If you’re in Melbourne right now, you might like to pop along tonight to the historic Nicholas Building in the CBD (a Wee Birdy favourite) for the opening of the Spare Room Project. Hosted and curated by Melbourne designer Matthew Thomson of Mattt (another Wee Birdy fave), the shop-within-a-shop brings together some of Melbourne’s leading designer-makers including Beci Orpin, Ask Alice, Sandra Eterovic and Victoria Mason Jewellery.
It’s perfect timing for picking up some lovely Christmas presents. You’ll also get to meet the makers and ten per cent of all proceeds go to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Super-lovely!
The shopping event will also coincide with the launch of the Ask Alice ‘Wish You Were Here’ calendar and print exhibition, which will be donating 100 per cent of all profits to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. If you’re a fan of Ask Alice’s extraordinarily sweet range of stationery and prints, you will love the 2014 calendar. Sass Cocker, the lovely lady behind Ask Alice, has brought together 12 international artists to illustrate the theme of ‘Wish You Were Here’ for her annual charity calendar.
I’ve illustrated this post with some of the artworks from the calendar, including Cape Town by Studio Muti, Sydney by James Gulliver Hancock and Tokyo by Masako Kubo. If you’re out of town, you can still purchase the calendar online here. I think it’s hands-down the Best Calendar for 2014. Nice one, Ask Alice!
Third Floor, Nicholas Building
Corner Flinders Lane & Swanston Street
Thursday 28 November to Saturday 30 November
10am to 6pm (9pm Thursday and Friday)
I know I’m not the first bird to have a bit of a lady crush on Australian design wunderkind Beci Orpin. I’ve been a long-time fan of Beci from her fashion label Princess Tina days, and in the past I’ve blogged about her beautiful bird collage (see below), as well as her sterling silver cloud-and-raindrop necklace. And let it be known that Beci was making clouds waaay before every lady and her umbrella jumped on the rainy cloud motif bandwagon!
It’s this very pioneering spirit, endless creativity and originality that allows Beci to rise above the parochial and produce the kind of work that not only features her signature kaleidoscopic use of colour, but sets new trends on the design landscape.
And now Beci can add another feather to that brilliantly-hued bow: her first book, Find & Keep , has just been released. Featuring 26 fun and fresh new craft projects, (including the DIY giant confetti wall featured on Wee Birdy last week) it’s a goldmine for inspiration as well as providing a unique insight into her creative process. It would make an excellent Christmas present.
Beci, firstly congratulations on a truly beautiful and inspirational book! You’re one clever birdy. Actually, if you were a bird, what kind of bird would you be – and why?
Thank-you so much! Hmmm… what bird would I be? That is a tough choice as I actually love birds a lot (my alternative career choice is an ornithologist!). I really like swallows a lot, so maybe just a plain old welcome swallow? That or a finch – my grandma used to breed them. I think Gouldian finches are my favourite (and they are Australian too!).
I love colour, but I know that lots of people are sometimes scared to be big and brave with it in their home. What’s your number one tip for making colour work – for beginners?
I think you can start adding smaller pops of colour through things like artwork or vases or cushions. Or even if that is too scary, just go for the brightest flowers you can find and work your way up from there.
You’re clearly an awesome collector. Can you tell us your top five shops in Melbourne for finding awesome stuff?
1. Coburg flea market.
I used to frequent Camberwell market when growing up but now i am north-side it’s a little to far to travel first thing on a Sunday morning, so Coburg flea is my new spot. I love it because it’s real trash and treasure… some weeks you find amazing things, some weeks nothing at all.
2. Scout House
When i do find myself south-side, Scout House is one of my first stops. Orlando’s selection is pretty wonderful, as is his colourful iron beds (as seen in my book!).
3. Third Drawer Down
I love all the Third Drawer Down collaborations and the other objects they stock too (ceramics are amazing there at the moment!)
4. Any local op shop
I have a few within walking distance of my house and I can’t keep away. The tiny churchy old-school type ones are my favourite.
Rugs are my new obsession and the last one I brought was from Loom. They have an insanely beautiful selection – it was SO hard to choose. Plus owner Down is so helpful, too. (See image below, via Loom.)
4. Who or what would be your dream collaborator? What would you make?
I’d love to collaborate with someone with batik or weaving expertise to make contemporary versions of traditional fabrics. I’d also like to make rugs. Oh, and working for Tsumori Chisato or a company like Hay (see image below) would be amazing.
5. Christmas is just around the corner. What does your Christmas tree look like and how do you decorate it?
Despite my best efforts of keeping things tasteful and colour co-ordinated, our Christmas tree is generally our kids’ domain. They like to throw all kinds of things on there so it ends up being a bit of a twinkling mess. It’s pretty great actually.
Click here for a Wee Birdy Melbourne map, showing Beci’s favourite shops.
Find & Keep is AU$39.95 and can be found in all nice shops and book stores right now. It would make an amazing Christmas present and you can also buy it online from Booktopia and Amazon. You can find Beci Orpin online right here.
How amazing does this giant confetti wall look? It’s just one of the superb DIY projects you’ll find in Beci Orpin‘s fabulous new book, Find & Keep. Published by the super-cool Hardie Grant peeps (also publishers of Meet Me at Mike’s books), this book is definitely a find – and a keeper. Check out the incredibly vibrant cover!
Just in time for Christmas, it’s the perfect present for anyone who’s a wee bit crafty, a wee bit colourful, and a wee bit cool. I’ll be having a chat with Melbourne-based Beci very soon, but in the meantime, here’s how to make a giant confetti wall, Beci-Orpin-stylee. Over to you, Beci!
“Confetti has become a bit of a rarity these days. The proper old-school tissue paper kind, anyway. Whenever I find a newsagent that carries it, I buy up big, and subsequently have a small cupboard full of confetti boxes. My son Ari discovered these boxes one day and had a fantastic time spreading confetti all over my studio, until I discovered him and broke up the party (and it did look like a party – a really big one at that!). In the following weeks, while I continued to find confetti in every nook and cranny of my studio, I came up with this idea. Here’s how you can make your room look like a party – a much cleaner version than Ari’s, but just as much fun.
You will need:
- lots of different coloured paper and card (scraps will do fine)
- traced or photocopied circle template (click here for the template)
- a wall!
Let’s get started.
1. Gather your paper together. Scraps of paper of different colours and textures will work very well.
2. Using the template as a guide, cut out as many circles as possible from your coloured card.
3. Once you have cut out all the circles, arrange them roughly by colour. This will help you get organised and it looks nice, too.
4. Using Blu-Tack on the back of the circles, start sticking them onto the wall. Start with one circle and try to make the other circles look like they are floating away from that point in different directions.
5. Continue until all your circles are on the wall. On corners or where the wall meets the floor, use halfcircles with the flat edge flush against the straight line. These details create an overall better effect for your confetti wall.”
This project is re-published with the kind permission of Beci Orpin and Hardie Grant. Find & Keep is AU$39.95 and can be found in all nice shops and book stores now. You can also buy it online from Booktopia and Amazon. You can find Beci Orpin online right here.