It is time for some fresh new windows at The Society inc.! We love our window displays so much sometimes it’s too hard to part with them. So to ease the pain we’ve decided to have a sale of all the pieces in the window – & make way for the next magical worlds through the glass. These pieces I used to build sets for my next book, The Biography of a Bowerbird, out this October. This is your preview:
(If you want to buy anything before it gets snapped up – just call us on 9331 1592) x
I am lucky enough to have inherited my grandparent’s amateur shell collection. They collected it throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s from the shores of the Northern Peninsula on the coast of NSW. It is not in any shape complete or outstanding, but reminds me of them fishing, beachcombing & swimming every day. It was housed in random recycled boxes & jars, showing me where they were shopping & what they were eating! A tiny box from David Jones, a cardboard coffee container with metal lid, glass jars with orange & yellow lids, pin boxes etc.
On my recent South Coast roadtrip I bought a similar shell collection. I discovered it at Turnbull Bros Antiques in Milton and complete with a display cabinet, which I kindly left behind.
The collection consists of some fabulously kitsch souvenir pieces (including the Harbour Bridge) as well as bailing shells, kelp, nautilus, sea urchin, a seadragon, giant oysters, conical, olive, big, small & spiky scallops.
The story goes, it was collated by a fisherman’s wife from Moruya River (south of Milton) where the river meets the sea, from the 1960s. Although not precious, it is going to be displayed on a high purpose built shelf, pride of place, in my venture opening next week, The Fish Shop: 22 Challis Ave, Potts Point. Come & check it out.
Most mornings I rise very early. I love to greet the day with the sun, the beach & some fresh air. However if I stop at the shop, the light is at its best. I often get distracted with the shadow & mood of the quiet office. We are 3 at The Society inc.: Hannah, Leah & myself. These pictures I took way before the daily mayhem started when all was quiet & serene. This is where everything happens, it is the studio above the shop where we create, design, write, meet and have a very good time.
Due to council construction The Society inc. is inaccessible to the public for just a short time! We will be closed this Saturday and Easter long weekend. During the week, if you can get through the blockades and council orange bunting, we are most probably upstairs so knock the anchor door and we will come down.
We are very excited though, new flower beds are being installed and we will be planting our own vegie patch. Can’t wait for you all to see our new corner- revealed!
CLOSED: Saturday 31st March
Easter Long Weekend Friday 6th April – Monday 9th April
As a research lover, it is most satisfying when everything falls into place, like the perfect jigsaw puzzle.
A few years back I asked Keith Johnson of Anthropologie to advise on a good lunch spot in London. He directed me to Thomas Cubitt, a few blocks from Sloane Square.
I loved the interior, all washed out & paneled in soft greys with a great gastro pub menu. I have since drawn inspiration from it for my own commercial spaces.
Whilst researching for my latest book, I delved into the life of Walter Rothschild, a true eccentric from a wealthy English/Jewish family. Walter’s father gave him some land on the outskirts of Tring Park as a 21st birthday present, now part of the Natural History Museum.
His passion & expertise (he started to work toward opening a pubic zoo & museum aged seven) was largely unrecognised in his time, however today his extensive & meticulous collections are coveted and researched extensively. The zoological museum was first opened to the public in 1892 with herds of cassowariess, kangaroos & zebras amongst others.
At its largest, Rothschild’s collection included 300,000 bird skins, 200,000 birds’ eggs, 2,250,000 butterflies and 30,000 beetles, as well as thousands of specimens of mammals, reptiles and fishes. They formed the largest zoological collection ever amassed by a private individual.
Many of the bird skins are housed at the American Natural History Museum in NYC, one of my very favourite museums.
One of Rothschild’s energetic passions was the plight of the Galapagos land tortoises. which saw me visiting the islands earlier this year with a greater knowledge & insight. He had many tortoises at Tring, with the oldest & largest dying of sexual frustration at the park after being gifted to him by a Middle Eastern princess!
My favourite history period to immerse myself in is the mid-late 19th century. This was a time when science & religion were questioned & debated as bold adventurers & buccaneers sponsored by deep-pocketed patrons traversed the globe in search of evidence & wonder.
In London in 1851, a great exhibition was organized with Prince Alfred at its helm, to expose & exhibit the many wonders of industry & nature from around the globe. The purpose built glass structure was designed by Joseph Paxton!
I have bought many treasures over the years from my visits to Paxton Gate in San Francisco. It is all beginning to make sense!
On reading ‘The World for a Shilling: How the Great Exhibition of 1851 Shaped a Nation’ (not a well written book but full of fabulous information) all my people & places began to interlink. Thomas Cubitt was a guarantor and oversaw the construction of the crystal palace and then went on to build at Tring Park in collaboration with Rothschild. AMAZING.
To explore on your own:
Visit Tring Park
Shop at Paxton Gate
Read ‘The World for a Shilling’
Eat at Thomas Cubitt
Once while riding through beautiful Centennial Park, I discovered a white gum forest & was determined to do a guerilla-like shoot here at some stage. Shhh! Don’t tell the council. The opportunity arose when I dove into my dress-up box to shoot my portrait for my upcoming book, The Biography of a Bowerbird.
I donned several outfits and grabbed my brother/photographer Chris. It was a glorious early morning – although extremely muddy after heavy rainfall. Here are the results.