studio visits

miniature mayhem

Author  Judith Rossell ‘s intricate, self-made and realistic miniature share house comes complete with all of the detritus of a real share-house. Photograph by  Emma Byrnes

Author Judith Rossell‘s intricate, self-made and realistic miniature share house comes complete with all of the detritus of a real share-house. Photograph by Emma Byrnes

I had the pleasure of meeting the talented and very fun bestselling children's author Judith Rossell. When she is not writing top-of-the-pops children's fiction she makes miniature houses from gleaned materials. The detail is fabulous and includes stacks of unwashed dishes, garbage bags ties up ready to be taken to the bin, community radio stickers on the fridge and half dead potplants. So good!!!
I took the photo to accompany an  article written by Peter Barrett (my husband) on the six most common share house dwellers and how to handle them - see article here.

food and textiles

Photographs by  Emma Byrnes

Photographs by Emma Byrnes

The other morning Pauline and I (plus our two mini sidekicks) visited Yoshie Burns at her home studio to talk food and textiles. 
The moment she opened the door with her beautiful nine-month-old son strapped to her back I felt the gentle warmth of her home-making and her artistic practice. Yoshie has a mindfulness that is just delightful to be around. Her home is humble yet rich with meaningful works of art and knick-knacks generated by her illustrator/painter husband, her older son and of course with her own woven pieces. 
Yoshie practices Saori weaving and the way it manifests is breathtakingly simple and pure. She weaves cloth that she then makes her own clothing from...these pieces are unique and to be honest they take my breath away. The idea that you can weave your own fabric to make into wearable pieces is obviously not new but the textures and the colours that Yosh conjures up make this idea seem like an innovation. She also weaves scarves that she sells in Japan and to any local folk who require some of her handwoven goodness.

Yoshie will be the guest chef at our March Pop Craft studio feast and so the menu was discussed in great detail. Her natural tendency towards Japanese cuisine will be exploited and once again the feast promises to delight the tastebuds. As her kitchen filled with enticing talk of edamame, shiso and yuzu all three of our little boys crawled under the kitchen table and Yosh baked us a batch of fresh scones, serving them up with fresh cream and jam. 

I left Yoshie's place feeling calm and positive. Feeling that emotional high that can come from holding and looking at somebody's hand generated work. I have not turned my attention to much making since Alby was born but spending time with Yosh has reignited my interest. The gesture of opening her home up to us and allowing me to photograph her private domain is much appreciated. Thank you Yosh.

Have a look over at Pop Craft Studio where you can see more images and read a full interview with Yoshie. You can also see images from other studio visits Pauline and I have made just here.

If you would like to view a small collection of Yoshie's Saori weaving please come by our studio between 1 - 4pm on Saturday 28th March and Sunday 29th March. She will be demonstrating some of her techniques on the Sunday and exclusively for our feast guests on the Friday evening. Pop Craft Studio, 1/177 Beavers Road, Northcote 3070.

Em x

simple living

As a visual person it can be tempting to dream about owning all sorts of beautiful objects, wearing fabulous clothes and living in architecturally designed homes. But when I think of design and how we should apply it to our everyday lives in order to have a positive impact, the three words – more with less - make so much sense to me.

Less stuff….oh yes this is something I constantly dream of. In this modern world what a ridiculous bind we find ourselves in! Owning too much can be almost like a disease. With a family of five, things just accumulate. And it can be very stressful and take up a whole lot of headspace. Without juggling all of this stuff there would be more time for family, friends, health, spirituality, gardening, cooking, lovemaking, weaving, the list goes on....

Which is why it was an absolute pleasure visiting the home studio of weaver, baker, teacher - Carla Grbac.
Carla has recently moved into a shared home with her sister and the lack of things clogging up their rooms was just wondrous. Compared to the chaos in my own home it seemed to me that the two of them were living an almost monastic existence. The home is very modest...in fact it is an unremarkable regular suburban flat but with Carla's aesthetic tendencies the space takes on an ethereal feel...a simple vase of homegrown roses adds warmth to an otherwise stark bathroom scene...a handprinted work on paper adorns the wall of her serene bedroom...the kitchen bench is clear apart from the warm tart on a cooling rack waiting to be served...

On my way home I made a mental note to be mindful and satisfied with what I already have rather than what I might think that I want. To pare back, to be reverent, to make space for the things that matter.

Carla will be teaching a natural dyeing and kumihimo workshop at Pop Craft Studio on the last Saturday of March. I look forward to spending the day learning from her - being resourceful, celebrating nature, using my hands.
There is an interview with her on the Pop Craft blog -I love the parallels she finds between her weaving and baking practice.

Em x

Photos by  Emma Byrnes

Photos by Emma Byrnes