I jumped off the boat at Hamilton Island Marina to spend a luxurious night at the famed Qualia. I was so looking forward to chilling out, but was not expecting the fabulous-ness in store for me. All rooms booked but the Beach House!
The Beach House is beautifully spanned over a rocky foreshore looking out to the Whitsunday Islands, layered in front with an infinity pool with its very own guest house that sits in the garden, that could house a great party of its own!
I checked into the spa for some downtime and then whiled the days away exploring in my golf buggy, swimming, lounging around, and eating delicious snacks that were generously delivered to my house.
Thanks for having me Qualia!
I was recently invited on a sailing escape to the Whitsunday Islands, (the large gathering of heritage listed and mostly uninhabited islands all named after Captain Cook’s cronies!), by Tourism Queensland and Lucid Media, where we cruised around on a chartered yacht for three days. On day one, we set off from Airlie Beach on Cumberland Cruises in 25 knot winds and looming, stormy skies. We sailed north towards Butterfly Bay into clearer waters for snorkelling and to anchor down. We were greeted with a dramatic and unexpected scape of hoop pine and black rocks which would be more at home in New Zealand or in the Loch’s of Scotland than the tropics!
The waters were smokey emerald in colour, with giant coral reefs teaming with brightly coloured fish. If you get the chance to sail around the islands, cook your own meals and sail your own boat (we cheated with our very capable captain, Geoff). In the couple of days sailing, I saw incredible sunsets, coral sands, flotsam & jetsam and bobbed around, snorkelled, read, and rested in my super comfortable cabin with a double bed and mini en suite.
Next stop, Qualia.
I had admired Michele Quan and her work from afar for some time. Her pieces were housed in some of my favourite New York stores, such as Love Adorned and The Future Perfect, so I was delighted to meet at her studio in Brooklyn. I always love going to the studios of artists. It gives a real sense of the method and emotion that goes into the process. It was lovely to be able to see Michele in her creative space, and how true she is to taking her time with her creations.
Michele’s designs of worry beads, giant diamonds and bells are naïve, yet refined. She designs and sculpts handmade ceramic pieces and is best known for her work with bells, skulls and garlands. Her pieces are oversized and over scaled, coated with a glaze in colours that have wonderful depth, cast in organic shapes that are both soft and hard, making you want to reach out and touch them.
The bespoke ceramic pieces then become a canvas for Michele to paint, draw and write on. The imagery denotes and symbolises Eastern influences and iconography, steeping them in layers of meaning and stories.
Michele’s bells and worry beads are my personal favourites, however it is near impossible to not fall in love with her whole collection. Her pieces are made from mixtures of natural and honest materials such as ceramics, flowers, bones, needles, shells, keys, reclaimed wood and hemp, all made by hand in NYC.
I was lucky enough to work and travel extensively with Hugh Stewart for many years, and saw first hand what a beautiful and inspirational photographer he is.
Hugh is one of the most incredible portrait photographers in the world, working on huge advertising campaigns as well as photographing Leonardo Dicaprio, Johnny Cash, Jude Law, Naomi Watts and Barry Otto amongst others.
Tomorrow from 2pm-6pm, Hugh will be taking portraits which can then be purchased as a beautiful print, in the prop haven that is Ici Et La in Surry Hills, who has banded together with Mick Gallery to host Hugh. This is an amazing opportunity that should not be missed.
I was invited to choose one object for Curators of Cool, but upon seeing the extent of the Natural History departments of Queensland Museum, I decided I would choose one idea that has long fascinated me.
‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ became particularly popular in the 1800s as seafaring types began traversing the globe & bringing back their unusual treasures, seen by civilised societies for the first time.
Well-heeled & deep-pocketed amateur collectors began collating a mixture of natural specimens & other strange curiosities to display & show off to other like-minded types. They were often displayed in glass-topped or fronted cabinets that had easy access, as these collections were all about show & tell, touch & feel – an open arena for speculation & discussion.
As collections grew these cabinets would often expand to encompass the entirety of a whole room. Curiosities would be displayed everywhere, from the more formal cabinets, to the ceiling, floor & wherever they fit. This was before science was science, and there was no categorisation other than the aesthetic & temperament of the keeper of the collection. There was a haphazard casualness to it all that I love.
Although mine are behind glass, imagine them without, for you to pick up & marvel at each precious piece. I have chosen my specimens purely on aesthetic. They are a mix of sizes, shapes, colours & textures that raise my curiosity. They encapsulate a time when specimen collecting was a job for the adventurous, hardy types that travelled up mountains, across seas, through dense jungles in plinth hats armed with all the paraphernalia needed to capture & transport their prize specimens.
The exhibition is on now until July 2013.
I am constantly searching for the expertise of trades sometimes forgotten or lost over time as handmade became machine made and mass produced. So I had no idea that when I met Saul of Coloforge, with a deep knowledge of techniques and skills of a day gone by, I had found what I was looking for. Saul works with zinc and steel and other honest materials, and now collaborates with me on all sorts of projects including commercial spaces and my shop.
I was lucky enough to visit his home and forge over the weekend (which he built himself!), and discovered a magic place, which I can only compare to something from Peter Pan. Saul is soulful and a free spirit who has made an honest living for himself that goes back to the basics; reverting to a time when furniture was bent, or whittled, or sanded with bare hands.