeeping drawer depicting tailors who are slower than snails.

 Wagon used to transport the hive-drawers. 

 Tiny nets to capture the queen bee for transfer to a new hive. 

Another popular hive container was a more elaborate wooden sculpture of a man or animal, inside which the beehives were contained. The man below is a beehive container with an opening at the end of his pipe for the bees to use as a doorway. When he contains a hive, it would appear as if he were smoking bees through his pipe!