Sunday, July 19, 2009

State of Design Festival 2009

Russell Place Substation, interior

Recently, I got up early to view the Russell Place Substation as part of Melbourne Open House 2009. So popular was this working sub station that the queue reached around the corner up Bourke St! Unfortunately I didn't have the time to wait around and see it as I wanted to attend other events that are part of the current State of Design Festival. Must get there earlier next year!

Instead, I high tailed it to This Is Not A Design Market with the lovely Krista McRae (fellow jeweller and member of the Pieces of Eight Workshop) which was a great day out! Bigger Than Ten Bears and Moth Design collaborated to turn this empty dormant factory into a lively design market for one day only. During the same week, I also was able to attend Design:Made:Trade at the Exhibition Buildings and the Design Boom Mart 2009. All these events profiled some great designers working in broad disciplines from textiles to furniture and products to books.

Some highlights from these events: Furniture and lighting by Alex Earl who I first met when we studied NEIS years ago. I bought a great poncho/shrug from a very cute Japanese lady from Perth who's label is called Bonito. Her website is super kawaii! Oh and I couldn't resist the cards from Able and Game, check out their blog to see why... They even had the perfect card for my currently zombie obsessed husband (a side effect from quiting smoking I think!). Beautiful calenders and printed designed goods from The Foundry from whom I bought a 2010 calender and coveted the gorgeous Japanese books they import. I bought some great leggings, including an electric blue pair, from OK-OK who had a great stand. Check out their shop in Brunswick where they have created a thoughtful fit-out in a small space.

Card by Able and Game

Products from The Foundry

As a side note, Pieces of Eight will be moving to Little Hero Building early next year which is set to be built above the Russell Place Substation- a reason for me wanting to visit this subterranean space. Also, we will most likely be part of the next This Is Not A Design Market later in the year, stay tuned!!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Here's a snap-shot of my own orchids, grown on our little sunny terrace. I love having fresh flowers in the house, especially if I've grown or picked them myself! Spring is in the air...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Exhibition: Avant-garde Art Deco Jewellery at the Musee de Arts Decoratifs, Paris

Jean Despres Pendant, 1932

If you find yourself in Paris, head to the wonderful Musee de Arts Decoratifs. Currently they are showing an exhibition getting great reviews of avant-garde Art Deco jewellery. Hailed as the first of it's kind, this exhibition showcases some of the best French jewellers who were leaders in this style.

The Art Deco period was marked by a post-war rebirth and a rejection of the old while embracing the modern. There were advances and innovations in technology, science, art and architecture. The jewellery in this exhibition was created in this environment and reflected this new age. Some of the pieces in the exhibition are instantly recognisable as Deco and Cubist inspired, while others look incredibly timeless and even contemporary.

These jewellers would have been radical in their day and I can imagine these pieces being purchased by the wealthy intellectual elite who would have worn them to the most amazing soirees! After all, the jewellers shown in this exhibition were using the gold and precious stones. This was jewellery for the wealthy and few. The exhibition ends July 12th, 2009.

Cartier Bracelet, 1930

Jean Fouquet Bracelet, 1931

Jean Despres Brooch, 1937

Jean Fouquet Brooch, 1925

Gerard Sandoz, 1928

Raymond Templier, Cigarette Case, 1930

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Weavie Wonders by Sunday Ganim

The gorgous Miss Sunday Ganim is often in the Pieces of Eight workshop, assiting her good friend Lucy Folk with graphic design grand plans. Tonight is all about Sunday as she launches her beautifully designed and woven collection of winter warmers.

From scarfs to blankets, each piece is unique and priced to be accessible. Using mostly Italian cashmere and wool, they will last a lifetime and be something I imagine you'd forever treasure. I'm certainly planning on attending and getting there early to get first pick! Delicious food and cocktails brought to you by Spoonful and Capi- what a treat!

Where: Crossley & Scott Gallery, 32 Crossley St, Melbourne, 3000

When: from 12pm today, drinks from 6pm to 8.30pm

Until: for two days only! Until the 8th July, 12-6 daily

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hip Hop 's Crown Jewels

Lil John's 'Crunk Ain't Dead' necklace is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the
largest diamond pendant in the world! Valued at US$200,000 - $250,000

It's interesting to see what these hip hop artists commission when it comes to jewellery. Earlier this year in March there was an auction of donated jewellery from some of hip hop's biggest stars. Originally scheduled for October 08 it was moved to March 09 to accommodate the huge interest from potential buyers. The auction was called 'Hip Hop's Crown Jewels' and the proceeds benefited three charities.

Interestingly, one of these charities is called the Diamond Empowerment Fund which seeks "to raise money to support education initiatives that develop and empower economically disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource". I
wonder if buying such large amounts of diamonds (possibly from Africa) in the first place was such a good idea... The prices listed were the estimated value and reserve, I couldn't find the actual auction results. I think I'm liking the eye patch the best as it's such an unusual piece of jewellery!

Slick Rick's multicoloured gemstone and diamond eye patch, US$20,000 - $25,000

Missy Elliot's Turntable black and white diamond ring, US$8,000 - $12,000

Kanye West's 'Black Jesus' pendant, undisclosed reserve.

Biz Markie's diamond headphone pendant, US$8,000 - $12,000

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rainy Days

Finally, some rain in Melbourne! It made me think of my last trip to Japan in May 08. Everyone carries either super cute designer umbrellas or cheap clear plastic ones sold in Japanese 7/11 convenience stores. Here are some pics I took one evening in Shibuya, Tokyo.

It also made me think of songs about rain like....

Guns n Roses, 'November Rain'
Milli Vanili, 'Blame it on the Rain'
The Carpenters, 'Rainy Days and Mondays'
Led Zeppelin, 'The Rain Song'
'Singing in the rain'

Then I found this clip. It's Eddie Rabbit's 'I love a rainy night' put to a clip of cute anime girls dancing. So very Japanese, you can sing karaoke style to the song!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009