If you love design and happen to be in Sydney between the 3rd and 18th of August, you might like to book yourself in for some of the excellent talks, tours and workshops lined up for this year’s Sydney Design.
Now in its 16th year, more than 75 events across the city will explore the theme, ‘Design re-think – can clever design save the world?’. (I bloody well hope so!)
My top picks? I’ll be making a beeline for:
Head over to Sydney Design to check out the full program.
Photography courtesy of Sydney Design and The Powerhouse Museum.
According to Instagram, my week looked like this…
- I made a last-minute makeshift Halloween costume for my 20 month-old toddler. We already had a lion’s hat from IKEA, so I crafted a matching mane/bib out of three different squares of felt. I traced around a mug to make the neckline, and then I used scissors to cut different lengths of fringing. I layered them on top of each other and fastened it at the back with a safety pin. Too easy and it took all of three minutes. He loved it.
- I went to my first ABCD meet-up (Artists + Bloggers + Crafters + Designers) on the weekend, which was held at the lovely Polli design studio in Sydney. It was a ‘sweet treat’ Pot Luck, which resulted in a table groaning with cakes and slices and biscuits. I ended up leading an informal chat session about privacy on Instagram. Can’t wait ’til the next one.
- Sydney is in bloom at the moment! Bougainvilleas, hibiscus and jasmine spill over front fences and brick walls, while this year’s jacarandas are putting on a magnificent show. So beautiful.
I also tackled the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi and caught the final day of the incredible Sculpture by the Sea, which is an annual exhibition in Sydney. There was a really fabulous line-up this year, and I also loved hiking along the cliff tops of six magnificent beaches and bays. It’s been many years since I’ve done the walk (with London, pregnancy and bringing up baby being the major distractions) so I immensely enjoyed taking in the spectacular natural beauty of this major Sydney must-do.
Tell me, what have you been up to? Has anyone else seen Sculpture by the Sea?
According to Instagram, this is what the last week or so in my life looked like. We went back to Cockatoo Island in Sydney today to see the rest of the Biennale of Sydney. It finishes next week so make sure you catch it before it goes. It was a glorious day on Sydney Harbour, and I loved wandering around the old industrial buildings exploring the installations.
I really loved Li Hongbo’s extraordinary Ocean of Flowers; a wondrous landscape of multi-coloured honeycomb paper sculptures that upon closer inspection actually folded down into revolvers, arms and bullets. And Phillip Beesley’s incredible Hylozic Series was well worth the half-hour wait, with a delicate and interactive forest of fibre-optic lights that responded to movement and touch. I hate to say it but it reminded me of the fantastical world of Avatar. But don’t let that put you off: it was truly incredible!
And predictably I rather enjoyed Maria Fernanda Cardoso’s Museum of Copulatory Organs, which is entirely dedicated to the genitalia of insects. And it was FANTASTIC; imagine delicate ceramic and resin sculptures of the most extraordinarily complex penises. Who knew the penis of the bean weevil was the “spikiest in the world”? Apparently, it’s not size that matters. It’s shape.
We also headed back to Quay restaurant for our seven-year anniversary and feasted on Peter Gilmore’s seven-layer chocolate cake and jersey cream with “ethereal sheets”. Amazing.
And if you fancy the awesome vintage Mr Men toddler pants, they’re by My Poppet Shop for My Messy Room.
What have you been up to? And if you’re on Instagram, find me @WeeBirdy.
I’m delighted to announce that the two winners of the Etsy Success Sydney competition are Claire Wright and Emma Lee. Congratulations – you’ve each won a double pass to Etsy Success Sydney valued at $200. I will be in contact with you by email.
p.s. the Sydney Opera House (above) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (below), are just two buildings that have been transformed by incredible light installations for Vivid Sydney 2012. If you’re in Sydney at the moment, head down to the Quay before lights out on June 11.
Exciting times in Sydney and London this week, birdies. While Jubilee preparations reach fever-pitch in London, Sydney’s most iconic buildings are currently ablaze with colour for Vivid, the annual festival of light, music and ideas.
Ranked in the Top Ten global ideas festivals by the Guardian, this year’s Vivid Sydney features an excellent line-up of speakers including Cory Doctorow, author and co-founder of Boing Boing; fashion designer Henry Holland; Jake Nickell, founder of Threadless and VICE founder and CEO Shane Smith. There will also be installations and concerts with the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Karen O.
I’m speaking on a panel at Etsy Success Sydney* on Saturday, which is part of the Vivid Ideas program. It’s not just for Etsy sellers – anyone with a creative business would benefit from the talks and workshops led by the likes of Frankie editor Jo Walker, PR professional and blogger PottyMouthMama and US Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson.
In celebration of Etsy Success Sydney, I’ll be showcasing my favourite Australian Etsy shops this week on Wee Birdy and shining a light on some of our most talented designer-makers.
First up is the creative duo Cat Rabbit and Isobel Knowles, who have collaborated to produce this rather crafty and clever children’s book, Owl Know How – which is also this week’s birdy pick. I’ve been a long-time fan of Cat Rabbit, whose incredibly imaginative range of felt animals (think hipster rabbits in Jarvis specks and hoodies) and brooches will be featured on Wee Birdy later this week.
In the book, published by Thames & Hudson, Cat Rabbit’s felt owls and rabbits come to life with a problem-solving narrative that weaves its way through a whimsical city made of cardboard. The crafty aesthetic is warm and inviting, and the book comes with a pattern and instructions for children to create their own felt owl. You can buy a hand-signed book from Owl Know How’s Etsy shop, with a bonus gocco-printed bookplate for AU$26.
Their Etsy shop also features a very sweet Owl Know How hankie for $15, as well as some very special limited edition hand-made plush characters from the book – Cornelia Rabbit, Orvi and those inimitable owls.
* My competition for two double-passes to Etsy Success Sydney will be announced later today.
I really wish I lived on a street that went nuts with their Christmas lights. In fact, that just might have to be my number one criteria for future homes. We drove over to Second Street in Ashbury on Saturday night to watch them switch on the lights. Look at the amazing scenes that greeted us there. Twinkle twinkle!
It was being filmed for the Lifestyle Channel, so there were loads of people out on the street enjoying the beautiful balmy night and festive atmosphere. It was one of those Sydney nights that just begs to be spent outdoors, and the air was heavy with the scent of jasmine and some kind of lemony, peppery eucalyptus. Most of the owners had set up tables on the footpaths and were getting stuck into the chardy and chip ‘n’ dip. Loved it! Enjoy the photos by my awesome brother-in-law, Lucas Boyd (and me)!